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Horse-breeding program an unplanned opportunity

Halter training begins when foals are just a few days old.

Quiet bloodlines produce animals that are easy to handle

Editor’s Note: Cattleman’s Corner columnist Heather Eppich and her husband Gregory, who run a mixed farming operation near Handel, Sask., explain how they also got into the horse breeding business.

In August 2017, Gregory and I had an opportunity that we just couldn’t pass up. Like most of our opportunities, it came when we did not have any extra spending money. However, after doing some research on equine bloodlines, we made the leap of faith and purchased a stallion.

We didn’t plan to start a horse-breeding program when we got married. We had hoped to breed a few for our own use, but with the purchase of the stallion, our breeding program was born.

The stallion that we purchased that day was a liver chestnut roan Quarter Horse named Juan Peppy Sailor. He is a son of one of Canada’s top reining-horse sires, Juan the Sailor, a proven sire of reining horses, rope horses and barrel-racing horses. Most importantly for us, when asked about Juan the Sailor, the first thing that anyone remembers is how quiet and gentlemanly he was and also how quiet his offspring were.

If you trace the family line back one more generation, Juan Peppy Sailor’s grandsire is Topsail Cody, one of the first National Reining Horse Association’s million-dollar sires. Back when the purses were much smaller, Topsail Cody’s offspring won more than one million dollars. Topsail Cody horses are also known throughout the industry as being a family of well-minded horses. They are athletes with a will to please.

This was the beginning and the very backbone of our breeding program. We specifically breed for quiet, sane and personable horses.

A new crop of foals

As our program grows and develops, there is some flexibility in what we have to offer, but we try to have between six and 12 foals in May after the cows are done calving. Most of the foals are registered with the American Quarter Horse Association, but we do offer two or three foals a year that are registered with the American Half Quarter Horse Registry. These foals are of the same quality as the AQHA foals, but their mares are not registered.

We offer the foals for sale as weanlings in October, but do accept deposits to hold a particular foal. Our foals are handled at just a few days old and are taught to lead, tie and pick up their feet. They are then sent out to pasture. We wean in October and after giving them a few days to settle down, they get a refresher on their halter training and trailer loading.

Our mares are daughters or granddaughters of proven and well-known horses, and so while we are a young breeding program, we are confident that our foals will go on to be successful in various competitive events such as reining, cutting, reined cow horse, roping and barrel racing. Due to the well-known quiet nature of their grandsire, Juan the Sailor, they will also make wonderful all-around family horses.

We believe that if a horse is quiet with a will to please, they can be taught to do anything that their rider wants of them, and that is what we strive to produce with our Eppich Quarter Horses.

For more information about our breeding program and what we have available, please go to our website or contact us at (306) 948-4233.

About the author

Contributor

Heather Eppich is a young former Idaho rancher building a new farm and family with her husband and young son, near Handel, Sask. Contact her at: [email protected]

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