Strong relationships can exist between a cowboy and his stallion.
When our longtime Quarter Horse sire passed away recently, we lost a close friend and important partner. Zane was his call name, and few actually knew the 27-year-old gray stallion’s name was Trouble Steel Bar.
Besides our personal strong affection for the stud, there was consensual admiration among those who were ever affiliated with Zane one way or another. Our bereavement was shared by many. Not the least of those feeling the loss are the many mares, girlfriends might we contend, that he serviced in his lifetime.
Already a five-year-old before we became acquainted, Zane was bred, owned and standing for a lifelong breeder in Lone Rock, Iowa. Our search was for a gray stallion, with emphasis on color, along with quality and disposition, more than pedigree and performance ability.
Our heroes and good customers, E.C. Roberts, Russell Klotz and Duane Walker raised gray horses, and found the color added dollars at sale time. That was our main incentive behind Zane’s purchase.
Unlike most horses we’ve bought, the decision wasn’t immediate for Zane. We made a second trip northeast and came home with him. Already a proven sire, he was hand mated to 25 mares during his first season with us.
Then Zane went to the pasture and didn’t like coming out. Oh, he didn’t mind being caught, handled, ridden and driven, but when it came to doing his business as a stallion, Zane wanted to do it “his way, when and where he wanted.”
Attempts to hand or pen mate him, like many stallions are managed, didn’t fit Zane’s fancy. He wasn’t mean or anything, but Zane evidently just didn’t like to love in public. The stud could be penned up for several days and get some servicing done. He was even collected and mated artificially a few times. Zane liked his pasture ritual by far best.
Gentle to ride, Zane was used on a limited basis as our ranch mount. Fond memories come from driving him for rides during family gatherings, in parades and in our son’s wedding party leaving the church.
His main purpose was breeding, and Zane was a true sire in every sense of the word.
Zane’s progeny included 275 registered Quarter Horses and at least another 31 Pinto and grade foals. That does not include this year’s crop, which should number 14. Most stallions can’t claim near that many offspring.
Best thing about it is that Zane’s foals have his super disposition, conformation and ability, and many of them were gray. We feel fortunate to have over three dozen of his young remaining in our foundation herd, not including this year’s babies.
Some of his descendents are very intensely linebred, which will permit us to draw on his greatness forever in our breeding program. Additionally, we have a restricted amount of Zane’s semen in storage for future use.
Several of his get have been shown in registered competition and collected a notable number of points. Most of his production has made top riders for family, ranch, trails riding and open shows, plus excellent and breeding horses. There are sons and daughters, plus grand get, great grand get and even a few great great grand get around the country.
While aging was evident, Zane’s condition and health remained strong through most of the past year. During the winter, he started losing weight, yet continued coming to evening grain feed and ruling the dozen broodmares in his band. He may have settled a couple of mares already this spring.
Although Zane could have been placed in a barn, fed rations formulated for aging horses and perhaps lived longer, he would not have been happy cooped up. Slower than usual coming for grain the day before passing, Zane was still getting around just a few hours before he layed down, was unable to get up and passed away.
Zane is buried on a small knoll overlooking the ranch headquarters, beside horses, B Bar and Trigger, and dogs, Bandit and Purdie. A monument will likely be placed at the gravesite.
Our close friend and great partner, Zane was truly a blessing and will always be remembered and appreciated.