Skip to main content

In Episode 3 in our series on the horse market, we talk to our round-table of experts on the trends and challenges facing the breakaway horse market. 

In this final part of our horse market series, host Chelsea Shaffer talks to Trevor Brazile, Lari Dee Guy, J.D. Yates and Jann Parker about the breakaway horse business and where it’s heading at a time when organizations like the WCRA have added almost a million dollars of new money over two years to the sport AND when the WPRA and PRCA are making big moves to add the event to their biggest rodeos. 

This episode is brought to you by Soft-Ride Equine Comfort Boots

[Soft Music]

Chelsea Shaffer: This is Chelsea Shaffer, and this is season four of "The Score". You all have listened to this podcast, three quarters of a million times, and we are here in season four to bring you even more of what you love.

Hey everyone. Thank you all so much for listening to this episode of "The Score". Whether you're new to "The Score", or you've been listening since our very first episode with Aaron Tsinigine, back in 2018, remember to help others find this podcast and to show us some love, I'd love it if you could stop by the Apple podcast store and leave us a review. You pick how many stars do you think we deserve. And you can even leave us a note about what you like love or could do without. Thanks.

[Commercial] Today's episode is brought to you by Soft-Ride Equine Comfort Boots. Learn more at the middle of the episode, but they've gotten new products out and the Soft-Ride Ice Spas, we've been promoting those for a few years now, they're awesome for soaking in ice or soaking in Epsom salts with some heat to soak out an abscess, and then the SoftRider shoes, they're brand new shoe. They placed the load of the, the horse's body weight on the center of the hoof, rather than the outside wall, you can use them on performance horses. You can use them on rope horses, breakaway horses, barrel horses. They are awesome. So check them out. And I'll tell you more about it at the middle of the episode.

Hey everyone. Welcome to episode three in our series on the horse market. If you follow it along to parts one and two, we talked to some of the horse industry's leading experts about the status of the team roping horse market. In each of those interviews, though, I asked them about their thoughts on the breakaway horse market too. And I saved those answers for this special edition of "The Score".

In the final part of our horse market series. We talked to Trevor Brazile, Lari Dee Guy, J.D. Yates and Jann Parker about the breakaway horse business and where it's heading at a time when organizations like the WCRA have added almost a million dollars of new money over two years to the sport. And when the WPRA and PRCA are making big moves to add the event to their biggest rodeos.

Now, if you miss the first parts of this series, you want to go back and listen for context and better understanding of each of these professionals perspectives. So we pick up on episode three with Trevor Brazile and his insights into the breakaway market.

And now as far as like breakaway horses, have you sold any breakaway horses lately?

Trevor Brazile: The breakaway market is, is really, really odd. It's like, have you ever tried buy, uh, the perfect older gentleman's World Series horse that he loves? I mean, it's, it's, it's a non topic, if you just know he's not having it. And [00:03:00] I feel like that's the case in a lot of these breakaway horses and they should be because these ones win, a ridiculous amount of money, especially when you look at two years ago, what they were, uh, I really think the uncertainty about how good can it get, because it's, it's, uh, they're not for sale, but that also, what's a weird spin on the, because they really don't know what horses are worth, because if someone has a, like a legit great horse and they're doing, you know, living their dream on that horse.

Uh, I'd have to see some great ones actually sell before I could even get a real touch of what those, the great horses in that industry are worth.

Chelsea Shaffer: Yeah. Yeah, you're right about that. And it seems like every one of those girls that I talked to when we did their stories about their horses for the National Finals of Breakaway Roping, like every one of those girls, it was a horse that they'd had for 10 years.

And it was, it was a non-starter as far as them leaving. It's not like it hasn't evolved to barrel horses where people are always pet, you know, like if you want to go make the NFR, you got to spend $200,000, $300,000 on one. It's not there yet because it's yeah, you're right. The industry just hasn't caught up

Trevor Brazile: The difference in the breakaway is you take the barrel, the futurities, or if you're rodeoing. I mean, like, you know, that's afforded to you, whatever that stage is that you're into, whether it'd be the young horse with journeys or, you know, rodeo four-d's or so.

I mean, like everybody knows, but like that's, what's so crazy about the breakaway, they may add. another $200,000 worth of opportunity every year and until like who knows when. And so, yeah, the girls just don't want to sell themselves short either. So it's, it's, it's, uh, it's definitely a different market for sure.

Chelsea Shaffer: Are you going to have any breakaway horses? Is that going to be a part of your program?

Trevor Brazile: Well, especially the horses that I'm partners with with Lari Dee, um. They get it all done on them. um, like say her horse, Greed, that I showed at the, uh, rope horse futurity in the heading. And it was as good a breakaway horses he was head horse, so, I mean, I think that's been a real difference maker too, because there is so much crossover because the girls that rope great kind of moved into the team roping because of the opportunity in the team roping. And now they're able to, don't worry about both and. I think they're going to find some horses that they can do both on a competitively.

Chelsea Shaffer: Yeah. Yeah. And she says, she's not selling that one.

Trevor Brazile: I mean, I rest my case. I mean, why. But why would she, you know. But I mean, that just more of the reason, I mean, she's been in the industry a long time and she she's never had horses that weren't for sale until, until the opportunity. You know, elevated itself to where it didn't, it really didn't make a good business decision to sell.

Chelsea Shaffer: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That was, that was one of the first times I've ever heard her say that, that like that one is not, she's not doing it. Like, and that's the thing, like the, I don't think the market has caught up to make it worth her while like, I don't think anybody would give what that horse is worth, you know?

Trevor Brazile: Yeah. Well, I mean, I mean, it's, it's what they're worth to that person that day. You know what I mean? It's just that's the market is, is really hard to figure out. Timing is everything.


Chelsea Shaffer: Now before we go any further, I want to tell you all something really exciting. I don't think I've mentioned it on this podcast before, but in April of 2021, The Breakaway Roping Journal will be a real live print magazine that's going as an insert in the April 2021 Team Roping Journal because girls rule right Elise .

Elise Lee Shaffer: Yeah, girls rule, boys drool.

Chelsea Shaffer: That was, that was my four-year-old sitting on my lap while recording this. We are absolutely so excited to launch a breakaway roping magazine inside The Team Roping Journal. And so if you aren't a subscriber to The Team Roping Journal yet go to, buy your subscription. And that means you will be set up for an April 2021 Breakaway Roping Journal in print. A real live magazine about the breakaway roping industry. So we're so excited. Thanks everybody.

Elise Lee Shaffer: Thanks everybody.

Chelsea Shaffer: Now, with Lari Dee Guy, we actually started out our whole interview talking about breakaway horses. So you don't have to jump into the middle of this conversation.

She's our obvious breakaway roping representative from this group on the podcast. And she knows firsthand how hard it is to find a good prospect and a good finished horse.

Mornin' LD.

Lari Dee Guy: Good morning. How are you?

Chelsea Shaffer: I'm okay. Just doing all right. I'm glad that we got to talk for this because it was requested that you were included in this episode, in this second part of our horse market series, even it was requested by a couple of people by breakaway ropers and by open ropers, and then by average ropers too.

So I'm glad we have you on here.

Lari Dee Guy: Well, me too. Thanks for having me.

Chelsea Shaffer: Yeah, for sure. Now, one of the things that we talked about in the first part of this series that, that your business partner and friend Trevor mentioned, and that Steve Friskup mentioned is that there is a supply and demand problem in the rope horse market right now. Tell me, how is that supply and demand problem affecting you and your business?

Lari Dee Guy: Well, you know, it's, it's good. It's good and bad. But, uh, I, um, I do, you know, train some young horses and have some young horses for sale and man, there are so many breakaway ropers looking for horses. So it's, it's really, you know, good on that end of it, but the ones that you know, I'm selling, I, um, I'm also looking for horses that can go right now, you know, to the rodeos. I mean, there's, there's not enough time with all the rodeos and all the breakaway ropings and everything going, going on that I have time, you know, at this particular time in my life to just finished these horses out. Um, so I'm always looking for, you know, good ones and, you know, they're just not out there.

I mean, to think you're going to go buy an awesome breakaway horse from a breakaway roper, it doesn't happen because there there needing them as bad. You know, there's maybe a chance that you might find, you know, one that, uh, you know, that I don't know, like, uh, one that, uh, kept Roper's had that maybe quit working for them or something that you might be able to find. But I mean, I [00:10:00] look all the time and they're just not out there.

Chelsea Shaffer: So where had you previously bought breakaway prospects from that you can't buy them from now?

Lari Dee Guy: Well, the, the breakaway prospects, I mean, I look in the, you know, I look to my friends in the cutting. I look to, you know, some reiners or some working cow horses, but all those horses have gotten, you know, really, really high. And, you know, I haven't bought or looked at one under, under $15,000 in the past year. So, therefore you go to training them, there's not a lot of money, you know, left for a person to make. Say I train one, but have $15,000 in him riding two years and he might not fit me if, if I get $25,000 for him I lose money.. It's, uh, it's kinda changed the it's kinda changed. And I think that, you know, this year, that, you know, with the breakaway roping, the market is, I mean, it's there, like there's a huge demand, um, for breakaway horses. And so if the demand in the, in the ladies, you know, learn that they're going to have to spend a little more money, then, um, you know, it could get good for the ones that train the horses, but until people figure out that, you know, horses are getting higher and there's a huge demand and, and, uh, not a lot of 'em out there. It's kind of hard right now.

Chelsea Shaffer: Yeah, for sure.

[Soft Music]

[Commercial] Today's episode is brought to you by Soft-Ride Equine Comfort Boots. They have long been our partners and they are so excited about The Breakaway Roping Journal, and our efforts in breakaway roping because breakaway horses need and use Soft-Ride Boots. Soft-Ride Comfort Boots, gels, ice spas, and SoftRiders can be used on healthy horses and those suffering from laminitis or other foot and hoof issues.

Horse owners use Soft-Rides as part of their daily routine to keep their horses healthy and the hoof boots and gels offer protection when stabling and transporting and provide relief to tender footed horses. The Soft-Ride Ice Spas aid in recovery after workout or performance, and it can be used for therapeutic purposes when treating common hook disorders.

And now the SoftRider is the newest shoe that places the load on the center of the hoof, rather than the outside wall. It's dual density construction helps increase blood flow to the hoof, reduces strain and pressure on the coffin bone in the navicular region and isolates the concussive force of impact with the ground on the horse's skeletal system all while providing improved multi-directional traction.

There are performance horses using the SoftRiders. I know I tested them out on barrel horses on head horses. We've had them on heel horses. They're awesome. And I know Lari Dee, she's always using her SoftRiders. She's always using Soft-Ride Comfort Boots and the Ice Spas. Same with Trevor Brazile. He was one of the people that tested out the SoftRiders.

So we are super grateful to have Soft-Ride sponsoring this episode. You can learn a lot more and You can order boots. You can order ice spas. Keep those in the trailer for when you're hauling. Keep them in the tack room in the barn. If you need to ice or even soak out an abscess. They're awesome for that.

And so when you shop or when your customers are shopping, are they having to deal with some, some lameness issues or some, some general maintenance to get a good one? How, how much different have the standards changed, I guess when it comes to what, what people will settle for?

Lari Dee Guy: Yeah. Um, you know, even us buying them, um, you know, there's. Use to, you could find sound horses. I mean, like where you went to the vet and they just said, Oh yeah. They're, I mean, they're a hundred percent sound. I never hear that word anymore. A hundred percent sound. Um, and even, you know, selling them, um, people will buy them with, you know, issues more than they ever did because of the supply and demand. But, um, you know, they. Starting most, most of those horses, it used to be wear and tear on them. You know, the older ones, you know, had some maintenance issues and all that. It's, it's, you know, starting at such an early age now that you know that they all, they all have something even when you start with them, as we training them, a lot of them that I buy from someone might have some issues early on.

Chelsea Shaffer: And, and too, I know something that the Trevor and I have talked about a lot in, in his columns and in other places, is that the foundation he wants on one getting a cutter reject, or a reining reject, uh, I hate to use that term, but like a culled cutter or a culled reiner. Um, They have their own set of training issues as far as maybe being too cowy or wanting to cow too much in the corner, as far as heel horses go or, um, wanting to be too under the bridal as far as reiners go. So that's why Trevor says, you know, he, he developed his own program with Miles so that his colts started a specific way to be rope horses. Are you, do you have that same experience, um, where, where you prefer them coming from that production?

Lari Dee Guy: I mean, that's, you know, Trevor and I have been partners for a long time on horses and we, you know, we liked the same qualities or same, like you said, we want them to feel the same way. And just like you said, a cutter or reiner working cow horse, however, you know, however they like to feel. So, you know, with Miles, he's been a huge, um, benefit to, um, our program because of, you know, he, Trevor's talked to him and rode with him and, and done things and lets him know how we would like them to feel as rope horses.

And it's not that the, you know, like when you get a cutter, it's not all cutters, but a lot of the cutters do get too cowy in the corner. Um, you know, say when you're heeling on them or, like if you're roping calves on them and they hear the gate, you know, the gate bang or the cow is right there beside them, they wanna, you know, kind of bow away from it instead of break right to the pin.

I mean, it's, it's, you know, it's hard to get, you know, the right or the perfect horse. I mean, the perfect horse doesn't really exist. I mean, look at you, you know, in each discipline is so different, but there's great qualities in the cutters. But then if you can have someone like Miles, you know, that you can send them to and say, "Hey, this is a great horse, but here's the couple of things that we need to change to make a great roping horse. Could you help us with that?" Or, you know, sending him the two year olds like we've done, you know, here lately and letting him put that in on from the start, it's been really beneficial for us.

Chelsea Shaffer: J.D. Yates has made plenty AQHA World Champion calf horses. And with the explosion of breakaway roping, this guy is living the horse trainers dream right now at his place in Pueblo, Colorado. I will just go ahead and let him tell you all about it.

Are you selling any breakaway horses? Has the breakaway market hit you yet?

J.D. Yates: Yeah. Where I, yeah. You know, I've sold three. Well, um, you know, that's the same deal. It's um, I mean, no, actually it's easier for me. I mean, this is the best gig in the world for a horse trainer.

Chelsea Shaffer: Yeah. It seems like it.

J.D. Yates: I mean, let's, let's put it, let's put it in perspective. Okay. I mean, seriously, let's put it this whole thing in perspective. So I got a good looking girl comes to my house. No.

Chelsea Shaffer: I know you're serious. I know it.

J.D. Yates: And she comes out there and she lopes the horse around. He's broken and if he backs in their scores and runs 40 feet and stops. He don't have to back up. He don't have to do anything but that. She looks good and she's actually nice to you. You price your horse or you get a calf roper or somebody come in here and they go to 10 rodeos and he don't hold his head perfect and they call you on the phone and say, "Hey, he ain't holding his head. What am I doing wrong?"

And this, this girl is still just as nice as hell. You see what I'm saying? So, yeah. I guess perspective wise from horse training wise? Um, yes, but you know that I'm going to taste something Chelsea, so really good breakaway horses are just as hard to find as any other horse.

Chelsea Shaffer: That's what I've heard. The girls hold on to them longer and, you know, there hadn't been the incentive for so long for girls to sell those breakaway horses because they're, you know, they could just go to some amateur rodeos or some junior rodeos or whatever. And now there's all this money on the line and they're not letting those horses go because, because of the increase in money and breakaway roping and increase in opportunities.

J.D. Yates: And so then that's a trickle down effect. See those horses used to go to the junior rodeo kids and those girls would make some money on it. And those kids would learn and then they would go, you know, pass them on down to maybe the peewee rodeos depending on the age or right now, if they're really good, what's wrong with riding a 20-year-old.

I mean, if you can win on some bitch, hello, last time I won second at Cheyenne, I was riding a 23-year-old. You see what I'm saying? So as long as they're healthy and you can rope them. And they're your best game. Why would you show them?

Chelsea Shaffer: Yeah, absolutely. That seems to be the consensus for sure.

Last but not least at Billings Livestock Horse Sale in Billings, Montana, Jann Parker has long supported and advocated for breakaway roping and her horse sale has reflected that.

She says if the breakaway horse shortage has you down, she's got your answer in Billings, and it's worth the drive from wherever you might be.

Breakaway horse market. That's like a whole nother deal. It seems to be, I've done quite a few interviews now, already for this podcast. Um, and the consensus is the breakaway horse market is an outlier. Like those girls are keeping those horses. They're not even selling them. So they hardly coming through the sale. What are you seeing with breakaway horses and Billings?

Jann Parker: Well, you know something. I got to go back in history because I worked for the Northern Rodeo Association back in the day and we had breakaway roping back then. And breakaway is always, always, always, always been a big part of Billings Livestock. So, you know, you just see, you just see a little more demand on it, but it's always been in demand because we've had those breakaway ropings up here for, since I was 21 years old, they had it.

I mean, back when those rodeo contractors, I remember having to wrestle with them cause the girls wanted to get away from roping those stupid bulldogging steers. You know, like please can't we rope calves. I mean, I've got to live that evolution right, or wrong. I mean, it's true. So, um, breakaway horses have always been, uh, part of what we do. You know?

Chelsea Shaffer: Yeah.

Jann Parker: So. Yeah, I'm just, I don't know. I guess I've seen a little more heat on them, but we've always had heat on them.

Chelsea Shaffer: That's good. That's awesome.

[Soft Music]

Chelsea Shaffer: Thank you all so very much for listening to this episode of "The Score". Remember, we really could use some love on Apple podcasts. Leave us a review. You decide how many stars do you think we deserve, and you can leave us a note about what you like, love or could do without.

[Commercial] Today's episode again, was brought to you by our very long time partners at Soft-Ride Equine Comfort Boots

Check them out. I told you about the SoftRiders. I told you about the Ice Spa. And of course, you know about the legacy Soft-Ride Comfort Boots that so many folks are using. Thank you all so much. Thank you to Soft-Ride and thank you all for listening. 

[Soft Music]