This issue is one of the most challenging to produce, simply because we work with so many different people to make it possible. Our second annual Breeder’s Guide starts on page 71, and it’s filled with more horses than ever before. To write each story about each horse, I spend lots of time on the phone with people who are deeply passionate about their great horses. I too am deeply passionate about great horses, so I tend to spend more time on this section than almost anything else I do all year.

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John and Kay Coltharp never fail to bring a smile to my face as they tell me about Answer—Bet Hesa Freckled Cat—on whom John heels at the Ariat World Series of Team Roping and USTRC qualifiers, and whom Lane Ivy showed in the World’s Greatest Horseman. This year, John and Kay also added their other stud, Playen Spades, to the mix. “Gunner,” as they call him, can go from being a top-tier horse for Tate Kirchenschlager to taking care of Kay in the lower-numbered ropings within just a few minutes. But to hear Kay and John talk about their horses—truly members of their family with more divine connections than I’ve got room for here—that’s truly a privilege of this work, and I’m honored they shared their connections with me.

Speaking of connections, G.R. Schiavino spent her month talking to the brave ropers who battled last summer’s wildfires across the American West (page 64). What she likely won’t tell you is that she too jumped in to battle the effects of the fires, collecting supplies for horse owners and ranchers here in Colorado where this magazine is based and spending time helping at the fairgrounds in Loveland, where so many took refuge with their four-legged counterparts, when the fires engulfed their mountain towns.

If the spring blizzards have you holed up in front of the fire, take some time to read these pages then send me a note to cshaffer@aimmedia.com with your thoughts. We love nothing more than hearing from you—good or bad—and it would help the last bit of winter pass a bit better.

See you down the road,

Chelsea 

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