Pidgeon, 76, Germantown, Tenn., still owns the property, but has leased it to Hansma since Aug. 1. Hansma, cutting’s No. 4 all-time Open division rider through 2009 with earnings totaling nearly $4.5 million, no longer works for Pidgeon. He also assumed responsibility for Bar H Ranche facility bills and upkeep, Hansma said.
Although he has not competed as a cutter since 2005, Pidgeon remained cutting’s No. 10 All-Time Non-Pro Rider at the end of 2009 with non-pro earnings totaling $1,225,789. Paul Hansma’s wife, Julie Dvorak Hansma, ranked No. 13 on the Non-Pro Rider’s All-Time list with earnings of nearly $1.2 million through the end of last yearBar H Ranche, headed by Pidgeon, ranked as the cutting horse industry’s No. 2 all-time breeder with earnings totaling $8,328,901 and as cutting’s No. 5 owner through the end of 2009, according to Equi-Stat records. Those rankings are based largely on initial cutting success and subsequent success of many foals sired by two stallions Pidgeon purchased as young prospects during the 1980s – Dual Pep and CD Olena.
Dual Pep (Peppy San Badger x Miss Dual Doc x Doc’s Remedy), a 1985 stallion, and 1991 stallion CD Olena (Doc O’Lena x CD Chica Badger x Peppy San Badger) ranked No. 5 and No. 8, respectively, among all-time cutting sires at the end of last year. At age 26, Dual Pep is no longer standing for the public. And at age 19, CD Olena died on Aug. 6, 2010, while leased by Dr. David Hartman and standing at his Texas breeding facility.
Pidgeon still owns some frozen semen from both stallions and he’ll probably continue using it to breed a few mares each year, Hansma said. Pidgeon also still owns several broodmares he keeps at a horse ranch that he owns in Tennessee, Hansma said.
“He [Pidgeon] is going to keep it [his own breeding operation] up,” Hansma said. “This [Bar H Ranche] is just no longer his training operation.”
Hansma plans to continue operating his training base under the Bar H Ranche name, he said, adding he is not sure whether Pidgeon plans continue placing his new breeding records under the Bar H brand or under a different one. “He’s still going to raise some, so he’ll still be a breeder,” Hansma said. “I don’t know whether he’ll keep them [new foals] under Bar H. He never did care about Top Breeder [records] or anything like that. That was never his goal. He did become a top breeder.”
Winston Hansma, Paul’s brother, managed Bar H Ranche from 1991 through 2003, when he left to establish a new base. Paul Hansma had managed Bar H while supervising breeding operations and training horses owned by Pidgeon and other clients since then.
“I still worked for him [Pidgeon] until Aug. 1. Now, I don’t,” Paul Hansma said. “He was paying all the bills and I was getting a paycheck, but not anymore.”
Even given his success as the Open division’s No. 4 leading all-time cutting rider heading into this year, Hansma, 50, said it is a bit daunting to officially take over as his own boss. “I don’t have to worry about the breeding,” Hansma said. “I don’t have to worry about what mares are bred to who. But now, I’ve got to pay all the bills, which is just as tough.”
As his own training facility boss, Hansma is free to take on some additional clients. At this point, he said he has plenty of 3-year-olds, but he could take a few more 2-year-olds.
“You are always worried,” Hansma said of taking over at the Bar H Ranche. “You are worried that it’s going to work. There is a lot of upkeep and a lot of maintenance on the place. It’s a big place and it’s a big electrical bill, but it will be fine. He [Pidgeon] made me a nice deal.”