Carrying On a Family Legacy

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Whenever I am asked what I do for a living, my wife cringes when I pull out the, “I sell sperm for a living.” For those who don’t know me, my humor can be a bit dry as I tend to just leave that one sit there a bit. It always goes over well at church when meeting someone new…

Standing stallions is what I do. I am always trying to stand the best stallions we can. I’m proud of our current roster, and hopefully we can get some new studs for 2017. My background and expertise has fine-tuned me for this, and coupled with our location and international distribution network, that makes us unique. We are proud of our world-wide leadership andwhat we’ve done internationally over the past eight years and of our great network of breeders on four continents. If I can be of service, please give me a call as I’d love the opportunity to explain who we are. I’m proud of our track record and history.

We, as a family, counted up the number of stallions that we’ve stood and it’s more than 100. The stallion business is my “wheelhouse,” so to speak. Sure, there are many facets to the horse industry, but what I know best is stallions.

The stallion business is a lot like commercial rental properties and also selling health products. You might be wondering what in the heck I’m talking about, but it’s true. A good commercial sire can service mares for many years as demand will be steady, much like a commercial rental property. Marketing young, unproven studs is a lot like selling health products. Everyone wants to consume quality health products, but what makes product A better than products B and C? Well, opinion comes into play, and also seeking the advice of experts.

When it comes to unproven breeding stock, most people seek the advice of their trainers. There is nothing wrong with that, as trainers have experience dealing with the end result of a mating. But, and I say this out of respect, trainers don’t make a living in the breeding business. Folks like myself do. Don’t come to me for advice on training a horse, I know who the experts are there. I’ve heard my father say this my whole life and I use it myself, “Don’t take advice from someone who doesn’t make a living doing it.” I can’t tell you how much crap I learned in business school from the smartest professors around. Many of them teach business because they don’t have what it takes to be in business. The real world is a different place than the classroom. My favorite lecturer was a 40-year entrepreneur who taught because he wanted to, not because he had to.

I am immensely proud of my heritage and upbringing. I have seen and experienced a lot in my lifetime. I’ve seen what success truly looks like. I’ve experienced severe pain and trauma that comes with life. I’ve seen what happens to good people when you get involved with bad people. I’ve been grateful to see the goodness and pure joy real friendship brings, both personally and professionally. I’ve seen what happens in the business life of someone successful if their private life falls apart – it’s only a matter of time before their professional life will be rocked as well. During the two years I lived in Taiwan, I learned what ying and yang really mean. Life needs balance in order for progress to happen.

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Growing up, I had the perfect childhood with two parents who were totally committed to each other and their kids. The youngest of five children, I grew up with my best friends. My parents were either lucky or crazy, having five kids in eight years! I didn’t know my parents had wealth until I was just shy of high school. Sure, I saw glimpses of success as a kid, but my first pair of new shoes purchased just for me came at around that time. Hand-me-downs were a way of life. I think they pretty much poured as much as they could back into their business. If ever two people were the definition of self-made, it was my parents.

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Before I was born, they stood racing stallions commercially in Utah and Idaho. I was born in Idaho and just two years later, we moved to California after my father got his big break in the horse business. He made a deal with his good friend, the late Ivan Ashment, for his ranch and entire herd of champions in Apple Valley. There, my folks started the first private commercial embryo transfer business in the world, and it was not well accepted at the time. My father has told me many times, “You can tell who the pioneers are because they are the ones with arrows in their backs.”

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My parents had tremendous success in the Quarter Horse racing industry and led the nation in winners from 1988-1992. Their 18-time graded stakes-winning mare Finely Tuned was the first ever Grade 1 winner to have a foal and return to win a race afterward. That foal was carried by a recipient mare. Things that are common today were totally revolutionary back then!

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My childhood memories are filled with days on the ranch and racetracks. In the 1990s, my parents transitioned into Thoroughbred racing. It took a little time, but they followed the same business plan they had in years prior and acquired the best horses they could afford with the best genetics possible. Perhaps their best-known acquisition was 1998 Kentucky Derby winner Real Quiet. He went on to win the Preakness Stakes and was the runner-up in the Belmont Stakes, missing the Triple Crown by just a nose!

I didn’t know what a Western performance horse was until 2001. My father rode a cutting horse in Oklahoma, on buffalo nonetheless – he fell off twice, by the way – and from that moment on, he was hooked. We found out more about cutting horses and the performance horse industry in general and realized that it is very large. The rest is history.

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(My first time on a cutting horse, like my boots?)

My wife and I purchased the family business in 2008. I can say that I have gotten through these past eight years because of the path I’ve traveled thus far in life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the upbringing I had, as well as my clients, many of which are also my dear friends. I consider standing and managing their stallions both a duty and a privilege. We do business as SDP Buffalo Ranch, but the legal entity is actually Legacy Stud LLC. We take what we do seriously and are in it for the long haul. Legacys aren’t built in a day or a decade. Legacys come about through daily devotion, hard work, getting up when you’re knocked down and an unwavering commitment to tomorrow.

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