Hirdes Lets Holcomb Borrow Bad-Cat Breakaway Horse ‘Walkin The Dog’ to Win Royal Crown Heeling
Andy Holcomb and Walkin The Dog netted $7,350 for their four steers' work in the 8-&-Under Heeling, plus another $6,000 for second in the open heading.
Royal Crown Andy Holcomb Walkin The Dog
Andy Holcomb and Liz Hirdes' Walking The Dog winning the Royal Crown's 8-&-Under Heeling in Rock Springs behind Kaleb Driggers. | Knippling Kustoms

Andy Holcomb had plenty of time to shine with the 2015 gelding Walkin The Dog.

Holcomb won the American Rope Horse Futurity Association’s Arizona Sun Circuit on the son of War Bird Dog, and he won the Royal Crown’s Open Heading on him in 2021.

Lately, though, the horse has been owner Liz Hirdes’ main mount. But with $20,000 added in the Royal Crown’s 8-&-Under Heeling in Rock Springs, Wyoming, Holcomb jump-rode “Louie” to win $4,500 for owner Liz Hirdes, plus $675 for the owners of War Bird Dog and another $675 for breeders WR Diversified Holdings LP.  He also won second in the second round and first in the third round, worth another $1,500.

Walkin The Dog also was second in the Royal Crown’s 8-&-Under Heading, for another $6,000. Hirdes showed him in the Intermediate and Limited heading, too, winning sixth in the Intermediate worth $1,329 and second in the Limited, for another $2,100. Not to mention, Hirdes also picked up $1,890 for winning fourth (as the highest-placing female) in the 8-&-Under Breakaway, too.

Where Did Walkin The Dog Come From?

Out of War Peppys Love (Peppys Buckshot Bob), Walkin The Dog came to Hirdes and Holcomb through California trainer Quentin Hall.

“I was over there one day, just roping,” Hirdes said. “They were riding that horse and I was like, ‘Hey guys, what’s that one? That’s kind of what I’ve been looking for. I came back the next day and ran some on him, got him vetted and bought him.” 

Holcomb began taking Walkin The Dog to futurities at the end of his 5-year-old year, and he placed in two rounds of the American Rope Horse Futurity Association’s World Championships that first year. In 2021, he won the Arizona Sun Circuit against the best horses in he business in the heading, and he and Holcomb followed that up with a win at the Royal Crown’s Open Futurity in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Holcomb showed him in the heading in Fort Worth in 2021 to win eighth in a tough short round with a leg, while Jade Corkill showed him in the heeling.

“He’s been huge, and everything to my career on a lot of different levels,” Holcomb said. “Because Liz is a really good family friend who’s been around a long time.She’s like family to us, so to have her own the horse is special too. It’s something she rides all the time everywhere. She just breakawayed on him at the Salinas rodeo last week. So he’s definitely a special horse.”

Most of the time, the horse is with Hirdes, who in 2022 qualified and competed at the Women’s Rodeo World Championships in Fort Worth on Louie, too.

Andy Holcomb Walkin The Dog
Holcomb winning the 2021 AZ Sun Circuit ARHFA event on Walkin The Dog. | Elite Equine Promotions Photo

Holcomb got him back to to go to Rock Springs—one of the few places a 7-year-old could still compete, let alone for the $20,000 added in the pot. He had the help of reigning World Champ and current standings leader Kaleb Driggers, too.

“My wife asked Kaleb last year, before Texas, if he was going and he would help me,” Holcomb said. “He said yes, and we got talking. We started doing some business together, and it went from there.”

Holcomb keeps about 40 horses in training, but Louie stays with Hirdes with a breakaway focus most of the year. Holcomb is also circuit rodeoing as a header, sitting well inside the top five in the California circuit at press time.

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