50-Year Breeders: Kansas State University

50-Year Breeders: Kansas State University

From 51 colt crops, K-State has produced 480 foals, including eight AQHA Register of Merit earners.

Double Dove broodmare and foal

text size

It all started in 1959, when a dun mare named Kansas Coed foaled a like-colored colt by King Flit. And in the intervening years, what has developed is a breeding program that offers a variety of valuable, real-life opportunities for students at Kansas State University in Manhattan.

Sterling Buist, Ph.D., is the horse unit manager, and she handles the breeding program as well as teaching the training classes.

On the breeding side, K-State owns a son of Peptoboonsmal, Millenium One, donated to the school by Dave and Beth Bashor. Sixes Sixgun, a stallion who found renown in the ranch-horse world and is owned by Dwayne Walker’s Tee Jay Quarter Horses, spends the breeding season at K-State. K-State also stands other outside stallions, managed by either the horse unit or the veterinary school. The mares in the breeding program are predominately KSU-raised, and Sterling often asks stallion owners to donate breedings from ranch or reining lines, so the school is producing horses that are both good-minded for students to work with and marketable.

Animal science students are involved in all aspects of the program. “They help me get the mares in foal, they foal the mares out in the foaling class,” Sterling says. The foaling-class students have naming parties in which they brainstorm name recommendations, all starting with the “KSU” prefix. The colts continue their contributions when they go through the training classes, including a weanling halter-starting class, in which the horses learn to lead, load in a trailer, have their feet handled and longe lightly. In the spring of the horses’ 2-year-old-year, they go through an advanced groundwork class, and that fall, they go into a colt-starting class.

From there, some of the horses are sold private treaty, while others go to a catalog sale in Salina, Kansas. A few of the standout ranch or performance-bred horses go through K-State’s beef cattle Legacy Sale the first Friday in March. Again, students are involved in all aspects of preparing the horses to be sold.          

The K-State horse unit works closely with the university’s vet school, and Sterling says it’s a great collaboration, pairing industry with academia. The students have benefitted, with some going on to internships at legendary facilities like the Lazy E and Four Sixes Ranch, and some starting careers doing repro work in the industry.

From 51 colt crops, K-State has produced 480 foals, including eight AQHA Register of Merit earners.