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Working Ranch - November/December 2017

bloodlines “She worked our second cow till it warning. “People said with some of the Hickorys, the safest place to be around them was on top of them,” said Wes. As a yearling, it seemed like Miss Silver Pistol could be one of them. While Wes fi nished high school, Miss Silver Pistol was turned out with her peers. Then they both left Pleasanton and the ranch for their higher educations: Wes to College Station and Texas A&M University, the grey fi lly to El Campo, to Joe Blaylock’s barn. Wes described Blaylock as an ‘old-school cutting horse trainer’ the family had relied on for years. “Joe was very driven, an excellent horse trainer, and he had his horses really broke,” recalled Wes. “I rode fi ve or six behind him, and you never had to worry about them.” San Jose Cattle Company kept the Shahan family plenty busy. Besides the cattle and horse breeding programs, they had sales to prep for, and an infl ux of visitors year-round. When time allowed, Wes entered some just stopped and looked at us, and then she danced and danced, and for a second she dropped to one knee – it was just awesome.” cuttings on another, older horse that summer and earned his fi rst money in the NCHA Non-Pro Division, but then it was back to school. Meanwhile, Blaylock was in charge of fi guring out Miss Silver Pistol. Wes only rode her once, at a pre-work in Kingsville, before the 1985 NCHA Futurity. A universal ritual of cutting is everyone loping a circle in the same direction in the warm-up area, almost like a carousel that never seems to start or stop. But Wes hadn’t loped the fi lly long when Blaylock motioned to him. “Quit loping,” he said. “Just walk or trot her. We want her relaxed, not tired.” It was unusual advice, especially for a young horse with a big motor. But Wes trotted and trotted and trotted the fi lly ‘till their turn, worked a few cows, assumed they’d get along, and headed back to Texas A&M. “Some of the older guys there told me she was really special, but I was pretty naive,” said Wes. “I didn’t think we were necessarily contenders, but I knew no matter how good she was, it was hard to get one shown all the way through to the fi nals.” Scoring was more conservative in 1985, but then, as now, the mark wasn’t as important as how it compared to your peers. In the fi rst round, when all the horses were unknowns, and so was 19-year-old Wes, they advanced with a 214.5. From the second round through the fi nals, only three runs marked 216 or higher. Wes and Miss Silver Pistol made all three runs. Their Championship run is online, but Wes’s fondest memory came in the second round, which they won by several points. “She worked our second cow till it just stopped and looked at us, and then she danced and danced, and for a second she dropped to one knee – it was just awesome. I had to go back to school, but they told me the next week, while the Open was going on, so many people kept coming by the video booth at the exhibit hall asking to see the replay that they nearly wore the tape out.” (EDITOR: Seriously, folks, punch her name in on You Tube, what she does with that second cow is nothing less than spectacular!) Miss Silver Pistol and Wes won $77,000+ while he was in Fort Worth, which was probably more than any of his professors’ 1985 salaries. More importantly to Wes and his dad – and so many others who’ve entered the Futurity – they won one of the slipperiest titles in equestrian sports, and on a homebred fi lly. Miss Silver Pistol was a Christmas gift that kept on giving. 110 I WORKING RANCH I NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017


Working Ranch - November/December 2017
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