Like Father, Like Son
Like Father, Like Son
Horses bring us lots of things. Maybe it’s paychecks or awards, but far more important are the memories and the friendships – the time spent together, or the friends that you never would have met without the help of these special animals.
Rob Pierce of Bishop, California, grew up on his family’s ranch, and as a young man worked as an assistant trainer, but eventually moved away from horses for a while.
“Twice in my life I have walked away from horses,” Rob says. “I met Roy Yates in Colorado in 1993 at a free clinic he was doing, and my life changed after meeting him.”
It was while he was at Yates’ clinic that Rob met a young sorrel colt, Kingsilver Highline, a 1993 sorrel stallion bred by Kathleen Hart of Piedmont, South Dakota.
In 1995, “Sonny” became Rob’s, and the horse and human began a 26-year-long friendship.
Together they earned National Reining Horse Association money, picked up the horse’s superior in amateur reining and went to the AQHA World Championship Show four times.
Sonny marked a 75 in his very last reining run, and hung up his show sliders, but he and Rob continued with many adventures, from working on the ranch to participating in the historic Bishop Mule Days celebrations in their hometown.
More notable than his competition record was Sonny’s temperament.
“He was the kindest horse that ever lived,” Rob says, noting that people often never noticed the horse was still a stallion.
Sonny carried kids and beginners, giving them their first taste of a reining spin. Despite the fact that Sonny was a stallion, Rob never bred him.
After Sonny retired, Rob thought he’d hung up his show chaps for good.
“I’d basically decided to just take care of ol’ Sonny and I had one other horse that I’d loaned out to some kids,” Rob says. “I’d decided to quit showing.”
Fortunately, an old friend, Ron Yribarren, knew better.
“He said I needed one more horse,” Rob says. Ron offered to let him breed Sonny to one of his mares and keep the baby.
After several years of telling his persistent friend no, Rob finally agreed to breed the 19-year-old to the Mr Gray Bonita mare RCY Regret. In 2013, she produced a little sorrel colt that they named RCY Kingsilver Enoch.
“Enoch” spent a year growing up at the ranch, and Rob visited every day – sometimes twice a day.
“I spent a lot of time with him,” he says. “I used to go on walks with him when he was a little colt.”
When Enoch was a yearling, he came home to Rob’s, and began learning, literally at the hip of his daddy, and would turn into a virtual copy of his sire: Sonny is pictured at the top of this article, and Enoch is pictured in the body of the article.
“I just put a ton of time on him,” Rob says. “I’d use Sonny to pony the colt when he was little.”
Enoch learned well from his sire.
“He has been a blessing,” Rob says. “He has been a life saver for me – Sonny's gift to me.”
It had been about a decade since Rob had shown, but the pair trained for and competed at the NRHA Futurity – his friends threw him a pre-Futurity party before they headed for the show – and in 2018 won the Non-Pro Freestyle Reining at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. They also competed in the 2019 Run for a Million Freestyle and qualified for this year’s Run for a Million 50,000 added non-pro reining.
Enoch is trick trained, and they also compete in the International Liberty Horse Association.
“The adventures we have had are amazing, and the people whose lives they have touched are numerous,” Rob says.
Sadly, Sonny passed away earlier this year at the age of 28.
“I will miss my old friend,” Rob says. “My home is out of kilter with him gone.”
Fortunately, Sonny’s son continues on the family legacy of bringing joy to his owner and those who meet him – the most priceless gift a good horse can provide.