Leading ladies

February 28th, 2011

John Scott leads the wagon at Buster Welch's Double Mountain Ranch

When I heard that John Scott, 87, had died last week, I went to my files for a photo to post. I found a picture I’d taken in 2000 of Scott’s five 2-year-old Peptoboonsmal daughters. Two of the five went on to individually earn over $200,000; one won over $90,000; the other two collected $47,823 and $31,526.

How many people have bred two $200,000-plus female cutting earners from the same crop? It’s a short list.

Among the 20 all-time leading breeders of cutting horses, only three have produced two fillies  in the same year that each went on to earn $200,000 or more: Lonnie and Barbara Allsup (Reyann Hickory and Rey Jay Play); Phil and Mary Ann Rapp (Tapt Twice and Little Janey Lena); and Slate River Ranch (Pet Squirrel and Autumn Acre. Glenn and Debbie Drake, who rank among the top 40 cutting horse breeders, raised full siblings of the same age: Pepto Stylish Miss and Miss Stylish Pepto.

Scott was first and foremost a cattle rancher. He and his father, and grandfather before them, raised horses to use on their West Texas and Montana ranches. Cutting horses weren’t their priority, but John loved the sport, and two Scott Ranch stallions – Paddys Irish Whiskey and Doc O Dynamite – sired some outstanding performers. Doc O Dynamite is the maternal sire of Boonsmal O Lena, one of the five Peptoboonsmal daughters, but he and Paddys Irish Whiskey produced winners in rodeo, reining and barrel competition, as well as in cutting.

Along with the photo of the fillies, I also found interviews I’d recorded with John, as he talked about horses. At the time, Scott Ranches had bred over 1,500 registered American Quarter Horses.

John Scott on horses:

  • I don’t think I ever went to a horse outfit in my life that had been breeding horses for a long time, where the majority of their good horses didn’t usually go back to one old mare. She might not have been outstanding, but she was a broodmare.
  • Some of the old cowboys that worked for the big outfits claimed that those half-blood Percherons were the best cowhorses of all of them.
  • In ranching, we like a horse that travels good. But some of the best cutting horses are rough. They said the reason they (used) to lead them to the round up grounds was because they were too rough to ride.
  • I never could look at a horse and tell whether he’d travel easy or not. I guess I always went more for the way one felt than the way he looked. I’ve seen a lot of really good-looking horses that I didn’t like (because of) the way they felt to me.
  • In the early days in Fort Worth, one of the most outstanding young horses was Phil Williams’ Skeeter. He was some horse. Then I liked Fern Sawyer’s old Berlin. He was a Thoroughbred; Skeeter was, too. They were really nice horses in their day.
  • The ability to win – they call it class in race horses.
  • When I was in Montana, we had two ranches and for 20 years, we rode mares on one and geldings on the other. That’s probably one reason my horses turned out good. I would take the best mares and put them in the broodmare band. Those cowboys would sure hate to give them up.