Clay Smith of Premier Rope Horses aboard Chief Quanah Parker winning the Mandan, North Dakota ProRodeo over the 2023 Fourth-of-July run. | Photo by Chuck Miner
Premier Rope Horses is the next evolution in the career of long-time horseman and two-time World Champion Clay Smith—powered by a top-to-bottom investment in training and exceptional nutrition and horsecars.
Smith divides his time between the ProRodeo trail and the futurity pen, competing now on prospects he’s bought and trained. But in the very near future, Smith will be aboard all home-raised mounts thanks to his new program, Premier Rope Horses, alongside father-in-law Jason Richey.
“I enjoy starting horses, and with our trainer Jess Morgan, we’re working on getting better everyday at both horsemanship and roping,” Smith, 32, said. “We’re still three years out of riding our own horses. But having all these babies hitting the ground next spring, we’ve been building the foundation and prepping my place to get ready for all the colts we’ll have.”
Smith’s program is centered around the 2016 stallion Bet Hesa Ginnin, by Bet Hesa Cat out of Ginnin Stoli by Stoli. The Medal Program, Gold Buckle, Riata Buckle and Ruby Buckle stallion stands at Outlaw Equine, and Smith is already prepping him for the jackpots and rodeos this fall.
Smith hopes the stallions’ babies—many that will be out of mares like Smith’s ARHFA Redbud Futurity Champion mare Apaches Promise by Promise Of The Sun and Royal Crown Champion One Smart Pistol by BR Best Asset—will fit the bill from the horse shows to the rodeos in the future.
“What we’ve found out is that there’s a fine line—you have to have the right mixture of run and cow, and you can’t be just team ropers, cutters or reiners,” Smith said. “We want our horses broke to get on their butt, but when we want them to step up and get them on their front, we want that too. With facing, they have to have all of that. It’s been fun to play with that. There’s been freak horses like Marty and Chief (owned by Clay Deen) who are an exception who know how to do it and know how to do it on their own, and if they’ve been roped on the right way long enough, and they aren’t that broke, they are just a freak. But we want to cut out that chance. We want them broke right first, as rope horses—not too much reiner, not too much cutter. If you start them the right way, it makes your odds go way up to have longevity.”
Making ‘Em Great
Smith’s Premier Rope Horses program starts from the ground up—with a feed line from ADM Nutrition that runs through the entire lifespan of his horses. He’s been feeding ADM for 25 years, since a rep came to his parents’ barn and explained the benefits to them when Smith was just a kid.
“You get what you pay for on that deal,” Smith said. “You can have $100,000 truck, $200,000 trailer, $150,000 horse, and if you can’t buy a $40 sack of feed, that doesn’t make sense. I’ve been feeding ADM my entire life, it’s obvious how well it works.”
“Our babies are going to be on Junior Glo by ADM from the time we wean them until they’re 2-year-olds,” Smith explained. “That’s got all the right mix as they’re growing and developing, because those years are so important for the right nutrition.”
Forage First JUNIORGLO is formulated to be fed along with good-quality forages. Forage First JUNIORGLO contains HEALTHY GLOTM, Omega FlaxTM, vegetable oil, and highly digestible fiber from alfalfa, beet pulp, and soybean hulls. Forage First JUNIORGLO is designed to be the go to feed for any breeding operation.
“The SeniorGlo is what I keep horses on in the early stages of their training, as well as older horses and broodmares.” Smith said. “It’s got the right amount of gut support so they don’t develop any issues with ulcers—especially in those critical and sometimes stressful first rides.”
Forage First SENIORGLO is formulated to be fed along with good-quality forages. Forage First SENIORGLO contains HEALTHY GLO™, Omega Flax™, vegetable oil, and highly digestible fiber from alfalfa, beet pulp, and soybean hulls. Forage First SENIORGLO comes in a soft pellet which is easy for senior horses to chew.
“I work them up to the PowerGlo on my horses 5-6-years-old. The PowerGlo is unbelievable what it does for your horse. My father-in-law is straight ADM now all the way too. He started feeding PowerGlo and can’t believe their muscle tone. You feed less of the PowerGlo, and it does way more instead of double supplements. It’s unbelievable. It doesn’t get them hot and on the muscle—they look great, their muscles are really good and they feel really good.”
Forage First POWERGLO is formulated to be fed along with good-quality forages. Forage First POWERGLO contains HEALTHY GLOTM, Omega FlaxTM, vegetable oil, and highly digestible fiber from alfalfa, beet pulp, and soybean hulls. Forage First POWERGLO is designed to be the feed of choice for your elite companion partner.
“My rodeo horses all on PowerGlo, too. It’s for performance horses—if you’re using your horse, that’s what you need. On the road, the PowerGlo does great for me. As far as gut issues, I’ve had no problems, knock on wood, and I feed no supplements. I feed nothing else other than ADM’s products. They don’t need gut protection because it’s in the feed. It’s a non-issue for my horses. My horses will go at least 5,000 miles in a big week over the summer, and they’ll be as great on the first one as they will be on the last one.”