Horsewoman raises quality stock
Since the day she was born, Krystal Peterson has been crazy about horses.
“I was born horse crazy, and my grandpa encouraged it in any way he could,” Krystal says. “When I was a little girl, he would haul me to horse shows and sit patiently all day while I entered nearly every class.”
As she got older, Krystal and her grandpa continued hauling to gymkhanas and then to high school and college rodeos.
At these competitions Krystal competed on her horse Rebel, a foal she raised at just 12 years old, by Blues Brother Pat, a son of Roan Light by Lightning Bar crossed on a daughter of Three Bars.
“Rebel was out of my dad’s Appaloosa elk-packing mare, so I got some laughs he wasn’t a Quarter Horse – until I started to compete on him,” states Krystal. “Rebel was a great all-around horse, and I mean true all-around. I roped, barrel raced, ranched and did all the show events including jumping on him.”
Turning to Quarter Horses
Krystal notes she spent her childhood riding Appaloosas because they were the breed her dad loved most.
“They were good, hard-working horses. Between my grandpa, dad and I, we roped, barrel raced and packed elk on them,” says Krystal. “I even dabbled in raising Paints for a few years.”
However, after realizing the buyers aren’t in it if the color isn’t there when raising both Paints and Appaloosas, Krystal decided to turn to raising Quarter Horses instead. Today, Krystal and her two boys Colt, 14, and Remington, 10, own and operate the highly revered and recently rebranded 307 Quarter Horses, headquartered in Lusk.
“I am an American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) 20-year breeder and an AQHA national director,” notes Krystal. “I love this breed and the history behind it. The bloodlines fascinate me, and I have been blessed to own some really neat ‘old-school’ race bred mares.”
A home-raised stallion
In addition to her horse Rebel, 307 Quarter Horses is also home to Krystal’s first home-raised stallion FlitYeahImaFirewater, a 2013 palomino son of Firewater Finale out of an AA race winning Shoot Yeah mare, also known as Gunner.
“We have owned quite a few stallions through the years, but Gunner is the first one we raised. He is really something special,” states Krystal. “His dam was such a neat horse, so we made the decision to breed her to an up-and-coming stallion that was winning at the top level in mounted shooting and at the barrel futurities.”
Krystal notes she actually wasn’t looking for a stallion prospect when Gunner came along, but her old stallion was nearing the end of his breeding career.
“Gunner came along at just the right time,” she says.
For several years after his arrival on the ranch, the Peterson family used Gunner as a ranch horse, where they ultimately appreciated him for his work ethic and friendly disposition.
Today, Gunner is the backbone of the Peterson’s unique breeding program.
“We currently own four mares of our own and breed 25 to 30 outside mares each year via live cover or shipped semen,” explains Krystal. “I have been adding Gunner to new barrel racing incentives each year as his foals are just now of competition age. It has really paid off with more interest in his foals and he’s breeding some really nice mares.”
She continues, “The feedback is great from people who own his foals – well-made and pretty with an intelligence making them easy to work with.”
Chasing racing bloodlines
Because she grew up barrel racing and watching horse racing with her grandpa, Krystal notes race lines have always been her favorite.
“I ranched for 20 years on horses we raised and nearly every one of them was out of race bred stock,” she explains. “We found they had the work ethic we needed and the size to stay sound in big, rough pastures. Very few were hot and every one had the natural ability to work cattle.”
Additionally, Krystal points out her late stallion VF Burrs Eye was a son of Burrs First Down by First Down Dash.
“He was a ranch horse with so much cow. Just a favorite to ride and a work ethic we can only dream of until a career-ending injury left him as just a breeding stallion. He has offspring that have placed high at The Patriot, Xtreme Million and Jr. American Qualifiers, AQHA point earners, Novice Championship Qualifiers and have been named National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) Youth World Champions,” says Krystal.
While Krystal notes it’s hard for her to pick a favorite bloodline, she also points out the Corona Cartel granddaughters have worked really well in her breeding program and First Down Dash will always have a special place in her heart.
“I would love to add more Ivory James daughters someday,” she says. “They are just kind, pretty and when crossed on Gunner, they are the entire package.”
A focus on outcrossing
Krystal further notes, when it comes to her breeding program she tries to outcross as much as possible, which she admits is becoming harder and harder these days.
Since Gunner doesn’t have any Dash for Cash in his pedigree, he works as a great cross on many of the top barrel racing bloodlines such as Frenchman’s Guy, Dash Ta Fame, On The Money Red, etc., according to Krystal.
“I am not against seeing the same sire or dam on a pedigree here or there, but to have a nice outcrossing is refreshing,” she says.
Krystal also explains she is a firm believer in pasture-raising foals while they are on the mare and after they are weaned.
“It is just so good for their structure and mind,” she says. “I have earned a nice reputation for raising sound horses through the years. Trainers put so much time and money into performance horses, the last thing they need is soundness issues, which, in my opinion, are often man-made with poor nutrition and lack of exercise as youngsters.”
After years of pouring her blood, sweat and tears into making 307 Quarter Horses the success it is today, Krystal admits she has seen some well-deserved accomplishments come her way.
According to Krystal, one of her proudest accomplishments was receiving pictures and articles of Malayna Thompson and Jackies Sweetsuccess, the first filly bred by VF Burrs Eye, winning an NBHA World Championship.
“It was really exciting,” Krystal says. “Her dam was a Bob Jordan bred mare we had ranched on, so having the first foal be so successful was inspiring.”
“We also get such a kick out of seeing horses wearing our brand competing and winning at the elite levels,” she continues. “It’s something I think every breeder dreams of – to see those pictures turning a barrel and wearing our brand on the hip. It takes so many years for a stallion’s offspring to reach a performance age, it can feel like an eternity, but when the first baby wins big, it makes it all worth it.”
Additionally, Krystal notes she started sponsoring a Homegrown Award at the Fizz Bomb, GridIron and Colorado Classic Barrel Futurities a few years ago after getting the idea from another long-time Quarter Horse breeder who sponsors the Homegrown Award at the South Dakota Futurity.
“I asked her if I could do something similar because I thought she had such a great idea – how cool to earn an award as a breeder, owner and rider,” she says. “I mean you have all the expenses, dreams and hopes wrapped up in a one person/horse team. They deserve an award for their hard work.”
When it comes to the future of 307 Quarter Horses, Krystal says there are some big changes coming.
“We are in the middle of buying some property. It won’t happen right away, but I definitely have a plan to make it a beautiful horse facility,” she explains. “I always dream of buying more mares. Broodmare window shopping is my favorite hobby.”
Krystal also notes there are big incentives in the industry for barrel stallions and 307 Quarter Horses is on the waiting list for several, which will help increase the value and popularity of Gunner.
The Peterson family is also excited about up-and-coming horses in their program. In fact, Krystal explains she breeds one of her mares to an outside stallion every year, and this year she bred her Blushing Bug daughter to Tres Fortunes.
“This will be an exciting cross, and we already have a lot of interest in the foal,” she states. “We also have our Ivory James daughter booked in advance to Stoli. I owned a son of his years ago for a short time and he was a phenomenal horse. The baby will be a keeper.”
Krystal further explains she normally sells all of her foals but this year she kept back a filly out of an AAA daughter of First Wrangler called Aint Miss Behavin307.
“She is getting a few more rides with Katie Bennett before I send her to Brandee Wardell for barrel training,” says Krystal. “She’s a stunning futurity prospect and will be available this summer.”
For more information, visit 307quarterhorses.com.
Hannah Bugas is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.