The mares run on Long Pines rangeland, even during the summer foaling season. The exceptions are what Deb calls her geriatric bunch, who are brought to a pasture next to the house. The band is herded to the corrals late fall, foals are weaned, and the mares are returned to pasture. Weanlings are kept at the ranch headquarters, where they get fed free-choice prairie hay plus Chaffhaye, and Sterling Brown groundworks them during the winter. Then the yearlings go to the range.
“I like to keep our prospects until they are riding well so that we have a really good idea of what our horses are producing,” says Deb. But the demand has been so strong that the prospects have been snatched up by buyers about as early as Deb lets them go.
“I’m really excited about how the mares we have out of Judgemental cross with great cow lines like Bettin Yer Smart,” says Sterling. An example is Truth and Justice, who’s produced 2020 and 2021 fillies. Long Pines has also introduced Star Rays to its remuda, a Gallo Del Cielo and Dual Rey granddaughter, who will be a broodmare down the road.
The 2022 foal crop will include a few out of AJ Oak Rocker, owned by Lunn Nixon of Alzada, MT. “This stallion is a perfect example of the national caliber horses in our region that just didn’t get campaigned extensively. Rocky is by PC Ikewood Oaks -- who is a son of Docs Oaks Sugar -- another regional stallion that is a huge hit especially with ropers. Rocky was a standout in AQHA junior cow horse, heading and heeling. We’ve seen what he can produce and have a great deal of confidence that this will be a great outcross on several of our mares,” says Deb.
"I think about the amount of speed, versatility, good foot work and grit that reined cow horses must have to turn a cow down the fence. And it’s those same skills that Sterling needs in his ranch horses, plus what ropers and barrel racers need. I've always liked the cow horses because you can transition them into other skills really fast,” sums up Deb.