Friday, May 31, 2024

Horsing Around

Often in life, it’s not about what you know, but about who you know. Well, I know Paul and he knows a lot of cool guys. Like Todd Seeley, who knows a lot about raising horses. Paul's been talking about him and his operation for a long time. So we took advantage of a free day and blew over to Sundance to see Todd and his horses.

The Seeley Ranch surrounds the town of Sundance WY, which is just on the western tip of the Black Hills. In 2020, Todd decided to take up his father's linage of raising horses. He first bought a few mares from Belle Fourche SD, that had blood lines tracing back to his father's horses. Later, he acquired a stud or two and a couple more fillies to get his ball rolling. These guys are three year old studs. They are broke to ride, but will likely remain herd studs. 

We started our venture out by seeing his working arena. His dad built this barn in the early 80's and Todd has made it adaptable to a riding arena or a horse starting facility. Recently, he had this round pen set-up built at his place. It is all made out of floating tarps and rises up to the rafters when you want to use the arena. He's got this nice funnel system that can easily walk an un-haltered horse into the pen. 

Once in, the door drops down by winches and pulleys. There is also a metal frame that rests on the ground. One of the greatest perks of this set-up, is that if a horse slides into the wall, it simply absorbs the pressure and the training goes on. 

This cadillac feature allows Todd to lower all his tack into the pen when he's ready to saddle a colt.  Seems fancy, but when you work as many horses as he does, it's quite practical. 

Next, we went out to see his new born colts. I bet there were 15 broode mares out there, with a good ten colts on the ground. 

So interesting, he keeps a mule around to protect the new born colts. Ole Whitey, knows what her job is and is very grandmotherly to all the horses. Mules are naturally protective and would have no problem stomping out a mountain lion if one came roaming around. 

This little guy is about five days old. He'll probably be a buckskin in the long run. 

This is one of the original mares that Todd bought. Beautiful sorrel. 

He does a good job making sure all the mares are gentle. Some are broke to ride and others aren't. But you can walk up and pet them all. This little guy asleep in the grass is only a day old. Mom's pretty proud. 

Having gentle mares makes for gentle colts. 

Little square-head is about as friendly as they come. 

Hey buddy. 

What's fun about raising colts, is that you never know what you are going to get. Baby isn't necessarily going to look like mama. On top of that, you really don't know what shade of horse they are going to be until they have a year or so on them. This little guy is still a mystery. 

Mom's don't have an abundance of milk like a cow, but enough that the babies don't get to far away. Horses have an 11 month gustation period and you can breed them one year after another. 

After that thrill, we traveled over to the west end of the ranch to check out his moms to be. 

These horses were all raised on the ranch and will be the full-on beginning of Todd's horse raising legacy. They are twos and threes, and will probably be bred when they are four. 

Such a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. 

One thing they all have in common, though, is that they're friendly. It'll sure make for a good selling point when you can show the quality of a colt's mother to a potential buyer. 

Life is good. 

Now, that's Ranchin'!

What a privilege. Paul and I were super thankful for the opportunity to see horse raising at its finest. They say a man's horse is indicative of his person. Definitely true here. Todd is as honest and friendly as the horses he raises. All I can say is, keep up the good work, pard. You are well on the way of providing America with the quality stock needed to keep her cowboy. The world could use a few more good men like Todd Seeley. 

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