So when I rather unexpectedly sold Wave, I faced the difficult prospect of finding a new horse. I went to Idaho and Oregon and realized to find what I wanted could be a frustrating, time-consuming experience. I have always dreamed of getting a well bred young prospect, and my internet searches led me to the Jud Little Ranch production sale. In less than a week I made the decision to go, and what an experience it was. A huge thanks to Dick and Kendall Herr for letting me stay with them at their beautiful ranch in Gainsville, TX, and for helping me deal with the idea of buying a horse at an auction. I was very nervous.
Four of the three year olds were with champion barrel trainer Lyndee Stairs in Hanford, CA, and I spoke to her a number of times about each of them. I flew to Dallas on Friday and drove to the Jud Little ranch in Springer, OK where Lyndee rode the prospects for me. There were two in particular I was interested in, but not knowing what they would go for was unnerving. After she finished riding Jud himself drove up, and after chatting for a bit said, come see the stallions, Becky, so we went to the stallion barn. The whole ranch is incredible, 1,600 acres, 200' x 400' out door arena, indoor arena, swimming pool for the horses, etc. So I should have known the stallion barn would be just as beautiful; rubber brick aisleway, 20 x 20 stalls with gorgeous, huge paddocks surrounded by a 1/2 mile track. I had the pleasure of meeting the 28 year old Cash Not Credit, Jud's first stallion, an own son of the famous Dash For Cash. Cash Not Credit does not stand at stud to the public, he is only used on Jud Little mares. He has produced three world champions and his get have $1 million in barrel racing earnings. (A Jud Little mare sired by Cash Not Credit was fourth this year at the Ellensburg Rodeo and third at the Pendleton Roundup, won Moses Lake and the Caldwell Rodeos.) I was very impressed.
Jud invited Lyndee and I to the office for a glass of wine, and what a treat it was. Dozens of trophy saddles hung from the rafters, and three world champion saddles were on the floor. The shelves were packed with AQHA World Champion trophies, and the walls covered with incredible accomplishments. I was in heaven, and knew I had come to the right place. Jud gave me a DVD, "From Start To Finish," featuring his trainers (he had about 30 employees, and called the cute cowgirls his jockeys), a cell phone holder for the truck, and a print of the painting of his three generations of world champion mares, and signed it--"Becky, enjoy the ride."
Afterwards I happily drove to Gainesville to see Dick and Kendall, and stayed up late into the night talking dogs and horses. They were wonderful hosts. Saturday morning I woke to the sun rising over the broad Texas horizen and a band of broodmares and foals trotting by my window. The dogs and chickens were fun, too, but Dick has about 70 fabulous cutting horses, and I was in awe. I needed more time to see all there was to see.
Back I went to the Jud Little ranch, but this time the pastures were full of cars of people there for the sale. With Dick's help I had decided I was going to wait for the filly I wanted, the 3 year old Toye N With Cash, by the wonderful Cash Not Credit and out of an NFR backup mare. Toye was big and black and Lyndee really liked her, and the first time I saw her, she swung her big head and laid it on my chest, waiting for a rub. How could I resist? (Gee, I sound like a puppy buyer!) Anyway, the difficulty was she was #34 in the sale, so I had to wait and let my other favorites go by. There was a barbque dinner and open bar, but I was too nervous to enjoy any of it.
The bidding began with a gorgeous, beautifully bred palomino yearling, and continued to my second favorite, a bay Frenchman's Guy daughter. She sold for a very reasonable price. I was already dying with nerves that I couldn't just get it over with and bid on her, but I had a game plan. Finally, Toye comes out. Dick had told me not to start bidding early, so I sat in horror while the bidding began fast and furious. I was light headed and had no feeling in my hands, but as the bidding slowed, I raised my card. The guys flagging the bids were SCREAMING as cards were raised, the auctioneer was rattling, Linda, Kate, and my sister were all frantically texting me, watching the auction live online, and I was scared to death. The bidding stalled at a great price, and I was excited. Then it started up again with a frenzy, and the cheapskate in me could barely bring myself to bid. I had wanted a bargain. Finally, a little voice in my head screamed--bid, darn it, she is not yet at the limit you set for yourself! So I kept bidding and got her. I was so relieved I could barely breathe, and when the woman in front of me turned around and said--"We are going to be reading about you, that mare is going to make you famous" I burst into tears. She was mine. :)
I finalized my transportation arrangements, wrote my check (Yes, dear, they were free horses, its been a tough year out there), and drove back to the airport. It was truly an incredible experience, maybe even one of the most amazing weekends of my life. I am happy, and can't wait to have her home. I think dog shows are really going to take a back seat now. ;-)