By Glory Ann Kurtz
Nov. 23, 2012
EXHIBIT ADDENDUM TO STEEN LAWSUIT:
Following is Exhibit A that did was not included with the original Alan Steen filed against the lawsuit. The Exhibit reveals a memorandum to the incoming Executive Director Alan Steen and was written by the temporary Executive Director Bill Brewer.
BRUCE RICHERSON REPLACES MIKE RUTHERFORD AS NCHA VICE PRESIDENT
Bruce Richerson has accepted the position of Vice President, replacing Mike Rutherford, who resigned from the position after saying that being on the NCHA Executive Committee compromised his morality. Richerson, who ran against Rutherford for Vice President, moved into the position of Vice President as per the Constitution and Bylaws of the National Cutting Horse Association, Article VI, Section Five found on Page 169 of the 2012 NCHA Rule Book.
AQHA STALLION BREEDING REPORTS DUE NOV. 30
Nov. 30 is the deadline to file Stallion Breeding Reports for the 2012 breeding year (it’s June 30 south of the equator). The cost is $25 plus $5 per mare if you file your breeding report on time.
If the stallion breeding report is postmarked Dec. 1 or after of the breeding year, the cost is $25 plus $5 per mare PLUS a $30 late-filing fee.
QUARTER HORSE JOURNAL OFFERS A TWO-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION FOR THE PRICE OF ONE
If you’re wondering what’s going on in the Quarter Horse industry, the AQHA has a deal for you. You can subscribe to the Quarter Horse Journal, until Dec. 31, for the annual fee of $25 and receive a two-year subscription.
The subscription includes access to the digital edition of the Journal, which can be accessed from your computer or tablet device, complete with links to advertisers’ websites and videos. The offer is available to new and renewing subscribers, U. S. residents only and expires at midnight Dec. 31, 2012.
ALABAMA CUTTING HORSE TRAINER TEACHING CUTTING THROUGH THE INTERNET TO A CUTTING HORSE LOVER IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Eva Barnova from the Czech Republic is learning how to ride a cutting horse with lessons on the Internet from Rick Dennis, an Alabama trainer. Eva is shown riding Indy, her Smart Little Lena grandson.
By Glory Ann Kurtz
Nov. 10, 2011
The internet has opened up many ways to learn while living in another state – or country for that matter. And riding and training cutting horses is no different. The horse industry in foreign countries is becoming more and more enamored with cutting horses, as over the years, many well-bred cutting horses have been shipped overseas. But the biggest obstacle has been the lack of competent trainers. Rick Dennis, a cutting and working cow horse breeder and trainer from Shelby, Ala., is now working to change that.
Eva Barnova, 37, from Benesov, about 50 km from the capitol city of Prague in the Czech Republic found Rick on the internet through his web sitehttp://www.windrivercompanyllc.com. Eva, who has loved horses since childhood, studied in an agricultural school due to her love for horses. However, a job and a short marriage left no time for horses. However, two years ago she went to visit her sister in Spain, who along with her sister’s boyfriend, Roy French, train natural horsemanship through “RM Training” in South England. She later started helping them with their business, as a web administrator of their website (http://www.naturalhorsetraining.eu), and took training lessons from Roy.
Eva Barnova riding Idolo, a beautiful grey stallion that can do the Spanish walk, piaf and other Spanish horse moves.
It was there that she learned how to ride Idolo, a beautiful grey stallion of the “pura raza espanola breed” owned by Roy that could do the Spanish walk, piaf, and other Spanish horse moves. Roy has lived and trained in Spain, Australia and the United States. She had also taken reining lessons from Roy.
About a year ago, when her sister and Roy were in Spain looking for horses to buy, they found a pathetic-looking Quarter Horse stallion in a garage.
“He was a stallion and had a bad life,” said Eva about the Quarter Horse they had found. “When I first saw his picture, I bought a ticket to Malaga and went to see him. It was a love for the first sight and I bought him immediately and transported him back home.”
She named the stallion Indy and had him gelded. She learned that he was a Smart Little Lena grandson and had reining skills. “But after awhile I found out that he loves to chase animals,” said Eva. She had seen her first cutting competition in the Czech Republic and fell in love with cutting, explaining that they have a few good cutting ranches there.
Asked what a good cutting horse in the Czech Republic would cost, she said between 8-10,000 euros – around $14,000 in US dollars. However, Indy wasn’t a good cutting horse yet and she longed to make him one.
Eva got on the internet and found Rick Dennis’ Wind River Company web site (http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com), and discovered he had helped many of his students achieve versatile titles, including AQHA World Championships, an AQHA Reserve World Championship, AQHA State Championships, an AQHA National title, National Reined Cow Horse Non-Pro Bridle Championships, Circuit Championships and World Show qualifiers in reining, cutting, cow horse and team penning. “He was kind enough to help me online, “said Eva, “Because I don’t have the possibilities to take horses and go for training somewhere.”
Asked why she thinks Indy would make a cutting horse, Eva said, “I don’t know if he can be good in cutting, but he really likes animals, likes to work with them, likes to chase them. Last week, he saved me before a ram who was about to strike me. I think he’s got cow sense. I always wanted to be a cowgirl but I would have (had) to be born in the states and not here.”
Asked what animals she will be cutting, she said, “We have only some sheep in the field and also no ‘rideable’ arena, so I can train only (a) few things, so maybe he will be just working sheep.”
Rick Dennis riding Dual N For Me, sired by his stallion Dualin Oak. Rick's students have achieved a variety of titles including several AQHA World Championships.
Rick Dennis is the manager of Wind River Company LLC, a Louisiana Limited Liability company operating within multiple geographical locations within a client base spanning global markets and myriad industries. According to his web site, his company includes three divisions including, 1) drug, alcohol and DNA testing, 2) consultation on legal analysis and 3) California stock horses and reined cow horses. He has been an under-cover agent for the Office of Drug Abuse and Law Enforcement, New Orleans, and graduated from the United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs training academy; has been a drug enforcement agent in New Orleans, and has worked in the private security sector for 41 years with employee drug and alcohol testing, DNA testing, civil and criminal investigations, systematic theft, on-site security surveys, personal protection professional, security consultation and analysis. He is also a certified professional law enforcement K-9 instructor/trainer.
But his real love is performance horses: breeding, training, showing and teaching. He is a trainer and breeder of cow horses, including reining, cutting and reined cow horses. His breeding stallion is Dualin Oak, a 1999 stallion by Mister Dual Pep by Peppy San Badger out of Tessa Oak by Docs Oak. He has lifetime earnings of $97,500 and is the sire of 33 foals, with his first foal crop of six including five performers and money earners. An astounding total of 35 percent of his total foal crop are performers. Rick conducts several clinics a year, featuring reining, cutting and cow horses.
Rick said that Eva told him that she liked his web site because it featured many of his students and customers, and what they have won rather than just bragging about what he, himself, has done. With the closest cutting trainer to Eva being the PB Ranch, being 150 miles away, Rick has started teaching Eva the basics through written lessons and videos, and when she feels she’d like to advance and try cutting on cattle with Indy, she can take a trip to the PB Ranch to see how far she has come with her new cutting gelding and on-line cutting horse trainer.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE IN THIS CUTTING HORSE BREEDING FACILITY
ALPHA EQUINE STANDS A GROUP OF STALLIONS THAT FIT MOST ANYONE’S POCKETBOOK
The staff at Alpha Equine includes (from left) Melanie Ritter, M. C. Baker, DVM, Clint Baker, manager and Trish McClurg.
By Glory Ann Kurtz
April 4, 2011
It’s breeding time and during a recent trip to Alpha Equine, a breeding facility located between Weatherford and Granbury, Texas, I was impressed by their service, management and beautiful facilities.
The Alpha Equine breeding facility is owned by M. C. Baker, DVM, who previously owned Alpha Equine Hospital in Weatherford, and is managed by his son Clint. However, Dr. Baker takes a very active part in the breeding facility, which includes the standing and promotion of 10 stallions, reproductive and fertility services, mare management and year-round care, embryo transfer management and a breeding center for shipped semen nationally and internationally, The facility, which includes 300 stalls, a 40-acre foaling facility and an over 300-acre breeding facility, along with roomy pastures where they grow their own coastal grass, is also one of the most technologically advanced breeding centers in the country.
Alpha Equine's facility includes a beautiful breeding barn and mare barn with 300 stalls, a 40-acre foaling facility and an over 300-acre breeding facility.
The facility’s battery of stallions range from several “tried and true” famous stallions in the cutting horse industry to several new and popular stallions. They include sons of legends such as Smart Little Lena, Peptoboonsmal, High Brow Cat, Freckles Playboy, CD Olena and Doc Tari. For variety, they even have a Paint stallion sired by the popular Smooth As A Cat.
For over 40 years, Dr. M. C. Baker, DVM has mentored many veterinary graduates that have gone on to be successful equine practitioners. In 1983, his Alpha Equine Hospital became the first all equine group practice and hospital in Parker County. He sold the hospital in 2004.
The stallions include Cats Merada (1999 High Brow Cat x Merada Lena x Freckles Merada) with lifetime earnings of $177,900 and over $550,000 in offspring earnings and CD Lights (1999 CD Olena x Delight Of My Life x Grays Starlight), and the second highest money earner sired by CD Olena, with lifetime earnings of $223,383 and offspring earning in excess of $761,300.
Also, Desires Little Rex (2004 Smart Little Lena x Desire Some Freckles x Freckles Playboy) NCHA Open Futurity Reserve Champion and the earner of $287,519 and Lectric Playboy (1991 Freckles Playboy x Lectro Milligan x Leonard Milligan), earner of $142,263 and sire of offspring earning over $1.4 million in NCHA, NRHA, NRCHA and roping events.
Also Neat Little Cat (2001 High Brow Cat x Neat Little May x Smart Little Lena), with earnings $274,470 with his first crop in the show ring this year; Peptos Stylish Oak, (1997 Peptoboonsmal x Moms Stylish Kat x Docs Stylish Oak) Australian NCHA COA and finalist in NCHA of Australia Open Derby, with offspring earning over $2 million; Smart Little Pistol,(1988 Smart Little Lena x Miss Silver Pistol x Doc’s Hickory) with earnings of $8,920 and the sire of offspring earning in excess of $2.1 million, including NCHA Triple Crown Winner and Horse Of The Year Chiquita Pistol and Smooths First Tobicat (APHA), (a 2005 tobiano APHA black stallion by Smooth As A Cat out of QTS Pow Wow Prices x Q T Poco Streke), with $10,124 in lifetime earnings and still showing.
There’s also Quejanaisalena (1999 Smart Little Lena x Quejanamia x Son O Mia), with lifetime earnings of $338,204 and offspring earning in excess of $157,533) and Zack T Wood (1986 Doc Tari x Lintons Lady Doc x Mr Linton), with lifetime earnings of .$182,423 and offspring earning in excess of $.7 million.;
Dr. Baker is quick to brag on his staff, including Trish McClurg and Melanie Ritter, who man the office efficiently and who both have extensive horse experience. The facilities are located at 2301 Boyd Road, Granbury, Texas 76049, just 13 miles south of Weatherford on Highway 51 and 2.7 miles east on 167 to Boyd Road. Check out their web site at www.alphaequine.com or call Clint Baker or Trish or Melanie at (817) 279-8275
Click here to go to the Alpha Equine web site>>
“I’M GLAD IT’S OVER”
A VISIT WITH WES ADAMS, THE CREATOR OF THE MILLIONHEIR PROGRAM
Wes Adams (left, Debbie Rousey and Dustin Adams. The award is one they gave to Michael and Paula Gaughan for hosting the MillionHier during the South Point shows.
By Glory Ann Kurtz
Oct. 24, 2010
It was a happy occasion and a sad occasion – all at the same time. That’s how Wes Adams looked at the final MillionHeir event, the 6-year-old Non-Pro and Amateur Challenge, held during the South Point cutting Oct. 10-16 in Las Vegas, Nev.
“It’s a great feeling to be finished and I’m thankful that I had the ability to do everything that we represented we would do,” said Adams. “You never know what changes in life happen that will not allow you to do the things you commit to – so that’s a great feeling to be able to finish what you start.”
Adams was referring to his MillionHeir event that added $8 million to a stallion incentive program, with 895 entries vying for the close to $9.2 million that was paid out since 2004 – as promised. It was the only stallion program for cutters started by an individual that paid out as promised.
But it was not easy for Wes or his family, including his wife, Liz and their children who rodeo and cut. As a Las Vegas contractor, his business was hit hard by the economy during the past few years and his health also took a punch. “The economy is tough,” said Adams, “and it’s a different world now than it was 11 or 12 years ago when the concept started.”
But Adams never waivered and he paid out as he promised. “It’s really been painless,” said Adams, “but I guess the reason it’s been painless is because I always knew I was going to be able to write the check – so this is a part of life. It’s just another chapter in our lives.”
Adams was happy for his son, Dustin, who was the high money earner from this year’s MillionHeir, by winning the Non-Pro Challenge riding MH Unexplainable for a total of $70,400. The amount also made him the highest money earner of the seven years that the program ran – earning a total of $597,301 – and go over the $3.1 million mark in lifetime earnings. However, the $86,150 he picked up altogether at the South Point show won’t be included in NCHA or AQHA records, due to the South Point Show not being approved by the NCHA. The money will be included; however, in Equi-Stat earnings and records kept by Robin Glenn, as well as other pedigree companies.
Adams was understandably proud of Dustin, saying, “It’s unbelievable what he’s accomplished in 10 years. I was just told he went over the $3 million mark in earnings; I wasn’t aware of that. Dustin doesn’t ask for much and doesn’t receive much in the form of acknowledgement and recognition. But if you look at the statistics, he’s truly in a league by himself right now. But more than that, he’s a great person. There’s other riders who have achieved $3 million in earnings, but they’ve been showing for 25 or 30 years. But he’s earned that – he did that on his own through hard work. He works hard at everything he does and he does it with integrity.”
“To some people it’s probably a little frustrating (that Dustin won),” said Adams, “however, it’s wonderful to see Dustin have a good day and have such a great run to finish.” Dustin and his gelding scored a whopping 225 in the finals, the highest score of the entire 6-year-old Non-Pro event. The rules to the show said that no horses owned by either Wes Adams or his Western States Ranch in Dublin, Texas, would be eligible to show. However, the rules did not exclude his family, including Dustin and his wife, Deena, who also took home $21,000 from this year’s MillionHeir Non-Pro Challenge, riding The Big Bucks to a 218 and third place. The couple are expecting their first child next May.
Adams was a little nostalgic and emotional about the program, which actually ran its course over 11 years, after it began in 2000 when mares were first bred to the MillionHeir stallions. “I’m glad it’s over but it’s been fun and I’ve met a lot of great people,” said Adams. “The relationships are all so wonderful. I’ve been trying to leave for work since I got here and I’ve enjoyed visiting with the people that I’ve met through the process so much this morning. Those are the good things in life – the relationships and the ability to finish – the ability to still have your health and be here and to see people you have met. I’ve had a lot of great compliments and a lot of people really thanked us for being sincere and honest. It’s been good and it’s been a little bit sad. I wish it would have been more successful on the financial side of it as far as us creating an opportunity for it to have legs for longevity. That’s the sad part of it.”
The Western States Ranch, managed by Dustin, is still raising horses like they have doing for years, but are down to around 200 head, rather than the 1,100 they had several years ago. Wes owns a Hollywood Dun It son, who has quite a bit of money won in the reining event.
“We bred 30 mares to him a few years ago,” said Wes. “Half of them were running mares and the other half were bred to cut.” According to Dustin, they are using him as a versatility stud. The ranch is raising colts out of cow horse mares and his brothers and others have been pro rodeoing on some of the colts.
As far as stallions, the ranch still has San Tule Freckles, Little Dyno and Palface Jose. “Basically we’re using those stallions on our own mares,” said Dustin. “We got tired of playing the stud game. Basically, what we’re telling everyone is that we’re going to ride them. If they’re good enough for us to ride, and if you want to breed to one of them, we’ll work something out. If not, that’s fine too. We’re tired of playing games. It’s so political and it costs so much for advertising. They know the horses and they know where they’re at. If not, that’s okay too – they’re good enough for us to ride. That’s just how we feel.”
Wes is now entering another phase of his life where he will be enjoying his kids and his grandkids. All of the boys, except the youngest, are married and all but Dustin have children – and Dustin and Deena are expecting their first in May. Their daughter is also married with children.
Wes Adams and Debbie Rousey with a scrap book she put together, including photos and other memorabilia from the seven years of the MillionHeir. There were also letters from many of his friends and customers that brought tears to his eyes.
Following the awards for the MillionHeir Non-Pro and Amateur Challenge, Debbie Rousey, who worked for the MillionHeir program, presented Wes with a scrap book, including photos and other memorabilia of the program from the beginning to the end. At the back of the book were letters from many of his friends and customers, thanking him for his innovativeness, honesty and integrity. The Adams also presented a beautiful plaque to Paula and Michael Gaughan for helping with the program by hosting it with the South Point shows.
“Maybe next time people will be a little more trusting,” said Adams.
HORSES AND TEXAS HOLD ‘EM
A CUTTING HORSE OWNER’S STRATEGY TO BEATING THE HOUSE
By Glen Nelson, Mama’s Ranch LLC
Oct. 14, 2010
Many gamblers are intrigued with the possibility of beating The House by tipping the odds in their favor. In 1979, an MIT professor organized a group of students who mastered a complex probability matrix and a simple card-counting strategy to beat the Black Jack tables around the world. Later, the book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,illustrated how the Oakland A’s, through probability analysis and statistical modeling, changed baseball and built a foundation of success despite their budget limitations.
The same statistical factors apply to the cutting horse industry. Every year hundreds play the game, but few financially succeed. Is it luck? Yes. Does it have to be? No. While the odds are weighted heavily against the cutting horse owner, those odds can be overcome. The past is a predictor of the future, and knowledge of the future can turn the probabilities in your favor. Like the MIT team and the Oakland A’s, you too can beat The House. I have created a strategy that combines probability analysis, market results and old-fashioned horse sense to increase your success over time.
Please note that I am not a gambler. Neither was the MIT team or the Oakland A’s. Gamblers look to Lady Luck. Professional card players do not. Unlike gamblers, professionals know the numbers, use consistent strategies and play a lot: all required by statistical laws of large numbers. My strategy is based on sound probability analysis — not good fortune. Whether you have a lot of horses or not, my strategy will improve your odds substantially. I have used terms from the game “Texas Hold ‘em” to explain my program. This seems fitting given the substantial number of Texas Cutters. Let’s begin.
In Texas Hold ‘em, Pot odds are calculated as follow: B < P x O, that is the Bet must be less than the total amount in the Pot times the Odds of winning. Betting when the pot odds are in your favor guarantees success over time. The same principle holds true with cutting horses. I want to define some terms as they relate to cutting:
• The BET means: All costs associated with the ownership of a horse or group of horses. These include purchase price, breeding costs, board, training, show fees, vet, sale expenses, insurance, etc. It is important to be honest and thorough in this process.
• The POT means: All revenues generated from the horse or group of horses. These include sale price, winnings and other parts of the Six Win Theory (see below for explanation).
• The ODDS mean: The probability of winning the revenue in the pot. Statistics can be calculated on mature studs to determine the offspring’s chances of winning a selected amount of money. This can be done based on the sire of the dam, how much money the dam has won, the produce of the dam, the color of the horse, birth date or any other variable or combination of variables where a sufficient sample exists to create statistical credibility.
ROYAL FLUSH’S (SIX-WIN THEORY)
When a horse wins money there are potentially six paydays. (1) The prize-winning check (2) The increased value of the competing horse (3) Its sire (4) Its dam (5) The siblings and (6) Its offspring. There is one Bet and six paydays. This is a statistical game changer because these six paydays can dramatically increase the value of the Pot and therefore the pot Odds. This theory decreases the value of geldings because they cannot have offspring, and increases the value of fillies because they can. It also increases the value of horses in which you own the sire and/or the dam. You must calculate the value of each of the paydays that apply to the horse and add them to the pot. A Royal Flush is to bet on a horse where you get all six checks.
DRAWING FOR INSIDE STRAIGHTS ON THE RIVER:
The odds of successfully creating a financially viable sire are remote. Yet, many feel an irrational compulsion to do so. I call this stud fever. Do not let the fever cloud your judgment. Yes, you can win the lottery but the chances of doing so are slim. The same is true for developing a stud. That is not to say you should not own a stud. For example, lifetime winnings in excess of $75,000 on High Brow Cat studs/geldings are 2:1 favorites over Cat fillies. Stud colts are statistically a correct choice with Cat. Still, proven industry leading sires out of Cat have been limited, even though strong candidates emerge each year. In the end, betting on potential sires is always a long shot.
KNOW WHEN TO FOLD ‘EM
Phil Rapp gave me some great advice after recommending the sale of a two-year-old I had with him. He said, “The first loss is the best loss.” Once you know that a horse does not have the ability to meet your program’s expectations, the sooner you cull the better. The expenses of continuing with a horse are enormous and play a major role as a large component of the Bet. Yes, late bloomers rise and early stars fade but the Odds favor the horse that shows you something early and progresses through the training and shows.
Also, you must recalculate the Pot Odds as the horse progresses so you can sell at the horse’s peak value. Not all horses increase in value over time, even if they win. This is particularly true for geldings and off-bred “mare geldings.” These horses have tremendous abilities in the show pen, yet they can actually decrease in value as they age. You should take your chips off of the table when the horse’s breeding value is less than the cost of continuing with the horse.
Strictly following the above fold ‘em strategies can dramatically change your Pot Odds by reducing the Bet. Consider the example of betting on five carefully selected Dual Rey fillies out of Freckles Playboy mares. You will lose badly if the weak fillies are not identified and culled early and the winners sold at their peak value. This is true even though Dual Rey is an industry leading sire, Freckles Playboy mares are a strong cross and Dual Rey mares are rising in market value. I cannot emphasize this point more strongly.
STACKING THE DECK
You stack the deck by using an experienced horse trainer when buying a horse. Based on the numerous horses they have seen and ridden, trainers know the look and feel of quality horses. They measure the intangibles like movement, conformation and disposition. The success factors in my calculations increase significantly when a qualified trainer gives the thumbs-up on a horse. Imagine drawing for a flush of spades with the red cards removed from the deck. The principle is the same when selecting horses. Proven trainers remove weaker horses from consideration and thus improve the odds.
In addition, the selection of a rider/trainer has a powerful impact on the results. The odds in favor of top trainers are overwhelming. For example, if a top-ten trainer selects your horse to ride at the futurity, your chances of success rise dramatically. There are three reasons why: first, they are the best trainers and showmen in the world. Second, they select from a large and talented group of horses. Third, they walk into the herd with a “72” (just kidding, mostly). The downside is that competition, time constraints and politics may keep you out of his show string. You may be better off going with a top-50 rider than a top-ten rider’s number two guy. That of course does not apply to Tim Smith catch riding for Phil Rapp.
In cutting, the blinds are called “outside money” and are paid by sponsors and stud owners. The outside money significantly impacts the Odds by increasing the Pot without increasing the Bet. Weekend events are a lot of fun and are good training opportunities but they are not profitable. The same is true for many of the small futurities. Some say the competition is too steep at the big shows and view their chances better at the small events. They are correct that the reduced competition improves the Odds of winning, but not nearly enough to overcome the poor ratio of the Bet to the Pot. The numbers say fold, get a better horse and compete for the big checks. The size of the pots at the small shows makes financial success rare.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Financial success requires that you play only when the statistical model shows that you can win. The key components are: credible statistics from breeding, shows and sales, Six Win Theory, proven trainers, timely culling, outside money and caution against taking long shots. The challenge lies in the execution of these strategies found in your program’s decision making, discipline and patience. I hope to see you in the winner’s circle.
HOW TO BECOME ONE OF THE LARGEST SUPPLIERS OF ALFALFA TO THE HORSE INDUSTRY:
BEING AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME … AND HARD WORK
Article and photos by Glory Ann Kurtz
Sept. 15,2010 – Manzanola,Colo
Melvin Neugebauer, owner, and Deana Harris, Office Manager, run the business end of Manzanola Feeds in Manzanola, Colo. Due to a highly mechanized facility put in place close to four years ago, the rest of the staff was reduced to three from 17 employees.
Melvin Neugebauer, the owner of Manzanola Feeds in Manzanola, Colo., was at the right place at the right time, nurturing his company into becoming one of the largest producers of alfalfa cubes and alfalfa pellets for the horse industry.
Labeled “Top Of the Rockies” his alfalfa “hay in a bag” is well-known in the performance horse industry, where the customers realize the importance of keeping their horses in the best physical shape possible. Some of their very satisfied customers include the 6666 Ranch, Boyd Rice, Gary Gonslaves, JEH Stallion Service in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas, Teddy Abrams Jr., Andy Chavers, and Hart Farms.
Paighton Kelly, Aurora, Texas, is a true believer in “Top Of The Rockies” cubes. She feeds them to her barrel horse Plum, who she says has increased his barrel racing times since she has been feeding him the cubes.
While much of his business comes from Texas, Melvin says he has a large amount of business coming from states like Florida, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, just to name a few. “Top Of The Rockies” alfalfa cubes are sold in around 30 different states and are even sold in Sam’s stores.
Melvin Neugebauer, owner of Manzanola Feeds, is shown with alfalfa bales and bags of alfalfa cubes at his plant in Manzanola, Colo.
Melvin is originally from Holly, Colo., where his family was engaged in agriculture. He later moved down the road to Lamar, where close to 30 years ago he became involved in the alfalfa business. The secret to the best alfalfa is location, location, location – which means the place where there is the right combination of water and dry air for high-protein content. Holly, Lamar and Manzanola are all located in the perfect place to raise alfalfa – on Highway 50 east of Pueblo, in the southeastern
corner of Colorado, which has an arid climate and plenty of water for irrigation.
“Top Of The Rockies” alfalfa cubes are made out of new-crop alfalfa hay that is produced during the current growing season. Freshness insures higher protein quality. Melvin has approximately 300 acres of alfalfa in Manzanola but still grows alfalfa in Lamar and has a bevy of alfalfa growers in the area who supply him with alfalfa at the right time.
“When we get the alfalfa, we weigh it, rate it and then check the moisture content,” said Melvin, “and if it doesn’t meet our requirements, we send it back to the seller.”
A fork lift is used to feed the 4×4 alfalfa bales onto the conveyer belt.
Almost four years ago, Melvin moved his growing, but labor-intensive, alfalfa cube business to Manzanola where he built a highly mechanized facility, which reduced his staff from 17 employees in the manufacturing process down to three. He and Deana Harris, his office manager, run the business end.
A conveyer belt feeds the bales into a chopper, where they are mixed with the exact amount of water and a mold inhibitor.
The large 4×4 bales are fed by conveyer into a chopper, where they are mixed with the exact amount of water and a mold inhibitor. The chopped mixture is then dropped into the cubing machine where it is compressed into one-by-three-inch cubes. The cubes come out of the cubing machine at a temperature of around 105 degrees and are then sent out to a chamber to cool for 60 minutes. They are then sent by conveyer to a warehouse bin where they are bagged and stacked on pallets to await shipping. Although the stems are crushed along with the leaves, “The moisture in the leaves is what holds the cubes together,” says Melvin.
After the bags are filled, they go through a dating machine (lower right of photo).
Each day, one of his employees uses a fork lift to feed the alfalfa bales onto the conveyer belt, one monitors the bagging process and the other moves the pallets of 50-pound filled bags to another part of the warehouse, so they are ready for shipping.
According to Melvin, the alfalfa cubes are a hay replacement without the waste, which includes leaf and stem loss, and they also produce less dust than baled alfalfa. The alfalfa going into the cubes is natural, fresh, sun-cured hay with no dyes or preservatives added. The cubes and pellets are guaranteed to be free of mold and weather damage. Even a small child can carry the correct portion of hay to their horse.
After each bag of cubes is dated, the machine stacks them on a pallet. The machine senses when the pallet is full and an employee moves the pallet to a shipping part of the warehouse.
Manzanola Feeds guarantees at least 15 percent crude protein in their alfalfa cubes, not less than 2 percent crude fat and crude fiber not less than 33 percent.
While Melvin had shelters full of large alfalfa bales, with many cubes and pellets heading to Texas and East every day, he claims this is the slowest season of the year. “They have their horses on grass now,” said Melvin. “Our busiest season will start in a month or so.”
The machine also creates and bags pellets, which are shown here ready for shipment.
While alfalfa hay is unsurpassed in its nutritional value of perennial forages, Melvin adds that horses should be supplemented with proper minerals and vitamins to meet the nutritional needs of each individual horse at the age and level of training they are at.
Manzanola Feeds also sells “Hi-Cal”, a high fat oil supplement, made of high quality soybean oil with very high caloric values this can be used for all equine formulation programs.
Melvin proves that his product works on his own race horses, as he is shown in his office with many win photos, Stakes winning plaques and other awards.
So what does Melvin do in his spare time? His office is very revealing as its walls are lined with win pictures, plaques from the AQHA for his stakes winners and flags from his wins at Quarter Horse race tracks in the Southwest. He races his Quarter Horses mostly in New Mexico but does enjoy racing in Texas and California. Melvin has several nice mares and is able to raise sixty percent of his own quality race horses.
Melvin proves that his product works as his own race horses are kept at their peak with a mixture of Manzanola Feed alfalfa cubes, crimped oats and a supplement.
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