This article was originally published in Spin To Win Rodeo in 2016. Hock passed away from complications to colic surgery Sept. 14, 2017.
Colonel Triangle Gold was Chase Tryan’s second-string horse. He called the sorrel gelding “Rueben” because he purchased him from Rueben Gonzales. When Tryan decided to make some changes, he sold the horse to Travis Graves. During the California rodeo run, Graves rode him at a jackpot and didn’t get along with him very well. Kaleb Driggers then bought Rueben, and since Kollin VonAhn liked the horse and thought he could be really good, Driggers told him to take the horse and see what would happen.
But first, they changed his name—while still staying with the theme of naming him after a previous owner—to Chase Tryan’s nickname, “Hock.”
“Me and Driggers said the first day that we weren’t going to call him Reuben,” VonAhn explained. “I think he does stand the chance to win [PRCA/AQHA Heeling] Horse of the Year sometime, so we decided we’d change his name to ‘Hock’ so it’d be like giving him a new beginning.”
As it turns out, Hock became a new beginning for VonAhn this year.
“The horse fit me real well,” VonAhn continued. “Shoot, I won dang near all my money on that horse this year. It was a turnaround point for me; he was a big blessing for me.”
VohAhn rode Hock at a pro/am in Red Bluff, Calif., then took him home and just rode him for a couple weeks.
“To this day, I bet I’ve only heeled maybe 15 or 20 steers on him ever in the practice pen, but I’ve ridden him a lot just to help him figure out how to stop and how to keep his hindquarters up underneath him,” VonAhn said. “As soon as he figured that out, I’m telling you, he was awesome, awesome.”
Garden City, Kan., was the first PRCA rodeo where VonAhn rode Hock, and since then, he’s ridden him everywhere.
“He’s fast enough, but he never gets in your way, ever,” VonAhn said. “He makes it real easy by the way he goes about it and keeps his head kind of bent—and he’s not very broke; I’ve ridden him a bunch and I’d say he’s the least broke horse I have—but just the way he moves and the way he reacts to situations is never abrupt, it’s always real smooth. He always gives you a shot. A lot of horses, you have to ride them and find their sweet spot for them. And that horse, you can put him wherever you want to put him and he’s going to make it where you can catch a steer.”
Because of the way Hock goes through the corner and makes it easy to see steers while not ever wanting to get short, he made it easy for VonAhn to rope fast.
“In my opinion, he’s dang near the perfect horse for me. He just makes my job so easy, and he gives me some confidence that is hard to find in the rest of them,” VonAhn said of the 9-year-old gelding.
That perfect match placed at some of the biggest team ropings in the country: the BFI and USTRC Finals; and compiled wins at PRCA rodeos: Cheyenne, Omaha Champions Challenge, and Salt Lake City. The latter turned out to be a good story.
“Me and Driggers were joking around—and it was just a joke—and I said at Salt Lake I would win the four-wheeler that’s one of the prizes and trade it to Driggers on what I owed him for some of this horse,” VonAhn said with a laugh. Turned out, he did win the rodeo, and he gave Kaleb Driggers the four-wheeler.
Considering Driggers owns Hock, you might be wondering why he doesn’t ride him. VonAhn gave some insight: “Driggers loves him, but he’s not really heeling anymore. The other day, we were practicing for the Finals, and I wasn’t even riding Hock, I just had him tied up to the fence. He [Driggers] ran two and said ‘Man, if it’s that easy, I’ll want to go back to heeling’ and got off.”
Other heelers such as Kory Koontz have ridden Hock at rodeos this year, and agreed with VonAhn that he’s just easy.
"It’s just so nice knowing that you can have one in your barn that you feel like in any situation, that’s your go-to horse,” VonAhn said.
Even when it comes to maintenance, Hock is easy. VonAhn said the horse is so tough, he rarely needs much. However, VonAhn did say that Hock’s back will get sore, so he customized a saddle pad for him and he’s having a Coats saddle made specifically for him.
“I try to do stuff for him just to make it easier for him,” VonAhn said. “He makes my life so easy, it’s hard for me to imagine not being as nice to him as I can.”
VonAhn admitted, however, that Hock can be a little on the ornery side.
“If you tie him up by other horses, he’ll sit there and bite at them,” VonAhn said. “He’s laid back to be around, but when you first start to warm him up, he’ll act like he wants to breeze out and take off. If you’ll sit there and let him act stupid for a minute, then he slows back down and lopes and acts good.”
Hock by Kollin Vonahn
Feed: Kool Speed feed “It’s supposed to be good for ulcers, but he’ll eat anything,” VonAhn said.
Supplements: Previcox during the summer
Bit: Blessing with chain port or Gordy Alderson “You can literally ride any bridle on him,” VonAhn said.
Saddle Pad: Casa Zia Navajo with customized felt pad on top
Leg Gear: Classic boots all the way around
Other: Back on Track shipping boots and Soft Rides as needed. And keeping him shod on time because he has flat feet.