A Cowboy’s Faith: Changes in horse business – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Changes in horse business

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Raising horses for profit is a complex business endeavor.”

For a grocery store carryout boy, there were many opportunities, foremost the vast friendships. Knowing everybody in town came from twice daily free home delivery of groceries.

Youth life couldn’t have been better except there was always the desire to be a cowboy with a horse. After continued pleading, parents finally purchased a brown and white spotted mare for an 11-year-old wannabe.

Young cowboy sits astride Buchman’s Queen.

There was never a happier day in his life, but it was unimaginable what that horse developed into.

Spot was mated to the buckskin stallion Peppy Creek, and foaled a filly called Missy Creek. That was the meager beginning of a horse breeding operation extending more than six decades.

Some years only one foal was raised but the operation grew to more than 30 producing mares. Spot was an unregistered mare who had three full sibling foals including Buchman’s Queen.

By paying hardship fees, Queen was registered as a Pinto who has fifth generation granddaughters now in production. Quarter Horses are the most demanded mounts for Flint Hills cowboys, so today’s broodmare band is mostly registered Quarter Horses.

Interestingly all the ranches’ horses Pintos and Quarter Horses still relate back to Peppy Creek. However, a half dozen different stallions with prominent ranch horse performance pedigrees have been used for mating mares.

Mares have always been managed like the ranch cow-calf operation. They run in pastures with a stallion, different than some breeders who manually mate stallions to mares.

As the business grew, an annual production sale was conducted to merchandize the foals. It was a major task registering the foals, breaking them to lead, and preparing a catalog for the on-ranch auction.

Well behind certain big name horse breeders’ sale averages, the foals were in strong demand from buyers throughout the Midwest. Horse income helped pay major ranch debts.

When the economy changed, foal prices declined below previous times. What was a romance raising and selling foals became hard work with little financial reward.

There had been 25 public horse auctions when it was decided to discontinue the annual sale. The horse business continues at a smaller scale with six mares raising foals sold at private treaty.

Reminded of James 1:17: “Every gift is from above so there is no shadow due to change.”

Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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