After making his mark on the Western performance horse world through 27 breeding seasons, 30-year-old Diggers Rest died on Oct. 25. The stallion was the cornerstone of owners Darren Miller and Rhoda Rein’s breeding operation in Watkins, Colorado, and his influence will continue to live on in his offspring.
Diggers Rest, bred by Louis Waters, earned $14,308 in reining and reined cow horse during his career, but his biggest impact was made in the breeding shed.
The stallion is by 1977 National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) Futurity Open Champion Peppy San Badger (Mr San Peppy x Sugar Badger x Grey Badger III), who went on to sire earners of more than $25 million. Diggers Rest is the only performer out of Colonels Glow Cat, who is by 1976 NCHA Futurity Open Champion Colonel Freckles. Colonel Freckles (Jewel’s Leo Bars x Christy Jay x Rey Jay) has performing offspring with records of more than $4.9 million.
Diggers Rest sired 84 money-earners with total records of $232,546, according to Equi-Stat. Heza Nuther Digger (out of Hotroddin Suzy x Colonel Hotrodder), a 16-year-old stallion, is Diggers Rest’s highest money-earner with an Equi-Stat record of $33,638. Next on the stallion’s get record is 9-year-old mare Dig My Peppy Steps (out of Pep In My Step x Hickory Chic Olena), who has lifetime earnings of $29,222.
Like Colonel Freckles, Diggers Rest shined as a maternal grandsire, with his daughters producing earners of nearly $375,000. His top grandson is 2006 National Reined Cow Horse Snaffle Bit Futurity Open finalist Shining Lil Nic (Smart Shiner x Dig A Lil Nic), who boasts an impressive Equi-Stat record of $156,975.
Due to his influence on the reined cow horse industry, Diggers Rest was inducted into the Colorado Reined Cow Horse Hall of Fame this year. He is ranked 42nd on the Equi-Stat Lifetime Reined Cow Horse Maternal Grandsire chart and 86th on the Equi-Stat Lifetime Reined Cow Horse Sire chart.
“We lost our great stallion and lifetime friend Diggers Rest today,” Miller said on his public Facebook page following the stallion’s passing. “We met him in May 1989, and he has been our main business partner. He helped construct and direct our career, business, success and lives. [He is] a noble and strong soul, living on in our hearts and in his descendants.”