2022 Breeder's Guide Program: Open Box Rafter Ranch

Open Box Rafter Ranch is featured in The Team Roping Journal's 2022 Breeder's Guide, highlighting industry-best rope horse breeding programs, studs and incentives.

Open Box Rafter Ranch

Faith, South Dakota

rafterranch.com; 605-538-4450

American Quarter Horse Association members since the association began, the Hunt family boasts six generations of raising top caliber using and arena horses.

While maintaining an open mind for a great outcross, their marepower is deeply rooted in Sugar Bars, Leo and Driftwood, which they cross on their stallions Driftin Pep San, Fire Fox Jet, Firewater Time, Flit Drift, French Flit, Frenchmans Fire Fox,  Frosted Redwood, Mi Cisco Frost, PC Cisco Frost and Sandoc Wonder—who possess a heavy influence of Flit Bar, Sun Frost and Sugar Bars.

“We’re cattle ranchers first and foremost,” Joni Hunt said. “So the focus has always been on good-minded, athletic cow horses. Jim and I have refined that a little more to raise horses that are versatile, and that are suitable to go in the arena and rodeo and not get outrun.”

The Hunts’ seven children—five boys and two girls—competed in team roping and tie-down roping, so considerable effort went into raising capable horses.

For 29 years, the ranch has offered an annual production sale the second week of September, selling the bulk of its weanling and yearling crop.

“We still raise the colts in big country,” Hunt said. “They have a lot of room to travel and grow up learning to cross water and navigate rough terrain. We think it makes a healthier mind and body. They’re raised to be a horse, socialized by horses. We halter break and handle them over the summer, so they are ready to go in the sale.”

The ranch has also seen top-tier success in the arena, with its home-bred Flit Wonder stallion earning AQHA Champion and Superiors in Tie-Down & Heeling. His 2017 son, Sandoc Wonder, made the finals in Open Jr. Tie-Down, and will be competes in heeling, too. Mi Cisco Frost (2012) by PC Cisco Frost earned his AQHA Register of Merit in the tie-down roping and heeling, and was a top 10 AQHA World Show tie-down horse.

Read: The 2022 Team Roping Journal Breeder’s Guide