DT Horses, owned by Dean and Leslie Tuftin, is about much more than just breeding futurity-winning horses.
DT Horses’ mission is to instill excellence at every step of the process: from crossing the best bloodlines to create premium prospects; to fostering the growth of young trainers to build exceptional horsemen and horsewomen and people; to educating the average team roper who comes to DT Horses looking for a rope horse or looking for advice. In the end, these three prongs of the DT program are pushing the industry forward as few others have done before.
DT Horses is headlined by the undeniably great Hickory Holly Time (2023 stud fee of $3,000), who won multiple world titles and has earned over $260,000 in his career. Tuftin crosses Hickory Holly Time on his exceptional mare herd, all ridden and proven in the arena and on the ranch.
Tuftin is raising the stakes for 2023, with a DT Horses incentive that will pay out at least $50,000 to top-earning DT Horses offspring competing at the American Rope Horse Futurities, Royal Crown events and the Riata Buckle. This comes on the heels of Hickory Holly Time colts netting an event-high $150,000 at the 2022 Riata Buckle in Guthrie this past November.
Currently, seven trainers work at DT Horses, and Tuftin has made their continuing growth and education a major priority at his Scottsdale, Arizona, ranch.
“For two weeks this December, we had one of Downunder Horsemanship’s certified trainers, Magen Warlick from Stephenville, Texas, to work with all of our trainers and all of their horses,” Tuftin explained. “We saw any holes they may have in any step of the process, and each trainer really learned how to get the mental buy-in of each horse they’re responsible for. Because if you don’t have that mental buy-in, you won’t be able to achieve what you ultimately want to with that horse.”
Tuftin’s goal isn’t just to help the top prospects get into the top hands. He wants his trainers riding every prospect to the best of that horse’s ability, finding that horse’s highest potential—whether it’s at the Ariat World Series of Team Roping during the NFR, in the barrel racing arena, at the local cow horse competition or at the World’s Greatest Horseman. Jeff Gleason, who manages the ranch in Scottsdale, is an exceptional horseman who helps oversee the entirety of the program, ensuring that each horse is handled with natural horsemanship fundamentals.
Tuftin’s doors are always open to horsemen and horsewomen looking for their next mount or just wanting to learn how the DT Horses program works.
“An impressionist artist said, ‘Perfection is not in the eye of the beholder. Perfection is in the eye of the creator.’ Anyone can slap paint on a canvas, but a great artist puts perfection in every stroke of the brush. For me, I’ve built that in the same way. A great artist holds themselves accountable for every stroke of the brush. People say they’re trainers, but great trainers hold themselves accountable for every move that horse takes, every feel. For me, that’s a big piece of it. My mission statement is to build champion horses with solid training techniques while developing the mind of a horse positively. It’s not just, ‘let’s go win at the futurities.’ And I want to pass that all on to the horse industry as a whole. So, our doors are open to those who want to learn.”