Dear Roper,

A few months ago, I was picking Cesar de la Cruz’s brain about some great horsemen he’s worked with. He brought up two greats he’s watched—Dakota Kirchenschlager and Colter Todd—who started with wild, barely halter-broke colts and took them, over the course of many years, to the bright lights of Las Vegas for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Joseph Harrison graces the cover of the December 2020 issue of The Team Roping Journal Magazine

Joseph Harrison graces the cover of the December 2020 issue of The Team Roping Journal Magazine

If you read this column with any regularity, you know that great horses and their stories are my entry point to this sport. I ran it by contributing editor Julie Mankin to see if she was up for the task of tracking down a few more guys who rode horses at the Finals that they’d put the first rides on, and Julie—like me—was hooked on the story.

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The result of Julie’s efforts and Cesar’s idea starts on page 82. I’m thrilled with how deep Julie was able to dig to find a few more colts that ended up being NFR horses, and I’m guessing you’ll love their stories, too.

On that same subject, Trevor Brazile’s column (page 58) is about a horse he and his wife, Shada, raised. He won third with the FirewaterOntheRocks gelding at the American Rope Horse Futurity Association’s World Championships (behind Dakota, coincidentally), and he candidly discusses the weakness in his own horsemanship that made this colt’s training process a challenge. I admire honest horsemen like Trevor, who leave pretense at the door and speak to ropers candidly about their struggles in the interest of bettering the sport for the development of the horse.

Kirchenschlager Stuns Field on 4-Year-Old X My Ich for ARHFA Heading World Title 

And speaking of bettering the sport for the development of the horse—books are now open for our Breeder’s Guide, which will run in the March issue of The Team Roping Journal. We spend months writing about the best stallions in the breeding business and the best horse programs going. If you’d like to be included this year, call Nick Griggs at 806-622-2225 or email him at ngriggs@aimmedia.com to reserve your space.

Chelsea

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