KeSa Quarter Horses to hold dispersal sale
August 7, 2018
Decades of equine genetics studies resulted in development of the award-winning equines for which the KeSa Quarter Horses program is well-noted. Countless hours, months and years combined to create consistent broodstock and promising foals that eager buyers sought out when building their own breeding programs.
On Sept. 1, 2018, KeSa's 21st annual production sale will include the word "dispersal." Owner Sam Shoultz has made the difficult decision to conclude his breeding operation for several reasons.
Time has become a major factor for Shoultz, who simultaneously runs several other businesses. He admits that age also plays a part in disbanding the horse business; his age, not that of his animals.
"I'm not as young as I used to be," he said, "and I have no one to pass the program on to."
Shoultz added that as far as producing modern, proven horses goes, he has reached the pinnacle of success and can't do any better than he has, only as good. He prefers to go out on top.
As with most winning enterprises, KeSa's lofty position in the Quarter Horse industry was reached step-by-step. Shoultz, who was born in Colorado, lived in Wyoming for much of his youth. He attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie for two years before transferring in 1966 to Colorado State University in Fort Collins. He was already breeding some mares based on genetics studies he'd conducted.
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Shortly after graduation, Shoultz did a flow chart of the specific type of horses he wanted to create, soon settling on Blue Valentine individuals, which share a genetic tie-in with the Driftwood line. Every business needs a name, so he and business partner Ken Matzner combined their first names into KeSa.
The men began realizing their vision with three Blue Valentine stallions and seven mares, whose first foal crop hit the ground in 1993. Their broodmare band increased in size each subsequent year, culminating at 70. Because the original sires were in Wyoming, that's where KeSa remained until 2001, when it headed south to the Fort Collins/Ault area.
KeSa has bred, raised and used several outstanding stallions over the years, including Blue Fox Hancock; Driftwood Sensation; JoJo Flamewood; Sak Ems Briarwood; MR Junewood. At one point in its history, the operation had eight breeding stallions.
But regardless of a stud's pedigree or performance record, a great mare must equally contribute to a foal's genetic capabilities. Two excellent females that Shoultz touted are Junewood Miss, dam of MR Junewood, and Fox Coup, Blue Fox Hancock's mama.
KeSa is considered "seed stock producers," from whom many people have purchased horses of all ages with which to begin or enhance their own programs, Shoultz said. And very few of the well-recognized KeSa brand horses ever come up for re-sale.
"It's always been our goal to create horses people want to keep," Shoultz said.
He believes one reason for "KeSa keepers" is that both genetic lines of his animals are highly intelligent, quick learners.
"I believe in the versatility of the mind. Quarter Horses should be bred to be multi-event horses," Shoultz said. He added that proper handling is also a must: "Every thing you do with a horse is training it." And that's for good or bad.
Another of the reasons for the ongoing popularity of KeSa stock is its "weaving" of bloodlines. Foals have been produced based on the likelihood of specific traits from a mating and, when old enough to reproduce, bred back and forth between the Blue Valentine and Driftwood families.
What marvelous insights resulting in KeSa champions having been crowned in a plethora of equine disciplines! For example, Blue Fox Hancock himself has accrued more AQHA Performance Points than any other Hancock-bred horse.
Attaining the status of AQHA Year-End High Point Award Horse are MR Junewood; Blue Fox Hancock; Mr. Fritz Wood; Fox Coup Deuce; Blue Partee Fox; Junewood's Gerrie; and others.
Shoultz additionally knows of at least three KeSa-bred horses that have won awards in Cowboy Mounted Shooting. Versatile animals, these KeSa horses.
One extremely satisfied customer is Sunrise Farm, owned by Daniel and Lori Gardner. The Harpersville, Ala., breeding operation currently maintains 120 horses, including 7-year-old breeding stallion Rojo Deuce Coup (by Rojo Valentine and out of Plenty Fox Coup).
Gardner, who counts Shoultz as a good, longtime friend, purchased the stud and quite a few other horses from him. Sunrise has been a guest consigner at each of the CSU-held KeSa Production Sales. An avid roper ("At least I try," he said), Gardner is extremely pleased with all of his KeSa horses.
"And I've had quite a few. They work real good," he said.
Sunrise Farm has three horses consigned to the September production/dispersal sale at CSU.
IT TOOK A VILLAGE
A close working relationship between CSU and KeSa began with Shoultz taking horses to the school's Equine Reproduction Lab. Continuing the building process for his breeding program, he ultimately broke away from the Wyoming facility where he'd held annual production sales since 1997. Beginning in 2013, his well-attended, annual production auctions were conducted at the CSU Equine Center's Adams Atkinson Arena.
As he looked back at KeSa's successful program, Shoultz credited many people.
"I've always been blessed with a strong tie to CSU Equine Sciences and the Reproduction Lab, where I am honored to be on the advisory board. CSU has been an important asset and their support has been a tremendous boost to the KeSa program. I will be eternally grateful," he said.
An operation as large as KeSa requires many hands on the lead ropes. During its decades, many hundreds of foals have been produced. When weaning time arrives, CSU interns and grads come on board to help smoothly transition animals from baby foal to young horse.
"I've had a lot of really good CSU Equine Science interns over the years and its Equine Science Reproductive Lab has been our go-to," he said.
Two interns, two full-time employees, and additional part-time helpers assist Shoultz with weaning and halter-training, which begins in early August. A meticulously choreographed process has been designed to assure the youngsters learn rapidly, but gently and seamlessly.
And, as their fine condition attests, weanling babies eat well at KeSa.
"We have our own alfalfa/grass mix hay field," Shoultz said. "Ranch Way (Feeds) has built up Shoultz Weanling Ration for us to balance the nutrition of the hay."
He said that because hay can be diverse in different areas and soil conditions, he early-on analyzed for nutrient content to design the ultimate weanling mix.
Shoultz also complimented Stacey Tarr, KeSa's veterinarian for many years, for his adept professional medical management and care of the program's herd.
DISPERSAL SALE … AND BEYOND
Three or four days prior to the production sale, weanlings are branded, and then trailered to the Equine Center on Thursday. Friday is reserved for last-minute prep and the sale happens on Saturday, this year for the final time.
Shoultz is understandably proud of his horses, reputation, and contribution to the Quarter Horse breed. The cessation of KeSa's breeding program is, happily, not the end of his equine activities.
"We are keeping our stallions and will ship semen from them in the future to select mares. We also have a 2014 Blue Fox Hancock son that's qualified for the AQHA World Show in heading and heeling, has his Superior rating in heading, and will be in Oklahoma City in November 2018," Shoultz said.
"Although it's painful to turn loose of those genetics we worked so hard to create, our sincere hope is that our horses will continue to do well, and will continue the KeSa legacy and spirit for their new owners," he said.
Prospective owners attending the dispersal sale will be able to choose from among a band of horses that Shoultz described as the real "cream of the crop" of KeSa's several decades-old breeding operation. The Sept. 1, 2018, event at CSU Equine Center's Adams Atkinson Arena will offer 56 individual lots, including broodmares, weanling foals, yearlings, plus six well-started riding horses.
As KeSa's formal breeding program ends, it will continue flourishing through the strong bloodlines and talents of its mares, stallions and foals.
Sale preview will be from 8 a.m.-10 a.m. A special presentation by Elisabeth Swain, "What to Know Before You Show: Protecting Against Infectious Conditions," will be held at 9:30 a.m. The sale will begin at 11 a.m.
For more information, visit http://www.kesaquarterhorses.com or call Sam Shoultz at (970)215-9433. ❖