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☛ Think animal abuse law is really a felony? 6-18–17




June 18, 2017

If you think that the Animal Abuse law passed in 2014, making animal abuse a felony, doesn’t have teeth in it, think again – especially if you live in Alabama.

According to WSFA of Alex City, Ala., Nick Patterson, a 30-year-old from Alex City was sentenced to 99 years in prison after pleading guilty to aggravated animal cruelty charges,

Patterson, in a plea deal, pled guilty to nine counts of animal abuse plus three counts of financial transaction card fraud.

After finding 14 living but malnourished dogs in outdoor enclosures where Patterson lived last June, with only dirty water to drink, fed sporadically and neglected for months, police also found the remains of six other collies on the property. Patterson was sentenced to 10 years on each of the nine animal cruelty and abuse counts and three years on each fraud charge. All sentences will run concurrently.

Patterson also tried to flee from police, all the while fraudulently using credit cards and stolen checks. He turned himself in to authorities in Council Bluffs, Iowa on July 24.


He may be eligible for parole after he serves a  minimum of 18 years and is not allowed to ever own an animal again.

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☛ Tragedy strikes Joe Suiter 6-8-17



Reprinted from articles on Facebook
June 8, 2017


Joe Suiter loses everything – even his dog!

Tragedy struck at the home of 1990 Futurity Champion Joe Suiter this last week of April. Joe not only lost irreplaceable possessions, all of his clothing, a roof over his head, but most importantly one of his pet chihuahuas “Joey”.

We are seeking funds to rebuild or purchase a small manufactured home for Joe. He is also in need of clothing so any type of assistance & donation is appreciated. Items can be dropped off at his residence in Litchfield Park, AZ.

$1, $5, $10, $20 donations can go a long way during a time of need. Please help us help Joe by donating on GoFundMe!!!! Thank you to all who have donated!!! We are also seeking building materials to be delivered to Joe Suiter 4620 N. Perryville Rd.,

Litchfield Park, AZ 85340.

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☛ Are bad breeding practices animal abuse? 5-26-17






By Rick Dennis
May 26, 2017

As an AQHA breeder, my requirements are to breed an animal that is genetically correct with excellent conformation, the right temperament, enough athleticism to perform multiple events, enough cow instinct to perform in cow horse or cutting, free of genetic defects and with enough bone and stamina to withstand the rigors of the show pen for many years.


My article entitled, “AQHA Genetic Pool Shrinks,” dated Jan. 10, 2015, delineated an ongoing problem within the Quarter Horse industry in that the genetic pool is shrinking. Undesirable genetic traits and diseases are being passed from generation to generation. The following articles were the proto types of my article that would later play out in a courtroom in Texas in 2017 involving HERDA.


Recent articles in the American Quarter Horse Journal entitled “The Changing Landscape of Quarter Horse Genetics, Part 1 and Part 2,” really caught my eye because of two reasons: 1) I’m an American Quarter Horse breeder specializing in multiple-event reined cow horses and 2) I’m a Life Member of AQHA.

Part 1’s first paragraph essentially sets the stage for the present state of the breed in that it’s becoming more and more inbred, stating, “Talk to an equine geneticist long enough and you are bound to hear two assertions made about the American Quarter Horse breed that sound like opposites: First, it is one of the most genetically diverse equine breeds in the world and second, it’s becoming increasingly inbred.


The second and third paragraphs of Part 1 outline the history of the breed and a factor causing this shrinking of genetics, stating, “Beginning in colonial America, the breed began from a diverse genetic base of largely Thoroughbred and Spanish blood that was added to and developed for roughly 200 years, focusing on producing quickness and durability.


But fast-forward to the modern era of specialized American Quarter Horse performers, especially at the highest levels, and you find specialization in the horse-breeding herd too: specific groups of individual classes of horses used to produce those top performers. If you’re breeding for a specific category of horse (i.e.) reining, cutting, cow horse, etc., the gene pool is further narrowed within this subgroup.


That suggests there are narrowed gene pools in those subgroups and now a genetic study clearly shows it. A research team from the University of Minnesota has published its findings in an issue of the Journal of Heredity, “The American Quarter Horse: Population structure and relationship to the Thoroughbred.” The 2012-2013 study was partially funded by the American Quarter Horse Foundation.


“In the pedigree analysis, some groups shared no common sires, such as halter and racing, but other groups did, such as reining and working cow horse. Although popular sires within one group were rarely shared with another group, all the pedigrees reflected the common roots of the Quarter Horse.

“Additionally, pedigree analysis showed that the most common 15 sires across the groups were all direct tail-male descendants of Three Bars (TB), with several of those stallions showing more than one cross to the Thoroughbred in the first four generations.

“Inbreeding” refers to the mating of relatives and results in an “inbred” individual horse. The amount an individual horse is “inbred” can be estimated from its pedigree or genetic data. In a pedigree analysis, determining an individual’s “co-ancestry coefficient” gives an idea of how closely related individuals are on a pedigree page. Two individuals can be highly related without either of them being inbred, but if you breed two individuals with a high co-ancestry coefficient, their offspring will be inbred.

“Diversity quantifies the amount of genetic variation there is in a population. Typically, a highly inbred population has low genetic diversity. In this study the lowest genetic diversity within a sub-population was in the cutting and racing groups. The highest average inbreeding was found in cutting.”


Also, a recent statement from Nena J. Winand, DVM, PhD and a specialist on HERDA that was a witness for the Plaintiffs in a recent lawsuit regarding HERDA mentioned later in this article, said, “I’d point out from a medical perspective, ANY shared ancestry, no matter how remote (far back) is considered inbreeding, because it provides a chance for an individual to inherit the same gene derived from the common ancestor from both parents.”


From this study, it’s clear that the present American Quarter Horse breeding rules require scrutiny to determine: 1) their contribution to this shrinking genetic pool and 2) the adverse affect each adopted breeding rule may or may not have on the breed itself. I wonder if the executives paid six figures at the AQHA and the Executive Committee members, especially the Stud Book and Registration Committee, had any forethought in the ramifications their expansive breeding rule adoptions would have on the Quarter Horse breed and industry over time?

As a private sector Risk Analyst, I’m commonly faced with the task of analyzing practices and concepts to determine either the detriment or usefulness an existing concept or practice has on an organization. In order to shed light on the topic, I examined two specific breeding rules adopted by AQHA: Multiple Embryo Transfer and Frozen Semen. I also examined the impact each adopted breeding rule may have on the breeding populous as well as a correlation of each one’s compliance with AQHA’s Mission Statement.


A horse’s conformation affects his ability to perform certain tasks. Read more about this interesting concept in AQHA’s Form to Function report.
Click for “Form To Function” report>>

“Longstanding breeding practices likely contribute to that. Habits such as “popular sire syndrome,” which is the tendency for many breeders to breed to a top-performing stallion, or the use of assisted reproductive techniques such as frozen semen and embryo transfers can greatly amplify one horse’s genetic impact. Even the practice of always breeding the ‘best to the best’ can contribute to increased inbreeding in a sub-population.

“Any time we take a single individual and increase its ability to generate offspring, that is going to decrease the genetic pool that is reproducing.

“Additionally, when you increase inbreeding and reduce diversity, you increase the incidence of undesirable genes making an appearance.

“A good example is the incidence of HERDA (hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia) in cutting horses. It’s very frequent within this sub-population, which might be the result of decreasing diversity and/or the ‘popular-sire’ effect. A previous study revealed that 28.3 percent of cutting-bred individuals carried the recessive gene for HERDA.”

Click following for AQHAGenetic Pool Shrinks>>


In a lawsuit entitled, “Minshall Vs Hartman Equine, Dos Cat Partners, Shauna and Ed Dufurrena” was tried in a Texas courtroom in 2017. The basis of the lawsuit encompassed fraud with the AQHA stallion Auspicious Cat. The owners of the horse advertised the stallion as being HERDA Negative when in fact the horse was designated N/Hr (a carrier of the HERDA gene) by the American Quarter Horse Association.


Prior to this lawsuit, the AQHA required genetic testing of breeding stallions on a graduated scale based on the number of mares bred until Jan. 1, 2016. After this date, each breeding stallion was required to have genetic testing which included a 5-Panel group of designated tests that were designed by AQHA and performed by UC Davis.


Up until the filing of this lawsuit, AQHA reserved the right NOT TO RELEASE the 5-Panel test results, except to the owners of the specific horse. This nondisclosure prevented anyone breeding to a specific stallion from obtaining the 5-Panel status of the stallion; therefore, running the risk of passing on a defect to the impending foal.


After the filing of the above-captioned lawsuit, AQHA has changed its posture to include releasing the 5-Panel test results to anyone who contacts them and asks for it. It’s also planned that the test results will be on the horse’s pedigree when their new computer database is online. Further, AQHA intends to embed the horses’ 5-Panel test results directly onto the stallions’ registration papers as a permanent record.


However, the curious nature of AQHA’s testing requirements does not include breeding mares, which, in my opinion should be a requirement as well. After all, mares carry the same number of genetic chromosomes as stallions do, which includes the mares’ lineage as well.


This is exactly what happened in this case as two N/Hr (HERDA carrier) horses were bred together, producing a HERDA affected foal. The Plaintiff’s had simply relied on the honesty and integrity of the stallion owner. Does AQHA have any culpable liability in the matter from their previous posture of not releasing stallion specific genetic testing results?


The other curious nature of this saga is that my article AQHA Genetic Pool Shrinks, along with its predetermined scientific facts and warnings about inbreeding, ended up in this courtroom drama two years later.


Just about every cutter I’ve talked to wants a High Brow Cat-bred horse because of their winning nature. In fact, some even breed for horses carrying the HERDA gene due to this phenomenon, which is exactly what happened in this lawsuit. The Plaintiffs desired to breed to a High Brow Cat stallion that carried the AQHA N/N designation and ended up breeding to an N/Hr horse. Since their mare carried the N/Hr designation, two N/Hr horses produced a HERDA-affected foal that required an enormous amount of money to maintain.


So at the end of the day, what happens to the foals that wash out due to genetic deficiencies: euthanasia, the horse slaughter pipeline, retired and crippled at two or three years of age perhaps? Has our industry become so callous and money hungry that they throw caution to the wind when breeding? What about the poor horse that suffers due to this selfish act? This is an arduous fact to quantify simply due to non-reported statistical data. In my opinion just breeding to a particular line of horses just because they’re winning is a very poor excuse, especially in lieu of the fact that a known line is capable of producing undesirable genetic traits in the American Quarter Horse. We experienced this in the HYPP line of horses!

Also, it’s my opinion that AQHA being the breed registry for the American Quarter Horse should live up to its own Mission Statement and step in to prevent this well-known and established HERDA gene from permeating the American Quarter Horse breed. After all, they are the rule makers and some of their established and unorthodox   breeding rules have and continue to contribute to the shrinking genetic pool of the American Quarter Horse, thus causing direct harm to the breed. Only AQHA can stop or control the insertion of bad genetics into the American Quarter Horse Gene Pool!



1)         Mare owners should have their horses genetically tested by the AQHA 5-panel prior to breeding.

2)         Mare owners should perform due-diligent research into the genetic test results of the impending desired stallion prior to breeding.

3)         Prior to breeding, consult with a geneticist to determine whether the match up would produce any undesirable traits in the produced foal, especially if a shared lineage or line of horses is in the background of both horses.


Unfortunately, bad breeding practices and catastrophic results aren’t limited to the American Quarter Horse Industry. In a later article I’ll discuss and delineate the bad breeding practices in the Thoroughbred Industry.


“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle”


Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Web Site:






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☛ Metallic Cat and HERDA 5-18-17






By Glory Ann Kurtz
May 18, 2017
Edited May 20, 2017


Metallic Cat offspring dominate Super Stakes Open finals

A cutting horse dynasty started with the 1967 stallion Doc O Lena, the son of a severely foundered great mare Poco Lena. He was trained and ridden by Shorty Freeman to the championship of the 1970 NCHA Futurity, following a clean sweep of the futurity’s preliminary go-rounds, semifinals and finals. It was the bloodline that everyone wanted in a cutting horse and the most sought-after sire to breed to.


Next came his son Smart Little Lena, out of Smart Peppy, born in 1979, and ridden by Shorty’s son Bill Freeman. The pair not only won the 1982 NCHA Futurity, but also the NCHA Super Stakes and Derby. After he was retired to stud, his offspring won $34.9 million, according to AQHA records.


Showing she was just as prolific as her sire, Smart Little Lena, Smart Little Kitty produced High Brow Cat, sired by High Brow Hickory. Although he was not a great money earner himself, High Brow Cat was honored at this year’s NCHA Convention as the NCHA’s leading sire for the 12th consecutive year, having sired 483 money earners and up to 2015 had earned nearly $4 million, according to his owner Darren Blanton. Blanton stated he was “truly a magical genetic mix that only God himself could have created.” Blanton had purchased the 1998 stallion, bred by Hanes Chatham and Stewart Sewell as part of a package deal that included the colt’s mother from Jack Waggoner in January 2013.


Today the bloodlines of these great cutting horses is ongoing with the 2006 stallion Metallic Cat, a double-bred Smart Little Lena offspring sired by High Brow Cat out of Chers Shadow, sired by Peptoboonsmal out of Shesa Smarty Lena by Smart Little Lena. Shesa Smarty Lena was out of Shesa Playmate (Freckles Playboy x Lenaette by Doc Olena), going back to Doc O’Lena on both the top and bottom side.
Metallic Cat Pedigree


Bred by the Roan Rangers, Weatherford, Texas, Metallic Cat was sold as a 2-year-old on Sept. 11, 2007 to Beau Galyean, who sold him one year later on Sept. 10, 2008 to Alvin C. Fults, Amarillo, Texas. Seven years later, on Oct. 1, 2015, Metallic Cat’s ownership was changed to Metallic Cat Ltd., Amarillo, Texas, who currently owns the stallion.
Click for Metallic Cat Ownership>> 


With a 2009 NCHA Futurity Championship, Horse of the Year title and an induction into the NCHA Hall of Fame under his belt, Metallic Cat is the second highest money-earning stallion (behind his sire Smart Little Lena) in the history of NCHA, earning $637,711. Beau Galyean, who owned the stallion at one time, rode the stallion in the finals of all the major events and never lost a cow. He is the highest money earning stallion of all of High Brow Cat’s offspring and the highest money-earning aged-event stallion in a 27-year-history.


According to Quarter Horse News statistics, the highest money-earning offspring of High Brow Cat is the mare Dont Look Twice, owned by Phil and Mary Ann Rapp, Weatherford, Texas, earning $845,476. It’s interesting to note that the two highest money-earning horses, all-ages, all-divisions, follow the same bloodlines, with Red White And Boon (88g), being sired by Smart Little Lena and Sister CD (02g) being sired by CD Olena, a son of Doc O’Lena.


Metallic Cat was the NCHA Sire of the Year in 2016 and with 1,894 offspring currently registered with AQHA, they have earned over $12.2 million. He is standing at the Fults Ranch in conjunction with Timbercreek Veterinary Hospital, for a $10,000 breeding fee.


However, Metallic Cat’s greatest achievement so far has been the recently held NCHA Open Super Stakes Finals that paid out $635,528, with High Brow Cat and his offspring as sires took home 74 percent of the total Open Finals purse – or $471,949! Metallic Cat, with nine Open finalists, earned 53 percent ($334,148) of the Total Open Finals purse.


I took the results of the Open finals of the 2016 NCHA Futurity and the 2017 NCHA Super Stakes, pulling out the offspring of Metallic Cat that earned money, offspring of High Brow Cat that won money and the offspring of High Brow Cat (other than Metallic Cat) whose offspring won money.


2016 NCHA Futurity
In the Open finals of the 2016 NCHA Futurity, a $1,516,020 total purse was paid out, with High Brow Cat’s offspring as sires winning $238,486 (16 percent of the total Open Finals purse); Metallic Cat offspring winning $312,778 (21 percent) and other sons of High Brow Cat’s offspring taking home $328,933 (22 percent), for a total of $880,197 or 58 percent of the total Open Finals purse.


2017 NCHA Super Stakes
However, the 2017 NCHA Super Stakes was a deal breaker. With a $635,528 total Open Finals purse being distributed among 21 finalists, in the Open Finals High Brow Cat and his offspring as sires – won $471,949 – or 75 percent of the total Finals purse. Only 33 percent of the finals horses were not High Brow Cat bred. Nine of 14 High Brow Cat-bred money earners (64 percent) were sired by Metallic Cat and they earned $334,148 or 52.6 percent of the total Open finals purse. They included the Champion Hashtags, the Reserve Champion Melting Snow, 4th place Some Like It Metallic, 5/6 tie Metallic Ina, 7/9 tie Kopykat, 12/13 tie Metallic Boom, 15 Kreepin Cat, 16/18 Johnny English and Magnetik Playboy.


Three more finalists were sired by other sons of High Brow Cat, including Bet Hesa Cat, Herding Cats and WR This Cats Smart. There were also three that were not related to High Brow Cat on the top side but they were out of mares sired by High Brow Cat and his son Smooth As A Cat. That left only four horses in the 21-horse finals (19%) that were not High Brow Cat related. (Incidentally, the Super Stakes Champion Hashtags, owned by Jose Raul Garcia, Caracas, Venezuela, ridden by Tatum Rice, was the only Metallic Cat offspring that took home an Open Finals paycheck in both the 2016 NCHA Futurity and the 2017 Super Stakes.)

3) Click for 2017 NCHA Super Stakes Open Finals>>


A lot! In March I spent seven days at a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division in Sherman, Texas, to settle a lawsuit brought by Shawn, Lisa and Lauren Minshall, Hillsburg, Ontario, Canada, against David Hartman DVM, owner of Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A. (HERC), Gainesville, Texas. Prior to the trial Edward and Shona Dufurrena, who headed up Dos Cats Partners, Gainesville, Texas, the owners of the stallion Auspicious Cat, a stallion they had advertised as being HERDA N/N and told to the mare owners and Dr. David Hartman, the veterinarian that collected him and shipped semen, that he was HERDA N/N.


However, it was later discovered the stallion was H/N – or a carrier of HERDA. The Minshalls had bred their Smart Little Lena mare that was H/N to the stallion and as a result had a full-blown HERDA affected offspring named Otto, with lesions on his body appearing while he was in training. They testified in court that they had previously been told by Dufurrena that Auspicious Cat was HERDA N/N.


When the Minshalls threatened to sue the Dufurrena’s, they immediately settled. The amount of the settlement is unknown since it was a private transaction. The Minshalls then sued Dr. Hartman, owner of HERC. The jury found the Dufurrena’s 60 percent responsible, the Minshalls 30 percent responsible and Hartman only 10 percent responsible; however, no damages were announced at the trial.


However, on March 30, 2017, the Minshall’s lawyers sued Dr. Hartman, who collected the semen from Auspicious Cat and shipped it to the Minshalls, for legal fees of $203,535. (In a previous article I said that the Minshalls had sued Hartman for legal fees; however, Lauren Minshall called me and said it was the lawyers who filed – even though that was not noted in the lawsuit documents, as, according to legal advice given me, the lawyers had to go through the original lawsuit to sue Hartman for legal fees.)

Click for Minshall lawsuit>> 


Almost a month later, Judget Mazzant issued a Final Judgment on April 26, 2017, that said, “Based on Memorandum Opinion and Order and the verdict, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that judgment is entered in favor of Plaintiffs Shawn Minshall, Lisa Victoria Minshall and Lauren Victoria Minshall in the amount of $3,000 plus costs and pre- and post-judgment interest thereon at the rate provided by law, against Defendant Hartman Equine Reproduction Center, P.A

Click for Final Judgment>>


On that same date, Judge Mazzant issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order, which said, “The jury only found Defendant negligent and did not find Defendant liable under any other cause of action.”


The Memorandum continued, “The Plaintiffs argued they were statutorily entitled to attorneys’ fees under Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 38.001(6), which states that ‘a person may recover reasonable attorneys’ fees from an individual or corporation, in addition to the amount of a valid claim and costs, if the claim is for … killed or injured stock.’ ”


It continued, “Plaintiffs’ complaint did not seek recover of attorneys’ fees under Section 38.001(6). Further the jury did not make any findings regarding whether Otto was ‘injured’ for purposes of Section 38.001(6). Plaintiffs’ request for attorneys’ fees is denied.”
Click for Memorandum-Opinion>>


On May 9, the Plaintiffs Motion to Reconsider Memorandum Opinion Order, denying Plaintiffs’ Motion for entry of Judgment (Dkt #1351) and Motion to Amend Final Judgment (Dkt #136) in which the Plaintiffs requested the Court amend the Final Judgment and award Plaintiffs $16,340.80, 10 percent of the total compensatory damages award of $16,340.80, $203,535 in reasonable and necessary attorneys’ fees and for such other and further relief in law or in equity to which Plaintiffs may show themselves justly entitled. Pursuant to Local Rule CV-7(g), and Plaintiffs requested an oral hearing.


On May 9, 2017, Drew Thomas, counsel for Plaintiffs, emailed Caleena Svatek, counsel for Defendant, regarding this motion. No agreement could be reached due to an irreconcilable difference of opinion regarding Texas law on negligence and attorneys’ fees. Caleena Svatek confirmed Defendant was opposed to Plaintiffs’ motion via email correspondence on May 9, 2017. The discussions have ended in an impasse, leaving an open issue for the Court to resolve.



That Conference was the final legal document and after that document, the case was marked, “Case Closed.”

Denying Plaintiffs Motion=final judgment 5-9-17


These lawsuits were the results of a HERDA H/N (carrier) stallion being bred to a HERDA H/N (carrier) mare and they show how expensive the results can turn out to be – especially if the sire is not advertised correctly. I checked with the AQHA (Since the trial, you can now call the registration department of the AQHA and find out the HERDA status of any horse) and Metallic Cat is H/N (a HERDA carrier) – even though his HERDA status was not advertised on the current ads for the stallion. Obviously Auspicious Cat (and for that matter Metallic Cat) SHOULD NOT have been bred to a HERDA H/N mare, as proven by the birth of Otto, with full-blown HERDA.


However, breeders evidently did their breeding to Metallic Cat, or other sons of High Brow Cat, correctly, (as far as HERDA is concerned) in this case, as their offspring in the 2017 NCHA Super Stakes Open finals, included the 14 High Brow Cat-bred finalists that were out of mares sired by Dual Rey, Dual Pep (2), Spots Hot, Doc’s Hickory, Peptoboonsmal (2), Dulces Smart Lena, Freckles Playboy (3), Docs Stylish Oak, Son Of A Doc and Hesa Peptospoonful.
Click for Metallic Cats Offspring


However, we don’t know how many offspring of Metallic Cat were born with HERDA symptoms after he was crossed with HERDA H/N mares – or if there were any in the 2013 crop of 321 foals registered with the AQHA. I only checked the nine in the 2017 NCHA Super Stakes Open Finals.


A disturbing fact that came out of the trial was that the owners of several stallions who are H/N (carriers of the HERDA gene) have advertised if, as a result of their breeding to a particular stallion, the offspring is born with HERDA symptoms, the mare owner will receive a rebreed. To me, this encourages breeding for possible “throw-away” horses, as the Minshall lawsuit exposes what it costs to keep one.


On Jan. 15, 2015, I published an article on written by Rick Dennis and entitled “American Quarter Horse Genetic Pool Shrinks,” which revealed an article in the American Quarter Horse Journal, stating that “the present state of the breed is becoming more and more inbred” (It is now worse two years later) and AQHA is allowing it even though AQHA’s Mission Statement includes “maintaining the welfare of its horses.” I am including a link to this article as I feel every breeder of cutting horses should read and digest it. In short, according to the article, the “highest average inbreeding was found in Quarter Horses bred for cutting.


According to Dr. Molly McCue, “The study found that due to the contribution of popular sires, relatedness within the groups is on the rise. This increase in relatedness, or co-ancestry, is likely to lead to an increase in the number and extent of inbred individuals.”


Since the AQHA’s Mission Statement in part is “To record and preserve the pedigree of the American Quarter Horse while maintaining the integrity of the breed and welfare of its horses,” Dennis questioned whether the executives at the AQHA, their Executive Committee members, especially the Stud Book and Registration Committee, had any forethought about the ramifications their expansive breeding rule adoptions would have on the Quarter Horse breed and industry over time.


As a “risk analyst,” Dennis examined the specific breeding rules adopted by the AQHA, namely Multiple Embryo Transfer and Frozen Semen, which he felt is aiding the inbreeding of cutting horses, which he feels is actually a form of “animal cruelty.”

Click for AQHA Genetic Pool Shrinks>>


Although the Minshalls spent a lot of money on a lawsuit without receiving much in return, I thank them for getting a “set precedent” on the court case as far as responsibility is concerned, getting the AQHA to make HERDA information available to all members on every registered horse (currently by a phone call and later when their new computer system is online), as well as all the other valuable information for breeders of cutting horses that came out in court.



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☛ Retirement home for cutting horses 5-6-17






By Robin Fowler
May 6, 2017

Pete May Jr. and his wife Amanda operate Cutting Edge Retirement Foundation in Springtown, Texas.

As equine competition becomes increasingly specialized, so do the injuries valuable cutting horses endure.

And that’s where Cutting Edge Retirement Foundation of Springtown, Texas, and farrier Pete May Jr. step in. Cutting Edge is dedicated to caring for performance horses that have suffered career-ending injuries and are no longer able to compete. Call it assisted living for horses.

While injured mares and stallions still have value as breeding horses into their old age, injured geldings – which make up the bulk of the residents at Cutting Edge – have few prospects unless they can be rehabilitated for light riding or remain comfortable enough to serve as companion horses. Many of their problems involve stifle, suspensory ligament injuries or other lameness issues.

Some 70 to 80 percent of horses at Cutting Edge are retired cutters that can benefit from May’s 20-year expertise as a professional farrier. About 99 percent of his customers are cutters, including some of the top cutting horses, trainers and owners in the business. Some horses have landed at Cutting Edge from as far away as California and Colorado.

Spookys Catmando, a 2001 gelding (High Brow Cat x San Starlight) gives Petre May Jr. a hug. The gelding earned more than !65,000 during his NCHA cutting career.

“We have had cutting horses who have earned six figures, but they’re all special to us,” May says, noting that former show horses in residence at Cutting Edge have averaged $70,000 in earnings. The herd has included a few other types of performance horses as well, including an AQHA World Champion rope horse. One of the early horses that inspired May to form Cutting Edge was an abandoned pony whose hooves were so long that she could hardly walk.

Since the beginning of his career as a farrier, May’s attention has been focused on crippled horses that needed more help than others. He attended farrier school in 1997 at age 16, then apprenticed with legendary farrier Gene Cunningham. From the beginning he was concerned about the dilemma faced by the industry’s most famous injured performance horses and wanted to learn how to help them live a productive retirement.

“We give them a good retirement,” says May. “Some are still rideable for kids, some are not rideable at all, and some are suitable only as companion horses. Some are adopted out,” he says, but those with significant injuries spend the rest of their lives with May and his family at the foundation’s Springtown facility.

“We adopted out five at the end of last year,” May recalls. One couple, he says, wanted a companion for their 15-year-old gelding whose pasture mate had died. May showed them three that he thought were appropriate – two former show horses and a former turnback horse – and the couple couldn’t decide which they liked best. “So they took all three,” said May with a smile.

Some arrive in pairs or buddy up quickly – but for some, it is the first time in their lives they have had friends — human or horse. May likens them to professional athletes and believes many have been confined to stalls too long. In some cases, that can lead to atrophy both of body and mind, he says.

“At first they often don’t interact with other horses or people,” said May.

Pete May Jr. and his mother, Toby May. Most of the residents at Cutting Edge are geldings and Widows Peek, a 1985 gelding (Docs Borrego x Chunky Widow) found his way there in his old age.

During their show careers, horses may have had brief daily contact with each of the various handlers that feed, clean, lope and train them but may not bond with any of them.

“Too valuable to risk injury at play, some have not been turned out with other horses since they were yearlings,” May says.

“Sometimes when we turn them out here, they really don’t know what to do. They just stand in a corner,” adds his wife, Amanda, who is also a director for the nonprofit,

May has the advantage of having handled the shoeing needs of several of the horses, both during their show careers and later in retirement.

“Their disposition changes so much here,” he says, pointing to one that didn’t like people much when he was a show horse. “Now he’s a totally different horse.”

Cutting Edge is situated on 23 acres in Springtown and has the use of another 20 acres owned by family friends five minutes away. Horses that are new to the facility are carefully placed with compatible companions on ground that best serves their needs. For example, arthritic horses occupy level pastures and geldings that need more exercise are assigned to hilly terrain.

“Horses are grouped according to what their needs are,” May says. “Lower-maintenance horses occupy the 20-acre pasture down the road, while horses that need more attention live a few steps from our May residence.”

May can take 20 to 30 horses at a time and notes that he must turn away just as many due to lack of space. One recent arrival had been on a waiting list for three years.

Cutting Edge is a godsend to owners who have professional trainers but no horse facilities of their own where they can keep injured retirees. And with some resident equines requiring special shoes costing $300 to $400, May’s foundation allows owners to concentrate their finances on their healthy limited-age event horses. But many of his customers also become major financial supporters of the nonprofit.

“We get a lot of support from my customers., says May, noting that recent donations have included a much-needed grain silo and financial gifts that paid for eight new loafing sheds. In addition, supplements, wormers and equipment often are donated. Brazos Valley Equine Hospital provides veterinary care, and other area veterinarians have been supportive. Dennis Moreland Tack recently designed a sling for horses with stifle injuries to keep them comfortable during shoeing.

“We haven’t paid for hay in at least three years,” May says, “It’s remarkable how much help we’ve had. There’s a need for it.”

The Foundation also recently received a breeding to High Brow Cat, which May hopes to auction during the NCHA Futurity this December. But its biggest accomplishment is the future carefree, and hopefully pain-free, days in the pasture due these appreciated former athletes.

Noteworthy is that horses that are or have been residents include Dualin Jewels, Spookys Catmando, Widows Peek, Hick Of A Mate and Very Special Bet, among others.

“They just get to be horses – that’s what they’re here for,” May says. “If we can find them a good home on top of that. We do that as well,” .

Those who are adopted out continue to be shod or at least monitored by May or other farriers who work with him. The nonprofit’s contract requires that if adopters can no longer keep their horse, it must be returned to the foundation. Adoption fees average $500, more if the horse can be ridden and less if not. None is capable of continued competition.

As to those who adopt the Foundation’s horses, “It’s been pretty cool to see how much these people fall in love with them,” says May, who has been shoeing horses for 20 years this summer. “That’s something many of these horses don’t experience in their lifetime. Ninety percent of these guys have never had anyone give them a treat.”

Cutting Edge incorporated four years ago and filed as a Texas nonprofit in 2012. It initially operated under the umbrella of another nonprofit but recently received its own 501(c)3 approval.

For more information: Look for Cutting Edge Retirement Foundation on Facebook, call 940-390-9209 or email


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☛ Today’s News 5-4-17



May 4, 2017

Rick and Shelly Mowery

According to Ron Pietrafeso, Elbert, Colo., who is running for NCHA President, Rick Mowery had a real bad horse accident this afternoon. A 3-year-old went over on top of him. An update says Rick has two broken vertebrae, a fractured neck and 19 staples in the back of his head, from the horse trying to get up and kicking him with her front feet. However, one good thing is that his arms and legs are working. Needless to say, his wife Shelly is very shaken up and can use all the support we can give. Please say as many prayers as you can and keep praying. All of us praying have helped numerous others who needed help.Please, Lord, help our friend Rick to recover as soon as possible, keep him in your prayers, we pray this to you our Father!!!!

You can send your get-well wishes to Rick and Shelly at 1141 Harmony Rd., Weatherford, TX 76087


Walter Hellyer

industry’s most famous horses, including Doc O’Lena and Peppy San Badger (Little Peppy).

Hellyer, Waterford, Ontario, Canadian, an NCHA Hall of Fame member and past president of the Canadian Quarter Horse Association, passed away on May 3 at the age of 93 at The Norfolk General Hospital. He was born May 26, 1923.

Hellyer grew up on a farm and loved working horses. He was a member of both the American Quarter Horse Association and the National Cutting Horse Association and became associated with pioneer cutting horse trainers Buster Welch and Shorty Freeman. He was soon shipping many of his well-bred broodmares to Texas, where they were trained and shown by Shorty Freeman and his son-in-law Terry Riddle.

According to the NCHA, he purchased half interest in the 1970 NCHA Futurity Champion Doc O’Lena from Freeman, who had shown him. Doc O’Lena is one of cuttings foundation sires, being sired by Doc Bar and out of the great cutting mare Poco Lena. Some of the horses Hellyer bred included Lena Jewel Bars, sire of earners of $4.7 million and Playboys Madera, with lifetime earnings of $409,761 and the dam of Playboy McCrae, the 1988 NCHA Non-Pro World Championship.

Hellyer is survived by his wife of 71 years, Doreen; their children Pam Hellyer; Brenda (and Murray) Wivell; Warren (and Diana) Hellyer; Victoria Hellyer (and Dave Pavey) and Margaret Kotsch “special daughter.”. He was a loving grandfather to Dylan (and Carrie) Wivell, Kate Wivell, Vanessa (and Derek) Taylor, Tausha Hellyer (and Blair Dunbar), Melissa (and Sam) Daffron, Shane Hellyer (and Lita O’Halloran), Shauna (and Mike) Murtland, and also great grandfather to Isaac and Audrey Wivell, Connor and Cameron Taylor.

He will also be sadly missed by his sister Editha (and Telford) Hammond, and many nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents Russel and Lillian, sisters Shirley (and John) Carlisle, Mildred (and Ted) Woodley, sons Graham and baby Jeffery and great grandson baby Mason Murtland.

As a long time farmer in Townsend Centre, Walter enjoyed working the land, outdoor activities like fishing and hunting in his younger years, while developing new skills in woodworking in his retirement.

Friends may be received at Thompson-Mott Funeral Home, Waterford Friday May 5, 2017 from 2-4 & 7-9pm. A celebration of Walter’s life will be held in the chapel Saturday May 6, 2017 at 11am. Interment Greenwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations to Waterford Camp Trillium or charity of choice.


Ernest Beutenmiller Sr.

Ernest Beutenmiller, Sr., a member of the NCHA for over 50 years, passed away on April 28, 2017, at the age of 86. Beutenmiller was the father of the past NCHA President Ernest Beutenmiller Jr. (Tina), Robert Beutenmiler, Gregory (Angela) Beutenmiller, Thomas (Jennifer) Beutenmiller, Terese (Byron) Sykma, a grandfather of seven and brother of Marlis Thum.

Beutenmiller was an NCHA judge for over 30 years and was also a President of the Eastern Missouri Cutting Horse Association for many years. He was instrumental in the production and development of the All American Cutting Horse Amateur Tournament. In 2006 he was inducted into the NCHA Members Hall of Fame.

A funeral mass was held Tuesday, May 2 at 10 a.m. at the St. John The Baptist Catholic Church, 5567 Gildehaus Rd., Villa Ridge, MO 63089. In lieu of flowers memorials may be given to the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.



Lindsey Harrel was to find out her trial date last week; however, it will now be held at the Cooke County Court House in Gainesville, Texas at 1:30 Aug. 10, 2017. Her trial for theft is temporary scheduled for Aug. 14, 2017.

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