It won’t be a finale.
Yet, the “dispersal” sale planned by Finnerty Ranch Quarter Horses this weekend will be a sharp reduction.
However, MJ Finnerty emphasized, “We’ll still have our ranch horses, and we’re keeping a few yearlings and two-year-olds as well as a colt that should make us a top stud.”
That is a relief for those who have followed the Quarter Horse breeding program’s success dating about 50 years.
It is an operation started by Pat Finnerty as a teenager right on the ranch where the auction is planned Sunday beginning at 12 noon.
“Dad (Pat) always liked and had horses,” MJ pointed out. “I remember him telling me about when he was just 14-years-old, he had some mares. His dad wasn’t liking him having the horses that seemed like an unnecessary added expense to their farming and ranching operations.”
Despite that, Pat Finnerty continued developing the Quarter Horses business with the addition of quality broodmares and stallions from around the country, with some of today’s operation going back to that humble beginning.
“He always saved his own best production to continue improvement while expanding his numbers. Still, Dad was always on the lookout to buy stallions, and even mares, to keep getting better,” MJ emphasized.
Featuring foundation pedigrees, the horses were selected based on performance ability in the pasture and arena, but conscientious attention was always given to conformation, reproductive ability, disposition, and soundness as well, MJ contended.
Cooper Quarter Horses at Emporia decided to have an annual production sale when Russell Klotz quit having an annual Quarter Horse auction after 20 years, and Pat Finnerty became an important part of the Cooper sale.
“We had our horses in every one of the annual Cooper sales, until this year, because we knew we were going to disperse,” MJ clarified.
After Pat Finnerty’s untimely death five years ago, his children including MJ and his twin brother, CJ, and their sisters, Frances and Carrie, plunged forward to continue the respected Quarter Horse breeding program.
“Dad had developed friends and clientele throughout the country,” MJ recognized. “We felt obligated not only to Dad, but also to our family’s many acquaintances who have bought our horses.
“They’re the ones who made many of our production into the horses they had the potential to be, came back to buy more, and told others about our horses,” MJ added.
Obviously the first year was the toughest, and all of the Finnerty siblings pulled their weight to get the weanlings ready and merchandized.
MJ’s wife, Heather, is an important part of the business, too. “She helped out a lot before Dad passed away, but after his death, Heather really stepped up to the plate to guarantee that the horse operation continued,” MJ credited.
“The horse market was still strong then, and our colts continued to sell quite high, compared to what today’s prices are,” MJ said.
Things have changed.
Demand for horses, even those with the inbred cutting horse and ranch horse pedigrees, outstanding conformation and longtime proven working ability, has decreased in the past half decade.
Many of the largest “big-name” Texas Quarter Horse operations have dispersed or sharply reduced.
Additionally, Finnerty family members have gone their separate directions, so to speak.
“CJ works in town, Frances has her own Quarter Horse operation, and Carrie has a few horses, too, but they don’t really want to be involved in such a large breeding program as Dad developed, and we’ve continued,” MJ clarified.
Thus, decision was made to have a major sale.
“We farm about 800 acres and keep 200 momma cows,” MJ tallied. “Even though the farming operation is smaller than we had at one time, it keeps us too busy to continue with the horses the way we were.
An added attraction is the five stallions, which the foals are sired by and that have been mated back to the mare offering. One ranch horse of the famed-lineage will also be on the auction block.Sunday’s sale will feature 61 registered Quarter Horse mares with the 54 weanlings they produced this year.
Concerning the economic aspects of the horse industry, MJ evaluated, “Our Quarter Horses have treated us very well over the years, but ranchers don’t use horses like they did. Four-wheelers have had a negative effect on horse demand.
“Stopping the slaughter of horses in this country has also lowered prices. There is no easy way to get rid of older and un-useable horses. It costs more to keep a horse than it did even a few years ago,” MJ tabulated.
“Plus, the high cost of travel has had an impact on shows,” MJ analyzed. “Dad used to generally always have some of our horses with top trainers showing them to get our name out more. But, it costs so much to haul these horses, that some breeders like us can’t afford it anymore.”
Another important point to MJ and his wife, Heather, is that they have four daughters.
“Our girls will be still riding Finnerty Quarter Horses, going to horse shows, and we want to give them the best opportunity we can,” he contended.
While MJ at one time furnished steers for many of the jackpot ropings throughout the Midwest, that operation has also subsided at the present.
“I like to rope myself, too, but I just haven’t been able to go due to lack of time and because of the costs,” he related.
Thus, it won’t be a finale, but Finnerty Ranch Quarter Horses are going to be shared with others this Sunday.
“The best thing about raising Quarter Horses for us has been all of the friends we’ve made throughout the country.
“Through his buying horses and selling his production, Dad had contacts everywhere. We’ve continued working with those many acquaintances, and there are a lot of them who said they’ll be at our sale.
“This is a horse production sale you won’t want to miss,” MJ guaranteed.