2023 Breeder’s Guide Program: Riata Ranch Equine
Riata Ranch Equine is featured in The Team Roping Journal's 2023 Breeder's Guide, highlighting industry-best rope horse breeding programs, studs and incentives.
Two men team rope in an arena at the 2012 Battle in the Saddle.
Horses that come from Riata Ranch are equipped for success. | Courtesy Riata Ranch Equine

Riata Ranch Equine
Belen, New Mexico

Riata Ranch Equine is a full-service breeding facility owned by Rhonda and Ty Saulsberry. Specializing in embryo transfers, artificial insemination, semen freezing, general reproduction and recently added intracytoplasmic sperm injection, Riata Ranch is a one-stop location for breeding services. Ty is artificial insemination certified and collects the stallions at the facility, while attending veterinarian, Andres Estrada, DVM, DACT, DECAR, works with the embryo process and oversees reproduction.

While Riata Ranch was started only two years ago, the Saulsberrys have been in the reproduction business for more than 14 years. In 2008, Ty purchased Lefty Starlight from Bobby Lewis. The 2001 son of Grays Starlight is a Riata Buckle stallion that is the cornerstone of the rising program.

With daughters of Lefty Starlight now added to the broodmare herd—and some being used while continuing to compete—Riata Ranch has added two up-and-coming stallions to their lineup to cross on the daughters. The addition of Play Something Blu and RR Crimson N Clover allows the program to add new genetics to create crosses that can be successful in many events. Leftys Blonde Playboy is the fourth stallion in the Riata Ranch lineup, and as a son of Lefty Starlight, the young stallion will continue to cross on the Dual Pep and Peponita bloodlines that the Saulsberrys have had success with crossing on Lefty Starlight.

As the operation continues to grow, Ty and Rhonda add new mares to the program in addition to the expansive recipient mare herd. Knowing the importance of a strong maternal line, Riata Ranch invests in training and proving acquired mares the same way they do with the stallions. Most mares being added to the program are 3 to 5 years old and are put into training while still being available for embryo ushes and transfers. With the recently added genetics of Dual Smart Rey, Bet Hesa Cat and Reminic to the new mares at Riata Ranch, offspring will be able to go in a variety of different directions from roping to cow horse.

A program that looks to the future when making decisions, horses that come from Riata Ranch are equipped for success. Offspring from Lefty Starlight are eligible for the Riata Buckle and foals from Play Something Blu, RR Crimson N Clover and Leftys Blonde Playboy will be eligible for incentives as foals come of age. Believing in making quality horses, Riata Ranch also offers foals, started prospects and finished horses for purchase.

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