Joseph Harrison’s Futurity Horse is Doing Double-Time at the Biggest Open Jackpots in the Game.
"He's just a sweet little horse." — Joseph Harrison
Joseph Harrison heeling steer BFI
Harrison heels one on Doc Joe Frost at the Bob Feist Invitational behind Shane Philipp. | Andersen/CBarC Photography

Joseph Harrison might only be a part-time professional Open roper these days, but the six-time NFR heeler is using his reps when he does go to the biggest jackpots in the country to season his futurity horse—last weekend’s TX Best Derby Champion Doc Joe Frost.

Doc Joe Frost and Harrison, 36, won the TX Best Derby in Decatur, Texas, April 13, with a score of 329.69, worth $7,460—just two weeks after competing on the long score at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, at The Feist. That brought the horse—who is by Joe Jacks O Lena out of CJ Doc Frost by Doc O Dual—to QData earnings of $12,960, with very limited showing.

Doc Joe Frost Joseph Harrison Miles Baker
Doc Joe Frost, Joseph Harrison, helper Miles Baker and TX Best’r’s Clay Burnham. | Courtesy TX Best

Where did Doc Joe Frost come from?

Just about a month before the 2024 BFI, Harrison, a 6-time NFR heeler, bought Doc Joe Frost—a 6-year-old red dun he calls “Newt”—from Kaden Lappe, who works for Harrison at his place in Marietta, Oklahoma.

“I liked him when he was a 4-year-old,” Harrison said of the horse raised by Clint Whipple of Saint Francis, South Dakota. “Kaden and his girlfriend owned him, and Kaden won good on him that year at the Futurity in Fort Worth in both the intermediate and limited.”

Newt and Lappe won the ARHFA’s Limited Heeling World Championship in 2022, and they placed seventh in the intermediate that year, too.

But the horse got into a wreck in 2023, slicing open his hip and his back on a broken gate. His recovery was long and arduous, so nobody saw the horse in town all last year. When Lappe was ready to sell him this winter, Harrison stepped in to try to help.

“I called around and tried to trade him off for Kaden, but nobody had seen him,” Harrison said. “The ones who had a chance to see him, it had been over a year, and they’d have to take my word he was good. Nobody even came to try, so I bought him off Kaden myself. It’s just a good little horse.”

Harrison is quick to credit Lappe for putting in all the work on the horse, making him one Harrison could essentially jump ride at the BFI.

Doc Joe Frost

“He’s got good timing, he’s real easy, and he’s a real forgiving little horse,” Harrison said. “I just thought man, Newt, is real naive, he’ll be real forgiving. If a steer hits funny and gives me a funny jump, he’s real easy to take another swing.”

Harrison rode Newt until he and Shane Philipp went out of he average on their fourth steer, with Newt exceeding Harrison’s expectations throughout the roping.

“I’m not sayin he’s a race horse, but I got to turn in on three steers on him at the BFI, and I didn’t draw one loper,” Harrison laughed. “I could hit the turn in a good place and be able to set it down the back side of the first jump into the second easy. He’s a gritty little horse.”

What’s next?

Harrison is focused on the futurities again in 2024, but he’ll head to some Prairie Circuit rodeos with fellow horse trainer Shane Philipp. And Newt will likely be on the trailer.

“I’m just going to keep him for something to help on, jackpot on and ride him where he fits,” Harrison said. “Every once in a while, I may take him to a show. If I’m going to take a bunch of customer horses, I won’t ride my own over my customer horses. We went to that deal to check it out and see how it was going to be, and it turns out, it was a good little deal. The steers were great, the setup was plenty good, and it was the best set of steers we’ve roped at a futurity so far on the year.”


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