50-Year Breeders: Gerald Wildman
50-Year Breeders: Gerald Wildman
Gerald and Dolly Wildman can look out the window of their Glenwood, Minnesota, farmhouse and see their band of broodmares peacefully grazing in the pasture. It’s a view they’ve enjoyed for decades, as they celebrate 50 years as breeders of the American Quarter Horse.
“It has been a lot of fun,” Gerald says. “It wasn’t a full-time deal, it was a hobby on the side.”
Their full-time job was raising hogs and dairy cows, as well as the crops that fed those hogs and heifers. They also raised sons David and Randy, who rode when they were younger.
The Wildmans bought their first horse in 1966, selling two milk cows to acquire the mare Dakota Poco.
They registered their first foals in 1968. Among that first crop was one of their favorites – the mare Lucky Bar Poco, a daughter of that first mare and the stallion Sandy Bar Man. Lucky Bar Poco was highly intelligent and was one you could do anything with. Their kids rode the mare, and she produced good colts for them, becoming one of their foundation broodmares.
“She was just outstanding,” Gerald says.
The Wildmans expanded their breeding operation to meet demand and, at its peak, registered up to 15 foals a year, with more than 150 foals registered over half a century.
They focused on producing the type of horse their customers asked for. Their bloodlines included Sugar Bars, Two Eyed Jack, Pacific Bailey, Zippo Pat Bars, Te N’ Te, Robert Redford and Smart Chic Lena.
“We sold colts all over the United States,” Gerald says.
It included a lot of repeat customers.
While they originally sold 2-year-olds, demand was such that they began selling the horses as weanlings. Horses they raised earned more than 115 AQHA points. Due to an injury, Gerald was unable to ride, so the majority of the points were earned in halter.
One of their best broodmares was Casa War Bar, a daughter of Lucky Bar Poco who was an outstanding producer for their operation. Among the foals she produced for them were the performers Worth A Pac, Gold Enforcer and Larks Limo.
Worth A Pac was a palomino daughter of Pac Bar who competed in the Palomino Horse Breeders of America. Her full brother, Gold Enforcer, also showed in PHBA. Their half-brother was the gelding Larks Limo, a son of Larks Impressive, who earned both halter and performance points. He earned a top-10 placing in 3-year-old geldings at the 1986 Youth World Show with Ben Hinners. The pair also earned a top-10 high-point placing that year. Larks Limo went on to earn his Superior in halter.
Another performer raised by the family was the gelding Eyes Impressive, a halter competitor by Sir Impressive and out of Dondi Bar Poco, another daughter of Lucky Bar Poco.
Their current stallion is a homebred named Docs Pokey Blue, a blue roan son of Great Jab O Lena and out of the Poco Eagle Feather mare Blue Dakota Feather. He carries the blood of legends Doc O’Lena and Great Pine. “Pokey” was never competed due to an injury he suffered as a yearling, but his quality temperament and conformation, as well as his blue roan coat, is passed on to his offspring.
“He’s a pretty horse and he has brains,” Gerald says. “He does a good job for us.”
Dolly was one of the driving forces in their breeding operation.
“We had fun with it, but this wouldn’t have worked without Dolly,” Gerald says. “She was interested in it and did all the paperwork, she kept the records, she named the colts, she’d even tie them separately on the fence line and feed them. It was a family deal.”
Their ideal horse was a mid-sized horse, about 1,200 pounds.
“Muscled up, pretty head, good body, good mind,” Gerald says. “That’s what we try to breed for. Disposition.”
Son Randy is taking over their farming operation. They have five grandkids and 11 great-grandkids to enjoy, and a few broodmares left. They can still watch the newborn babies romp around on the green Minnesota grass from their house window.
“This was our hobby,” Gerald says. “We enjoyed it.”