Page 84

Working Ranch - March 2018

When Les Vogt, here with Fritz Watkins on the left wearing glasses, bought King Fritz in 1970 he had to shell out $50,000… plus an addition $20,000 for a small band of mares. PERFORMANCE HORSE JOURNAL bloodlines Top 6 Tips – Attending a Ranch Horse Sale Are you properly prepared to head down the road to buy that amazing ranch or performance horse you always dreamed of? In order to gather up some solid suggestions I called up one of our equine advertisers, Rick and Missy Weber, Weber Quarter Horses, LLC, out of Valentine, NE. Here’s their Top 6 Tips: 1. You need to know what you’re looking for… the level of training and caliber of horse you’re after. 2. Do your homework. Find a reputable seller that offers the best horses on the market and will stand behind your purchase (thankfully there are plenty to choose from in the pages of Working Ranch, like the Webers). 3. Don’t buy out of your means (people sometimes get caught up in the moment and bust out of their budget). 4. Call the seller beforehand and ask a lot of questions to ensure you are comfortable at the sale. 5. Often there is a three-day window to take the horse home and ride it a bit, get to know it, maybe have a veterinarian inspection on your own turf (quality horses will most likely have a veterinarian inspection prior to sale, anyway). 6. Make sure you buy what you really, really want. By Tim O’Byrne 1967, I was the only outside breeder,” he said. The resulting foal, Bob Chex, who was named after Don’s son, helped put the younger Avila on the road to fame. Among other things, they won the AQHA high-point working cow horse title. During 12 years with Watkins, King Fritz sired 69 registered foals, and the majority of the time they were from Watkins’ mares. Compare that to the three years Vogt stood him, when he sired 249. Even if we don’t understand why Watkins’ “strange-looking” mares crossed well on King Fritz, apparently it wasn’t a fl uke. So why wasn’t the man heralded as a genius? I broadened my internet search for Fritz Watkins of Wasco without the word horse, and found a possible clue. Fritz wasn’t a typical Quarter Horse breeder. Cowboys, as well as people on the horse show circuit, tended to discriminate against his kind. Offhand, the era’s only other success story coming to mind is Jack Byers of Oklahoma. Despite winning 1972 All-American Futurity neither he nor his homebred fi lly Possumjet got much respect. She was sent off at the longest odds ever for that race, 44:1. What I’m implying is, perhaps horsemen didn’t haul their mares to Wasco, Oregon, because they were prejudiced against farmers. The $2,000 Watkins traded for the three baby colts was gleaned from the 1956 wheat harvest. “Our people” have a historic lack of respect for his people. Consider these common insults: He rides like a farmer. What farmer did you get that horse from? Where’d you get the farmer hat? To be fair, Wasco was pretty far from the heart of horse country, so location was a factor, too. But the truth is, even though he’d rather ride a tractor than a horse, Fritz Watkins had good instincts about breeding stock horses. Apparently he was a very good farmer, too, and innovative for his time. What’s more, the family farm he took his turn at managing, which was homesteaded in 1881, is still thriving. Fritz’s 23-yearold great-grandson is primed to carry it forward. Did the farmer know more about horse breeding than the cowboys? Or was there just magic in those three baby colts, like Jack’s three magic beans. 84 I WORKING RANCH I MARCH 2018


Working Ranch - March 2018
To see the actual publication please follow the link above