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Vyntage, a son of the late Doc's Hickory, competing in the Open herd work prelims at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity with trainer Ty Benson. • Photo by Primo Morales.

14 Years After Sire’s Death, Doc’s Hickory Son Competes at Snaffle Bit Futurity

When the phrase “sired by Doc’s Hickory” rings out over the Will Rogers Coliseum, ears are sure to perk up and heads turn. Vyntage is the first foal of the late great Doc’s Hickory born in the more than 15 years, and his future is looking diverse. 

Owned by Walt and Mary Vermedahl of Cave Creek, AZ, and managed by their daughter, Amber Carroll, Vyntage is competing in the 2021 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Snaffle Bit Futurity with Tyson “Ty” Benson in the Open and Intermediate Open.

In the Open preliminaries, Benson and Vyntage’s composite of 646 (214 herd/215.5 rein/216.5 cow) qualified them for the Intermediate Open finals. Their next appearance is in the finals herd work on Thursday, Oct. 21.

“Ty has said he doesn’t get frazzled much,” Carroll said. “He can handle most things that are thrown at him, and I think in the cow horse world where they have to do [all three events] that the mind is so essential.” 

Lucky Discovery

The fact that Vyntage exists at all is the result of a previously unknown trove of Doc’s Hickory semen found in storage at Oswood Stallion Station, in Weatherford, Texas. Officials had thought the last of the stallion’s semen was destroyed in a fire. However, they tested the newly-discovered material, determined it was good, and bred Cancan Kitty (by High Brow Cat) via ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) as a test.

The result was Vyntage, who was born in 2018 and bred by Lone Oak Performance Horses, of Las Vegas, Nevada. According to American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) records, another foal by Doc’s Hickory was born in 2019 and Oswood Stallion Station is advertising ICSI-only breeding to Doc’s Hickory for the 2022 breeding season.

Vyntage as a foal. • Photo by Molly Montag.

Doc’s Hickory was one of the most prolific sons of Doc Bar, and his progeny made him a $21 Million Dollar Sire in EquiStat. Daughters of the stallion, who passed in 2007, have foaled the winners of more than $34 million, according to the database.

Choice of Careers

Originally shopping for solid rope horse prospects for her parents, Carroll came across Vyntage in training with Benson. The trainer from Texas said the bay stallion would make a great rope horse, but would only sell Vyntage under the condition that he would compete in the Snaffle Bit Futurity. After giving Vyntage a try, the deal was done. 

“We actually didn’t even know his breeding when we went to go look [at him]. We were really intrigued with the breeding [and] He was a real hit for my mom because it’s the closest you can get to Doc Bar these days,” Carroll said.

The Vermedahl’s experience with older bloodlines made Vyntage appealing as a competitor and stallion. 

“I think what makes Vyntage so marketable is how close he is to Doc’s Hickory. There are so many more options for his lineage to take [versatility] back on and not be limited to one discipline. I think the more versatile the horse, the more people you can reach,” Carroll said. 

Future Plans

Vyntage has grown past expectations, standing at 15 hands at 3 years old. He’s a maternal half-sibling to the winners of more than $476,000 and stallion has already begun to compile his own lifetime earnings, winning $696 at the Southwest Reined Cow Horse Association Pre-Futurity in the Open with Benson. 

According to Carroll, Vyntage will breed select mares from a variety of disciples. 

“We plan on keeping him a stud and with his personality, we don’t see it being an issue. My daughter is 8 now and she can lead him around. He could care less, he just has such a great mind,” Carroll said.

Following the Futurity, Vyntage is slated to back into the roping box with three-time National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifier Shay Carroll and prepare for 4-year-old roping futurities. The plan is to mold Vyntage into his most-versatile self, taking advantage of his older bloodlines. 

“[Decades ago], they really didn’t have a lot of options to choose from. Horses were going into Western pleasure, roping, even jumping in AQHA. Now, everyone is line breeding or disciplines,” Carroll said.