Quails Dun Remedy Owned by Chris Bethune
Quails Dun Remedy * Photo by Shania Whitford

Rope Horse-Turned-Reined Cow Horse Quails Dun Remedy Continues to Amaze

The natural order of things in the horse industry says that a horse starts in reined cow horse and, if he doesn’t excel, finds another discipline to practice. Rarely, if ever, does it work the other way around.

Quails Dun Remedy is a very notable exception to that rule.

The dun stallion by Very Smart Remedy started his life as a rope horse, but has forged a successful career as a reined cow horse. In fact, Chris Bethune’s stallion and trainer Cody Patterson were the 2021 National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) Open Bridle and Limited Open Bridle National Champions.

In May, Quails Dun Remedy competed at the Southwest Reined Cow Horse Association’s Wild Rag Cattle Classic in Fort Worth, Texas. Fans and fellow riders know him by sight, thanks to his dun coloring, big size and multiple ranch brands.

“This horse of ours I mean, he’s definitely like something different,” Patterson said of the 9-year-old stallion, who has a noticeable No. 4 freeze brand on his cheek. “Everybody knows him. He’s just a great big dun horse and he’s got [a] big year iron on the side of his face.”

Nicknamed “Reno,” the stallion’s journey started when Patterson was looking for a cow horse prospect for Bethune, who raises horses in South Texas. At the time, the dun stud was a finished rope horse and had won money in ranch versatility with Bo Crutchfield for the horse’s owner-breeder, Bill Crutchfield.

Quails Dun Remedy is no stranger to the Will Rogers Memorial Facility arenas. * Photo By Jenna Evans

“He had been turned out with mares all Spring and I actually got to try him for a month, because he wasn’t legged up to go try,” Patterson explained. “They just sent him over and let me ride him for 30 days to see if we liked him or not. He just kind of felt like a good horse. He just kept getting better and better all the time.”

They decided they definitely liked him, and Bethune became the 5-year-old horse’s new owner.

Though the stallion knew a lot of the basics of reined cow horse from his versatility ranch training, he had to play catch up to compete in the NRCHA, Patterson said.

The horse was athletic, but the trainer believes it is the horse’s mind that enabled him to pick up the discipline so fast.

“You could probably train him to do anything … he’s just super trainable,” Patterson said. “I think if I wanted to do a different event on him, I could just take the time to teach him. It wouldn’t really matter what it was.”

The Show Pen

He earned his first paychecks in reined cow horse in 2019 in Limited Open Hackamore events. The next year, he competed in a variety of Open Two-Rein, Limited Open Hackamore and Limited Open Bridle classes — including at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, NRCHA Eastern Derby, NRCHA Celebration of Champions and several smaller shows.

*Photo By Gracey Taylor

It was 2021, though, where they really hit the road. In addition to competing at many events in and around Texas, they went West to earn points in the Open Bridle and Limited Open Bridle for the NRCHA’s year-end National Championship. The campaign included money-winning efforts at the NRCHA Western Derby, and a return to the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity show.

By the end of the show year, they’d accumulated 218 points in the Open Bridle and 236 in the Limited Open Bridle, winning both championships. After a break to freshen up from the long championship campaign, he’s back showing and currently has earnings of $22,142 on his EquiStat record.

Deep Texas Roots

Quails Dun Remedy also brings interesting bloodlines to the mix. His sire, EquiStat Elite $3 Million Sire Very Smart Remedy, was an exceptionally successful and well-known sire in the reined cow horse industry. The mother of Quails Dun Remedy—Quails Dun Holly —hails is not from the reined cow horse industry, but instead has roots several generations deep in the JJ O’Brien Ranch, a 130-year-old family-run operation in Beeville, Texas.

The O’Brien family — Dick O’Brien bred Quails Dun Holly, while earlier generations of the stallion’s family were bred by the late John Morgan O’Brien and his father, John J. O’Brien — bred horses from at least five generations of Quails Dun Remedy’s maternal family. It’s important to include the caveat of “at least” due to the fact that the ranch has been in operation longer than the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) has been registering horses. The AQHA paper trail detailing the O’Briens connection breeding horses in Quails Dun Remedy’s family ends in the 1930s, but there’s a good chance the ranch’s influence on his lineage started even earlier.

Quails Dun Remedy * Photo by Gracey Taylor

Quails Dun Remedy isn’t the only one from the immediate family winning in the show pen. The O’Brien family showed Quails Yellow Berry (by Quails Dun Berry) to the 2015 AQHA Amateur Tie-Down Calf Roping Reserve World Championship.

The bloodline of Quails Dun Remedy is also unique because, unlike the majority of horses winning in the reined cow horse discipline, his pedigree does not include High Brow Cat, Peptoboonsmal or Dual Rey.

The Future of Quails Dun Remedy

Though he’s still showing, Quails Dun Remedy is standing to the public at Peak Performance Equine in Granbury, Texas.

He already has foals on the ground. His first crop of six AQHA-registered foals were born in 2018. One of those, Dun Remedys Leo Otoe, won $4,000 in heeling at last year’s Riata Buckle Futurity. The first crop of foals bred by his current owner, Chris Bethune, are 2-year-olds this year.

So far, the stallion has been putting good size and bone on his offspring, Patterson said.

“We’re just going to look and see what the 2-year-olds are going to make,” he said. “So far, they act pretty good. They’re pretty good-minded, like he is.”

Though the stallion’s breeding career is already underway, his show career isn’t over. He’s still competing in reined cow horse, and Patterson said it’s possible he might take a shot at the World’s Greatest Horseman competition next year. After all, the stallion already knows how to rope. He also couldn’t rule out the possibility of maybe sending Quails Dun Remedy back to the roping pen some day.

With a horse of so many talents and a willingness to learn, the possibilities are endless.