Good horseflesh is spread across the nation. Good stock horses found a home in the American West and Southwest, forming great remudas for ranches set in the roughest terrain. In the East, Thoroughbreds dominate the racetracks and warmbloods demand attention in show rings, and one great remuda found their home on the Creek Plantation of Martin, South Carolina.
Owned by William S. “Billy” Morris III, of Augusta, Georgia, Creek Plantation’s original 2,526 acres of land were purchased in 1968. Since then, it has expanded to nearly 14,000 acres. Creek Plantation’s interest is mainly in horses, and specifically cutting horses, however, Creek Plantation also has a commercial cattle operation consisting of 2,200 commercial brood cows, and a herd of Texas longhorns.
Creek Plantation will be honored at the 2024 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) convention for earning the coveted title of AQHA Best Remuda 2023.
The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Best Remuda Award is given each year to “to honor the contributions that ranch horses have made to the heritage of the American Quarter Horse,” according to AQHA’s website.
“On behalf of the Morris family, we are honored and delighted of the AQHA’s decision on naming Creek Plantation as the 2023 recipient of the prestigious AQHA Best Remuda Award,” Billy Morris said.
Creek’s Current Remuda
The Boon was sold to Creek Plantation in 2022 by the historic King Ranch. The Boon (Peptoboonsmal x Boon San Kitty x High Brow Cat) began his career late after an injury and still managed to amass $76,156 in the cutting pen. He made finals for the Brazos Bash, Cotton Stakes and numerous other shows. Currently, The Boon’s offspring have EquiStat earnings of $76,717 in cutting, reined cow horse and ranch versatility events. He stands at The 6666 Ranch.
“We were looking for a ranch stud to breed to our ranch mares, so when he became available, we thought it would be a good fit. Besides continuing the legacy of the two ranches and our shared desire to produce the best all-around horses possible, this stallion elevates our ranch horse program and our commitment to excellence,” said Morris’s grandson and fellow cutting enthusiast, William S. Morris V in an interview about the purchase.
Boon Too Suen (Peptoboonsmal x Meradas Little Sue x Freckles Merada) has sired the earners of almost $5 million, with offspring winning money in team roping, barrels, cutting, reined cow horse, ranch sorting and ranch versatility events.
Gists Fifty King (Gists High King x Miss Fifty King x Cow Bo Country) is one of the highest percentage King P-234 bred stallions in service today. He carries 49.2% King P-234 blood. Gists Fifty King has sired earners in ranch riding, ranch versatility and ranch trail according to EquiStat.
Cattalou (High Brow Cat x Louella Again x Dual Pep) has been standing at the 6666 Ranch since ownership transfer to Morris. He was foaled in 2009, and Morris purchased him from SDP Buffalo Ranch in 2017. Cattalou has sired the earners of $112,848 in cutting, ranch versatility and reined cow horse according to EquiStat.
Breeding The Best
As a breeder, Creek Plantation can be found in the Quarter Horse News 2023 Spring Edition Lifetime Breeder statistics. As he sat in spot 33 on the list of cutting breeders with earnings of $3,133,887, excluding incentive money. This was a jump from the 34 spot the previous year and an additional earnings of almost $100,000. Including incentive monies, as of May 5, Morris has EquiStat lifetime breeder earnings of $3,371,736 and counting.
Atop Creek’s breeding record sits Doc Solena (Shorty Lena x Miss Doc Solano x Doc’s Solano), he ended his show career with $211,243 in EquiStat earnings. Dulces Joker (Dulces Smart Lenca x Miss Joker Tanquery x Tanquery Gin) sits second on the list at $144,357.
Morris also bred EquiStat Elite $1 Million Dam Shes Pretty Smooth. A daughter of the Morris-bred stallion Wheeling Peppy and out of Smooth Hickory (by Docs Hickory), Shes Pretty Smooth earned $75,525 in the cutting pen with Tommy Manion aboard. After her show career, her influence continued through her offspring. Her highest-earning offspring, Smooth As A Cat won $500,037 in the show pen before becoming an EquiStat Elite $35 Million Sire — with two of his offspring earning the title of NCHA Open Horse of the Year.
As an owner, Creek has lifetime EquiStat earnings of $786,174 earned by another long list of recognizable horses. Hyadualin is his highest earner with $124,549. Hyadualin (Dual Pep x SR Hyacinth x Docs Hickory) took home the reserve championship at the Augusta Futurity in 2002 as well as numerous other accolades. Cattalou sits third on Billy’s owner list. Splash of Gin remains in his top 10.
Tanquery Gin, a 1975 sorrel stallion without markings, was bred by the Phillips ranch of Dallas, Texas. He left his mark in the cutting pen. By Doc O’Lena and out of Gin Echols (by Ed Echols), he went on to sire the earners of more than $2 million before his death in 2001. In his 26 years, Tanquery Gin was leased by Morris for seven years before his official transfer of ownership in 1991. The legendary Burnett Ranches also leased the stallion until their purchase from Morris in 1996.
Two of his offspring remained with Creek Plantation. Wagon Stake (Tanquery Gin x Black Brim x Peppy San Badger) and Splash of Gin (Tanquery Gin x Mario San Badger x Peppy San Badger) sired money earners in cutting, ranch reining and barrel racing, but had their biggest influence on the Creek Plantation’s ranch horses.
A 1998 grey stallion, Hes Playingforkeeps stood out against Creek Plantation’s mainly sorrel remuda. By the EquiStat $9 Million Sire Playgun and out of Berrie Freckles (by Colonel Freckles), Hes Playingforkeeps brought a dose of differing historical bloodlines to Creek Plantation’s ranch horses.
Putting Horses on Paper
Billy’s interests in cutting horses led to much more than his horse breeding program or cattle operation. For starters, Morris was integral in the founding and continued success of the Augusta Futurity.
Morris acquired Western Horseman in 2001 and Equine Journal in 2012. Current Morris’ equine publications consist of Western Horseman, Barrel Horse News, Quarter Horse News and Western Lifestyle Retailer as well as being the publisher of Reiner and Reined Cow Horse News. Other Morris Equine brands include the National Barrel Horse Association, West Coast Barrel Racing, Road to the Horse, the Stallion Register and EquiStat.
EquiStat was established in the 1980’s. At the time, Morris was showing his cutting horses at many weekend and aged events, and no one was keeping tally of his horse’s total earnings. When he had the idea of how to keep track of those earnings, EquiStat was born.
The EquiStat database has since become a popular and accepted source for statistical information for more than 60 disciplines, making it an important part of the Western performance horse industry. Based solely on monetary winnings, the service tracks the earnings of the industry’s top riders, horses, breeders, owners, sires and dams. Known for its accuracy, EquiStat strives to maintain a complete and fair database.
Morris’s contribution to the equine industry is unmistakably historic. AQHA’s recognition of Creek Plantation as Best Remuda will validate Morris’s efforts for generations to come.