☛ Neidhart Cutting Horses’ innovative breeding program 3-11-15
THE FOUNDATION OF NEIDHART’S BREEDING PROGRAM IS BUILT ON LEGENDARY BLOODLINES
NEW FACILITY IN WEATHERFORD IS JAW DROPPING
By Glory Ann Kurtz
March 11, 2015
Jeff and Griselda Neidhart with Zara and Alan, two of their four children.
Photo by Kurtz
Look out cutters – there’s a new kid in town.
Jeff Neidhart, who lives in Farmington, N.M., is a highly successful individual in several diversified fields. They include practicing oncology and hermatology at his clinic in Farmington, New Mexico, being a sixth-degree black belt in Ji Do Dwan Tae Kwon Do, as well as the founder and master instructor at his own non profit Traditional Tae Kwon Do Institute. He also owns the first commercial Pinon Pine Nut Farm in the United States, with over 5,000 pinon trees and also founded the Farmington Botanic Gardens that connect the River Beach Foundation River Walk to the city of Farmington Park and Recreation lands.
The Neidhart Cutting Horses temporary sign at their new facility in Weatherford, Texas.
Photo by Kurtz
However, today, even though he is a physician, he has contracted the cutting disease and as a result owns some of the best broodmares in the industry that are being bred to the industry’s top stallions. He also has moved to the second state of this disease: renaming his cutting horse program “Neidhart Cutting Horses” and building a horse facility outside of Weatherford that is an innovative state-of-the art and jaw-dropping sight.
In the beginning …
Jeff’s father, Jim, and his brother David, grew up in Newton Falls, Ohio. Their farm was full of walnut trees and he and his brother farmed, rode horses, fished and hunted game birds on the family farm. David was an orthopedic surgeon and started a practice in Mankato, Minn. Jim and Jeff are both hermatologist/oncologists, with his father committing his professional career toward academic cancer patient care and research; first at The Ohio State University then MD Anderson/Comprehensive Center, followed by the University of New Mexico.
“I used to ride every weekend 20 years ago,” said Jeff. “Later, my father wanted top horses and got into reining but it just didn’t work and he got out.”
In 2002, Jeff’s father recruited him to help continue his patient care and research at the San Juan Oncology Associates PC in Farmington. Jeff followed much the same path as his father with medical training in internal medicine and hermatology/oncology at the University of New Mexico, Ohio State University and the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
While he was attending the University of New Mexico, Jeff started looking at horses and was impressed with Peppy San Badger. He started researching pedigrees and bought a Paint mare. His father even drove to Texas to breed their horses to Gay Bar Olena, a Paint stallion owned by Floyd and Mary Ann Moore of the 6J Paint Horses in Huntsville, Texas. His pedigree was regal, being sired by Doc O’Lena out of Delta, a Paint mare that was an NCHA Open Super Stakes finalist, a member of the NCHA Hall of Fame and the producer of earners of over $320,000. The ranch’s program was founded on great Quarter Horses, including Doc O’Lena, Peppy San Badger and their offspring.
Jeff and his wife Griselda, who is from the Dominican Republic and holds a medical degree in the specialty of Family Practice and Nutrition and is also a professional photographer, are the parents of four children: Haley, Madison, Zara and Alan. When the Neidharts are not working or enjoying cutting horses, you will find them admiring art or collecting antiques. Both are avid skiers and spend as much time as possible skiing and hiking the mountains of Colorado.
With the seed of cutting horses and their genetics planted in Jeff’s mind, he began his journey into the cutting horse business in 2011 with a few nice horses and soon became infatuated with cutting horses, their intelligence, beauty, physical ability and, most of all, their genetics.
Royal Blue Boon
In 2012, the couple expanded Neidhart’s dream by purchasing their foundation broodmare band from Elaine Hall, who owned NCHA Futurity Champion and leading sire Peptoboonsmal (Peppy San Badger x Royal Blue Boon) and his famous dam, Royal Blue Boon (Boon Bar x Royal Tincie x Royal King x King).
“I spoke with Elaine Hall and decided I really liked Patches Of Blue (Smart Little Lena x Royal Blue Boon) and her pedigree that goes back to the legendary Smart Little Lena and Royal King on the bottom. She said she would think about it and she wanted me to think about it and to call her later. She told me that I didn’t want that mare because she was old (born in 1994) and had Cushings disease. But I really liked the pedigree of that mare so Elaine put together a package deal for me where I could get My Sweet Sheree (a 1996 gray mare by Freckles Playboy x Docalady by Doc Bar), along with Patches of Blue and some others.”
Two of Jeff’s other purchases were a yearling mare named Bet This Girls A Cat (High Brow Cat x Bet Yer Boons x Peptoboonsmal) and the yearling mare One Catty Cupid (One Time Pepto x ARC Catty Dual), an NCHA Futurity Unlimited Amateur Champion and Augusta 4-year-old Futurity Open Reserve Champion that had been trained by Phil Rapp. Catty Cupid was sold in 2013 and Bet This Girls A Cat in 2014.
Even though he had never ridden a cutting horse, he became enamored with their pedigrees. (Since then Jeff has been to two of Phil Rapp’s cutting clinics and is planning on returning this June).
A scientific look at breeding cutting horses:
“I studied how people were breeding and realized that studying breeding and breeding crosses was serious business,” said Jeff, who by his own admission is “a scientist,” studying the Rasmussen Factor, Hybrid Vigor, Nicks, Genotypes, Phenotypes in horses.
Two foals on the Neidhart Cutting Horse ranch from an ad advertising “Our Foundation is built on Legendary Bloodlines.
The Rasmussen Factor (RF) is a term used, mostly in Thoroughbred circles, to describe inbreeding to superior female families through different individuals. The inbreeding must occur through the sire and the dam (i.e. be on both sides of the pedigree) and the duplication of the inbred female must be within five generations. Thus, inbreeding to full or half siblings with four generations would qualify, while inbreeding to the same son, would not. As an example, the highly successful sire Hydrive Cat (High Brow Cat x Ruby Tuesday DNA x Peppy San Badger) bred to Sweet Lil ruby (High Brow CD x Playboys Ruby) is an example of the Rasmussen Factor, with a 3×2 RF to Playboys Ruby. Once In A Blu Boon is another example of the Rasmussen Factor.
Click for Rasmussen Factor information>>
Hybrid Vigor, heterosis or outbreed enhancement is the improved or increased function of any biological quality in a hybrid offspring. An offspring exhibits heterosis if its traits are enhanced as a result of mixing the genetic contributions of its parents.
Click for information on Hybrid Vigor>>
The genotype-phenotype distinction is drawn in genetics. Genotype is an organism’s full hereditary information. “Phenotype” is an organism’s actual observed properties, such as morphology, development of behavior. This distinction is fundamental in the study of inheritance of traits and their evolution.
Click for Genotype-phenotype distinction>>
Nicking is the theory of copying the mating of a successful horse to produce another successful horse. Nicking theorists believe there is a benefit to the crossing of certain horses or sire lines and successful crosses can be repeated.
Jeff has discovered the usefulness, through the advice of Shane Plummer, owner of SDP Buffalo Ranch, and extensively uses www.equineline.com, an Internet program popular in the Thoroughbred industry but now including AQHA horses. It involves pedigrees, race records, mare produce records, sire progeny reports, nicking reports and much more for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses.
A “foundation” breeding program built on “legendary” bloodlines:
When he purchased Bet Yer Boons (Peptoboonsmal x Bet Yer Blue Boons), she was staying in Canyon, Texas, with Gregg Veneklasen, one of the leading veterinarians in the reproduction and cloning fields. He and Gregg have become good friends. It was during this time when he was introduced to cloning.
Jeff uses cloning to bring some of the industry’s greatest horses into his breeding program, which Jeff does in a very scientific way. In fact, today, he owns five clones of some of the industry’s greatest broodmares.
Royal Blue Boon Two and Royal Blue Boon Too, two yearling clones of Royal Blue Boon
Pedigrees and his breeding program are on Jeff’s mind today, with genetics being at the top of his list. He returned to Elaine Hall’s ranch and purchased Royal Blue Boon Two, a clone of Royal Blue Boon, the No. 1 cutting producing mare of all time with offspring earning close to $2.5 million. Some of her outstanding offspring include Peptoboonsmal, one of today’s leading cutting horse sires; Red White and Boon, an NCHA World Champion and her leading money-earning offspring, as well as Autumn Boon, Mecom Blue, Bet Yer Blue Boons, Peek A Boon, Duals Blue Boon and Peppys From Heaven. He also bought the recipient mare carrying Royal Blue Boon Two’s first foal, a Dual Smart Rey bay named Boon Smart Rey.
He also purchased recipient mares carrying clones of Peppys From Heaven (Peppy San Badger x Royal Blue Boon), a full sister to Peptoboonsmal with lifetime earnings of approximately $170,000 and Docalady ( Doc Bar x Patches of Blue x Smart Little Lena). Those clones are weanlings.
With his new purchases of these recipient mares carrying top-bred clones, he would soon become the owner of some of the best-bred horses in the cutting horse industry. Even though they could not become AQHA registered at the time, this did not deter Neidhart. He was intent on raising some of the best-bred performance horses in the industry by combining the genetics of the greatest cutting horses of the past with those of the current generations.
A cutting horse operation in Weatherford:
Seeing the need to be in the mainstream of the industry, the Neidharts bought 160 acres on Ballard Road, outside of the industry’s cutting horse capitol -Weatherford, Texas, that had been neglected and overgrown for at least eight years.
Vern Martin, Neidhart’s foreman from Farmington, and his wife Charlie, moved to Texas to set up the new ranch that only had a couple of small houses with very few upgrades on it. However, due to Neidhart’s desire for the best-of-the-best, today the ranch has become a bustling construction site that, when finished, could be the state-of-the-art cutting horse facility within the entire cutting horse industry.
Neidhart’s 264 x 228 show barn complete with breeding facilities, place for breding stallions, small arena, walker, breaking pen and seating to show horses to prospective buyers.
Photo by Kurtz
With a passion for excellence, Neidhart is building that looks like a huge arena. However, it is a huge show barn, 264 feet x 228 feet, including complete breeding facilities and a place for breeding stallions, a small arena, walker, breaking pen and even seating for showing horses to prospective buyers, along with several apartments ands other amenities. Close by is a separate and beautiful 250 feet x 150 feet indoor arena, along with a 40-stall foaling barn.
Neidhart had timed it right, as he was also lucky enough to hire Kathleen Braden as his Manager/Cutting Horses. Braden had run Don Horton’s Strawn Valley breeding and training facility until his highly successful 2012 dispersal sale. It was at that sale that Neidhart met Kathleen when he was the high buyer of the dispersal, paying $120,000 for a 2-year-old red roan colt, Smart N Metallic, sired by one of the industry’s hottest young stallions, Metallic Cat, out of The Smart Look, the No. 1 leading, living producer of NCHA money earners.
The purchase of the young stallion instantly catapulted Neidhart into the cutting horse show industry when he sent the 2-year-old to leading trainer Phil Rapp.
Today, Braden takes care of some of the best-bred broodmares in the industry, several with babies at their side, all sired by the industry’s most popular stallions and grazing in a beautiful green pasture. Another pasture includes well-bred, beautiful yearlings and yet another that holds recipient mares. He has several 2-year-olds at leading trainers’ facilities, including Rapp and Beau Galyean.
A yearling filly by Peptoboonsmal out of Ruby Red Cat, an earner of $37,857, and a High Brow Cat daughter out of the great mare Playboys Ruby. (shown with carrier mare)
She also oversees the broodmares who are currently having babies, and include Patches Of Blue (Smart Little Lena x Royal Blue Boon), a full sister to Red White And Boon, cutting’s all-time leading money-earning horse with $922,063 in earnings. Her produce have earned $122,000 in NCHA and NRCHA; Bet Yer Boons (Peptoboonsmal x Bet Yer Blue Boons) “Bonnie” winning over $73,000 as a finalist in both the NCHA Futurity and Super Stakes and with offspring earning over $241,000; Ruby Red Cat (High Brow Cat x Playboys Ruby x Freckles Playboy) with aged-event earnings of $37,857,making finals 23 times, dam of five performers and offspring earning $74,281 to date. (Playboys Ruby is NCHA’s #2 all-time leading producer, whose foals have won $1.7 million) and My Sweet Sheree (Freckles Playboy x Docalady), a full sister to the great mare Some Kinda Playgirl, listed by Equi-Stat as a top broodmare with lifetime earnings of $600,129. Sheree’s offspring have earnings of $27,138.
The Neidhart’s latest acquisition is June Bug Dually (Dual Pep x Junes Little Money x Smart Little Lena) with lifetime earnings of $224,733, third in 2007 NCHA Open Futurity with a 222, and a 2008 NCHA Super Stakes and Breeders Invitational finalist; semifinalist in the NCHA Open Derby, trained by Paul Hansma. She was also the 2010 Waco Futurity/Classic Non-Pro Champion. Jeff is planning on breeding her to Boon A Little, 1999 blue roan son of Smart Little Lena out of Autumn Boon, owned by Jill Freeman’s Charlotte Farms.
“That cross will produce female family inbreeding (Rasmussen Factor) to Peppy Belle by the way of Mr San Peppy and Peppy San, and Teresa Tivio, by way of Doc’s Remedy and Boon Bar, five generations back,” says Neidhart, who has four breedings to the young stallion. “I think they will be amazing horses.”
He also purchased Boon Quixote, a 1997 daughter of Boon Bar out of Chicks Magic Quixote by Doc Quixote; ARC Special Lena, Jae Bars Miss Quixote, and Sweet Little Ruby, a 4-year old mare by High Brow CD out of Playboys Ruby by Freckles Playboys)
The broodmares have several foals on the ground and are being rebred to some of the hottest sires in the industry, including: High Brow Cat, the all-time leading sire of cutting horses with offspring earning over $60,400,000; Peptoboonsmal, NCHA No. 4 leading sire and NRCHA #2, with offspring earning over $23.7 million; Dual Rey, with offspring winning close to $28 million; Metallic Cat, NCHA Futurity Champion, Horse of the Year Hall of Fame inductee and NCHA #7 with only two crops showing, siring earners of $1.6 million; Freckles Playboy, a deceased stallion with frozen semen that is still the NCHA #4 all-time leading sire with earners of $28.6 million and also a leading maternal grandsire of NCHA and NRCHA earners of $44 million; Smart Little Lena, also a deceased stallion with frozen semen that was the industry’s leading sire and maternal grandsire with offspring earning over $1.8 million and maternal grandbabies earning over $61.9 million; Smooth As A Cat, NCHA Horse of the Year, 2014 #5 leading sire with offspring earning $13.3 million; Dual Smart Rey, a 2014 top 15 leading sire, with offspring earning $1.8 million, that is out of The Smart Look, NCHA #3 all-time-leading producer; Cat Ichi, NCHA top 12 leading sire with offspring earning over $3.1 million and several others.
He is also breeding a lot to Dual Pep and plans to do the same with Freckles Playboy, using frozen semen.
The Neidhart 250 x 150 indoor arena where horses will soon be working.
Photo by Kurtz
This year he will also be breeding to One Time Pepto, NCHA Futurity Champion and in top 10 of all-time leading cutting sires and the leader of reined cow horse sires, with offspring earning over $23 million and sire of producers of $45.7 million; WR This Cats Smart, a 2014 NCHA and NRCHA leading sire with foals earning $5.8 million, CD Royal, a 1997 son Of CD Olena out of Boons Royal by BoonBar, with offspring earnings of close to $2.9 million, and Boon A Little, a 1999 blue roan stallion with$122,245 in lifetime earnings, sired by Smart Little Lena out of Autumn Boon by Dual Pep.
“I know what the pedigrees of my mares are but in doing the research on the popular stallions, I’m learning how many great stallions there are out there,” said Jeff. “I look at Magic Crosses but also which stallions are best for my particular mare based on the pedigrees.”
Bet Yer Metallic, 2013 filly by Metallic Cat out of Bet Yer Boons by Peptoboonsmal, in training with Beau Galyean.
The Niedharts also have four 2-year-olds in training for next year’s aged events, including: a filly sired by Bet Yer Metallic (Metallic Cat x Bet Yer Boons x Peptoboonsmal), in training with Beau Galyean; High Rey Of Freckles, a filly by Dual Rey x Ruby Red Cat x High Brow Cat, in training with Tarin Rice; Boons Smart Rey, a filly by Dual Smart Rey x Royal Blue Boon Two x Boon Bar, in training with Galyean and Twice The Boon DR, a blue roan filly by Autumnator x Boon Quixote x Boon Bar, in training with Phil Rapp.
There are also eight weanlings that would make a cutter’s mouth water, including a stud colt by Peptoboonsmal x Autumn Boon x Dual Pep; a roan filly by High Brow Cat x Autumn Boon x Dual Pep; a blue roan filly by Metallic Cat x Royal Blue Boon Two x Boon Bar; a red roan colt by Metallic Cat x Bet Yer Boons x Peptoboonsmal; a sorrel filly by Peptoboonsmal x Rubys Red Cat x High Brow Cat; a black filly by Black Cat Olena x Boon Quixote x Boon Bar; a red roan filly (a clone of Peppys From Heaven sired by Peppy San Badger out of Royal Blue Boon by Boon Bar; a grey filly (a clone of Docalady sired by Doc Bar out of Miss Bar 69 by Hollywood Gold) and a black filly by Smart Little Lena x Royal Blue Boon x Boon Bar.
A weanling clone of Peppys From Heaven, sired by Pepy San Badger out of royal Blue Boon by Boon Bar.
According to Braden, the weanling sired by Black Cat Olena (High Brow Cat x Little Chexy Lena) out of Boon Quixote x Boon Bar is her favorite.
“Black Cat Olena is the coolest moving young prospect that we have ever owned. His natural draw and his ability to move through himself is outstanding. He is very well balanced and has a ton of cow. He lost an eye during training that ended his career; however, he is bred to be a sire. His dam, Little Chexy Lena x Smart Little Lena earned over $40,000 and has a Top 10 Non-Pro NCHA Futurity finalist. She is also a multiple producer.”
“Everyone tells me that I need to breed horses to sell,” said Jeff; “however, I have made a commitment to not only breed horses, but have them trained as 2-year-olds and giving them the tools to have successful careers. I am breeding horses to create a successful cutting horse. Although my wife sometimes gets impatient with me, we agreed we would be in this for eight years and we’re already 2 ½ years into that.”
As Jeff learns more and more about scientific breeding, he has changed his plans about which stallions to breed his mares to this year, changing gears on about 20-30% of his previous choices following his study of genetics.
The Neidharts’ Mare barn
Photo by Kurtz
“On this year’s breeding, we won’t know for three or four years if we were right on some of these breedings and pedigrees, but it needs to be done,” said Jeff, who is not only breeding for top cutting horses but also ranch horses and reined cow horses. “I don’t know if I will be right but time will tell.”
Asked how he makes his decisions on which mares to breed to which stallions, Jeff said he first prints off of Equineline.com, which is a Jockey Club program that now has incorporated Quarter Horses.
“I put in a sire and a dam and the program calculates what the hypothetical foal is. I will look at the pedigrees to tell me how much Doc Bar, Mr Peppy San, Peppy Belle, Teresa Tivio, etc. there is. Then I’ll basically look at their numbers and circle where the Delta and Formula One breeding patterns and the Rasmussen Factors are present. I also research older and current successful cutting horses to see what their pedigree and patterns of breeding are.”
“I try to find Formula One and Delta breeding styles and Hybrid Vigor. Hybrid Vigor is the breeding of a sire and a dam who both have Rasmussen Factor (RF0 but to two separate families. It brings two very strong families together, which I will do with Playboys Ruby and Royal Blue Boon.
“One of those plans includes breeding Hydrive Cat to Sweet Lil Ruby to have the RF to Playboys Ruby, give those horses the best trainers to succeed and then once I’ve done that with the Royal Blue Boon family, I’ll bring those families together in a Hybrid Vigor. I will build the pedigrees independently and then I will bring them together
“They are usually 2 x 3 generational crosses or 2 x 4 crosses. I am trying to do 2 x 3 crosses for each family of Playboys Ruby and Royal Blue Boon and then bring them together, but the problem is I can’t bring them together for another five or six years. I am currently looking into other horses to do this with.”
“I think the babies I’m going to have this year will be awesome and then I’ll try to bring them together for the next generation,” says Jeff.
Click for Formula One Breed Pattern explanation>>
Click for Speedhorse Delta Pattern article>>
Also, as time goes by, Jeff is also anxious to see what other new breeding techniques will be discovered.
“Soon we might be able to choose and perfect getting certain colors and sexes, learn more about mitochondrial DNA and its effects, and see more changes, discoveries and inventions in the science of breeding. Currently there are ads in the horse magazines to choose the sex of your foal.”
However Jeff really doesn’t care about an offspring’s sex or color. “Personally I just want to breed successful performance horses,” he said.
It was Braden’s idea to change the name of the cutting horse operation from Confluence Farms to Neidhart Cutting Horses and give the operation its new brand: a heart with a capital “N” within it.
The new Neidhart Cutting Horses logo.
“The cutters just didn’t understand what Confluence Farms was all about and rather than having to explain about Neidhart’s other operations in New Mexico, she suggested just changing the name to something simple that they could remember and change the old web site to a new one that she designed, with the colors Griselda loves: blue and white.”
And once you’ve visited Neidhart’s cutting horse facility in Weatherford and seen firsthand the extent of the genetics and work that has gone into his cutting horse breeding program, you will realize that Neidhart Cutting Horses is a factor to be reckoned with in the performance horse industry.
Click for Neidhart Cutting Horses web site>>