Original Cowboy, the youngest stallion on AQHA’s All Time Leading Sires Top 10 List, has moved to Colorado
Colorado has many authentic cowboys but only one recently relocated, Original Cowboy. And, this one has the noteworthy distinction of being the youngest stallion on the American Paint Horse Association’s All Time Leading Sires Top 10 List. Yes, Original Cowboy is a horse, now proudly owned by Dakota Cotner and Jeff Burley.
Their 8-year-old stud hales from the Aubrey, Texas, dynasty of Simons Show Horses. Its owners, Lynn and Andrea Simon, began specializing in APHA andmAmerican Quarter Horse Association halter and performance horses in the 1970s.
One of their stallions, Zippo’s Sensation (1993-2016), left a lasting impact on the industry. Not only did he dominate the APHA performance ring in nearly every event, Zippo sired earners of more than 170 APHA World Championships and has foal earnings exceeding $1 million.
Cotner noted that in almost every AQHA or APHA show at least a couple horses were trained and/or raised by Simons. These winners include Miss Silver Sensation, One Flashy Sensation, InTheSweetShop, Optimized, and Radicalized.
Cotner and Burley are excited that Original Cowboy babies are also now becoming nearly as prolific on the show circuit, with World and Reserve World Championship titles earned by Original Hottie, Platinum Cowgirl, A Sinsational Cowgirl, Oh So Original, and Beyond Original, among others.
Original Cowboy, known as “Louie” around the barn, is sired by Lazy Loper (Gota Lota Potential X Hint Again) and out of Good Tobe An Asset (Investment Asset X Dee Dee Did). Both Louie’s sire and dam themselves are World Championship earners.
Louie was shown only twice as a 3-year-old in Western Pleasure, nevertheless earning almost $10,000. Cotner said his talent and mind made him the perfect stallion prospect, the kind she had long been searching for.
The Johnstown, Colo., woman’s equestrian background goes back to early childhood. When she was just 6, she began taking lessons and quickly progressed to riding with Laurie Lukas of Eaton, Colo., who instilled in her an interest in competition.
“Although I now show mainly in Quarter Horse and Paint shows, the local/open shows still remain very important for me. I see them as that first opportunity for many kids and adults to enter the horse show world and grow those bonds and friendships that have been so crucial in my love of the sport,” Cotner said.
“My great-grandparents, Leo and Neva Worthley, had farmland in eastern Colorado, which meant horses were always around,” she said. “I am very grateful that both my grandparents and parents have always encouraged me to pursue my riding goals.”
Burley, a New York native, started his own training business about five years ago after previously working for Leslie Lange Quarter Horses. Now based in Loveland, Colo., Peak Performance Horses specializes in all-around Paints and Quarter Horses. Cotner believes that Burley’s clients most appreciate his positive and encouraging training methods for both horse and rider. He’s trained and shown multiple World and Reserve Champions in both AQHA and APHA circuits.
“It’s obvious that Jeff loves the sport,” she said, “but it’s even more clear that he appreciates the animal behind it all.”
With their combined expertise and an eye for winners, Burley and Cotner became friends and business partners. They met in 2013 when she put a couple horses in training with him. The pair hit it off immediately. Cotner’s kids even call Burley “Uncle Jeff.”
When considering breeding her mare, Only The Good Stuff, four years ago, Burley encouraged her to consider Original Cowboy, whose first foals were just then hitting the ground.
A GREAT CROSS
After talking with the stallion’s owners, Andrea and Sara from Simons Show Horses, she decided it made perfect sense as the two sets of bloodlines were a great cross.
“My now 3-year-old filly by Original Cowboy, named So Good ToBe Original, is exactly what I ordered,” Cotner said. “My husband, Tom, started her this past spring and I’m excited to see Jeff work with her.”
Simons Show Horses held a complete breeding stock dispersal in July 2018. When Cotner first saw the posting in the spring, she told Burley they needed to inquire about the stallion.
“Almost jokingly,” she laughed, “because never in my dreams did I actually believe this could all work out.”
But Burley contacted Andrea Simons anyway. He learned that, yes, even though it was a difficult decision, they were downsizing the breeding operation to focus primarily on showing and training. Original Cowboy was slated to be included in the auction but, most importantly, the Simonses wanted a good home for the stallion they’d bred and raised.
Burley and Cotner couldn’t pass up the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and were able to purchase him prior to the auction.
Original Cowboy is double-registered, which was one of the biggest appeals for them on the breeding side. He had something to offer aficionados of both breeds.
“I show primarily Paints and absolutely love the industry — the people, the shows, the community and the color,” Cotner said. “I’m a sucker for chrome on my horses. Jeff owns and trains both Quarter Horses and Paints so this made complete sense for him to continue promoting both breeds.”
Burley, who separately owns AQHA/APHA stallion Double Up Investment, knows the benefits of owning and showing double-registered horses.
When Burley watched Louie at the Quarter Horse Congress prior to buying him, he recognized something special about him.
“He’s definitely ‘bred to death’, being a son of Lazy Loper, which is one of the industry’s leading sires right now,” Burley said. “The versatility he’s throwing in his babies is excellent.”
Louie’s first foal crop hit the ground in 2014. He has just over 200 foals currently registered with nearly 375 APHA points combined between them. Additionally, he’s the youngest stallion in the Top 10 in both the halter and performance categories. His foal owners exclaim that he passes along his traits of talent and a good mind. Many seem to be identical to him, Cotner said, carrying on the deep bay and bold white face. He does carry the Homozygous Black gene (EE), meaning he will not produce a sorrel foal.
Original Cowboy will be standing at Colorado State University for a stud fee of $1,250 for 2019. Cotner is pleased that Louie’s name and stamp on his foals promote themselves, thereby adding to word-of-mouth interest. Many return breeders, who’ve already expressed interest in the 2019 season, are doing so because they’re delighted with the foals they already have by him.
Cotner and Burley hope to get to know mare and foal owners and help promote them in any way they can.
“Those people who are spending hours working and training foals, and the time and energy to get them in the show pen, are what create great sires, and we are so humbled to work with them all,” Cotner said. “We welcome anyone interested in meeting Louie to contact either of us to schedule a time to come see him.”
STANDING AT CSU
Burley said that Louie will be standing at CSU for several reasons. Their Equine Reproduction Lab is one of the best in the industry, with cutting-edge fertilization techniques. They’re set up to operate collection (although it’s one of Burley’s long-term goals to build and operate their own breeding barn). CSU cannot only collect semen and use artificial insemination, they can also transfer equine embryos and ship cooled semen/embryos. These high-demand services will be available for mare owners who breed to Original Cowboy.
His proud new owners seek to promote not just their new stallion but aslo the entire horse industry.
“Horses have been a huge part in both mine and Jeff’s lives, making us the people we are today,” Cotner said.
It’s incredibly important to her to get more people involved in the equine industry and to encourage kids whose parents can’t afford a fancy show saddle, much less a horse. She hopes that having a breeding stallion like Original Cowboy in her area will help spark more interest in shows, clubs and equine organizations. She and Burley are further dedicated to the rescue horse mission and therapeutic benefits of horses. They look forward to opportunities to work with organizations in all equine areas through donations and sponsorships.
For more information about Original Cowboy’s 2019 breeding season (or related topics) email Cotner at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (970) 342-5586. ❖
— Metzger is a freelance writer from Fort Collins, Colo. She can be reached at email@example.com.