When the worlds’ winningest roper and business partner purchase a stallion, people take notice. That’s exactly what happened when Trevor Brazile and business partner Miles Baker bought reining stallion Show Me The Buckles home to jump-start their Relentless Remuda rope horse breeding program.
Reining-bred horses have been making a splash in the roping industry in recent years, and the two horseman have decided to enter the breeding game at the ground level, having seen the horses Show Me The Buckles, known as “Buckles,” produces.
“Most people prove a stallion, then hope he’s a producer,” 26-time World Champion Brazile said of the stallion purchased from Rebeca Martin, of Rancho Murieta, California. “We’d rode offspring by Show Me The Buckles and in the business of training horses, knew they were good to ride. [Buying him was] better than finding a young stallion and crossing our fingers that they were as good a producer as they were a performer.”
The son of EquiStat Elite $12 Million Sire Wimpys Little Step and out of Sunset Whiz (by Topsail Whiz), “Buckles” earned $162,400 in the reining pen. His biggest payday was at the 2011 National Reining Horse Association Futurity, where he earned the Level 4 Open Reserve Co-Championship with Arno Honstetter, and he has been represented by nearly $50,000 in progeny earnings in the reining pen.
It’s no accident Brazile and Baker looked to reining to find their stallion. Reining horses have many qualities that serve them well in the roping arena, ranging from their trainability to their athleticism and cow sense.
“I don’t pretend to know everything about every discipline,” Brazile said. “But I know what I like in a rope horse.”
The roping industry has seen bloodlines from every background back into the box and try for a check. Brazile and Baker have found what they like, zeroing in on reining horses.
“Sixty to 80 percent of our entire remuda is reining bred horses at this point. We’re pretty big on them,” Baker said.
The duo have good reason to enjoy the reining bred horses, having sold 7-year-old gelding Smartys Dunny (Colonels Smart Spook x Bea With A Twist x Dun It With A Twist) for the princely sum of $250,000 in March at a major rope horse sale in Arizona.
“I hadn’t dealt with reiners until the last few years when I started training rope horses,” Baker said. “I was like ‘Man I’ve been missing out.’ In the roping, you have to have something that will listen to you in the heat of the battle.”
Successful reiners like stallion Gotta Twist It Up have been backing into the box across the country. In May, the buckskin son of NRHA Triple Crown Champion Spooks Gotta Whiz and out of Make It With A Twist (by Dun It With A Twist) garnered points in American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) roping classes as a header and heeler, adding to his $241,316 in reining earnings.
Successful reining horse Diamonds In My Genes, an earner of $34,000 in the reining pen highlighted by the Reining By The Bay Futurity Level 4 Open Reserve Championship, was retrained and marketed as a roping horse prospect. The son of Whizkey N Diamonds sold for $45,000 at the same rope horse sale in Wickenburg, Arizona, that Brazile and Baker sold Smartys Dunny for $250,000.
Part of what makes reining-bred or trained horses the so compatible for transition into roping is they have enough cow sense to get the job done, but not so much intensity about the cow that it becomes a hindrance to the run, Baker said.
“The reiners have a different kind of cow than what people are getting out of the cutters,” Baker explained. “The [cutting horses] are so reactive on a cow now that in the roping it’s hard to get the cutters to run to them and not react when they get there. They have so much expression on a cow. You want something to go to the cow and close the gap fast.”
“The 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds we’re riding [by Buckles] are fast-footed and they can run. There is nothing I don’t like about them.”
Another Avenue for Buckles
Buckles may not have slews of babies in the roping pen, but that isn’t keeping him from siring winners. With Brazile in the saddle, Tuckin Away Buckles (out of Tuckers Vintage by Hollywood Vintage) won the Badlands Bits & Spurs Futurity Championship on the heading side in August.
In reining, Show Me The Buckles has sired seven earners of more than $49,000. His leading performer is Tidal To The Buckles, earned $41,732 with highlights being third-place finishes in the Level 4 Non-Pro at the 2019 NRHA Futurity and 2020 NRHA Derby with Mandy McCutcheon.
The palomino stallion’s first foals were registered with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) in 2015, reaching futurity age in 2018. He currently has 83 foals registered with the AQHA, and ranks 27th in the EquiStat Junior Reining Statistics.
The traits seen in Buckles’ progeny include trainability, cow sense, bone density and level-headedness in the box. According to Brazile, Buckles progeny haven’t shown the common box woes, meaning a large part of training time is freed up.
“They don’t take things as hard in the box. The speed has been there, the athleticism is ridiculous and like I said, the cow,” Brazile said. “When the opportunity [to buy him] presented itself, we jumped on it,” Brazile said. “It just seemed like the quickest way to the end result, which is good horses.”
The news of Buckles’ ownership caused a stir, with mare owners sending contracts to Highpoint Performance Horses to vie for his limited book. According to Baker, Buckles booked a lot of mares in the first 48 hours.