Performance Horse Training
When the McFarlanes decided to add a performance horse program to the Home Ranch, they did so with one aim: to take well-bred young horses and develop them into elite athletes and solid partners; to make them “the best that they can be,” as Courtney McFarlane- Kennedy says. That’s why they hired rising reined cow horse star Gusti Buerger to head up the operation. Scott McFarlane and his daughter Courtney are now building an equine program that will produce some of the top ranch and performance cow horses in the country.
Hiring Buerger is the solid foundation of the high aspirations of their training program as Gusti is tailor-made for the job: she has a deep Colorado ranching background and a rock star record on the National Reined Cow Horse Association circuit. Buerger and her assistant trainer, Cassidee Wood, are committed to working with each individual’s unique talents and personality and all Home Ranch Performance Horses are selected young—generally as yearlings or two-year-olds—for bloodlines, natural cow sense, and exceptional athletic potential. From this stable starting point, each horse will receive specifically-tailored training to build confidence and develop well-rounded skills in reining, cutting, and fence work; all toward the goal of preparing their bodies and minds for the NRCHA’s most prestigious competitions, including the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity.
The Home Ranch Performance Horses string currently consists of 5 fantastic quarter horses and in the coming years will grow to 12 to 15 head. Keep checking back to follow the program’s acquisitions and successes!
Performance Horses ~
Meet The Horses
Physicality ~ AKA Blackjack
Known around the barn as “Blackjack”: This 5-year-old black gelding by “Magicality” out of Shirley Shine is all business. He may not be the most outgoing horse in the stable, but he loves his job. “He’s just a super physical horse, incredibly athletic, physical, can kill a turn,” Buerger says. And although he’s well-rounded, he shows particular talent in fence work. Blackjack has already been showing in the Derbies—in 2020, he placed in both Idaho and Utah last year, in the Limited and Novice Horse divisions. And since he is still maturing, Buerger thinks he will only improve as he gains experience and confidence.
Quizzicality ~ AKA “Cinnamon”
A sorrel 4-year-old gelding and full brother to Blackjack, Cinnamon is a lover—sensitive and in-your-pocket. And he’s just laid back enough to fool the competition. For such an elite athlete, he’s surprisingly quiet when out for a casual ride, but the minute he steps into the arena he turns it on, showing off his fancy movement and super-tuned-in cow sense. “He’s got a heart of gold and he tries so hard,” Buerger says. Like his brother, Cinnamon is a good all-around competitor, but he excels at the herd work. In 2020, he placed in the Limited Open division at the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity and narrowly missed the Limited Open finals at the Fort Worth Snaffle Bit Futurity.
Very Sharp Cat ~ Barn name “Lionel”
This 3-year-old red roan by “Very Smart Remedy” out of Magicat has mostly been tag- ging along with his older barn mates—he loves being buddies with all the other equines —and getting used to the hustle and bustle of the show world. But the sweet, willing, and talented gelding has a big goal for 2021: Competing at the NRCHA futurities. Though young, Lionel is already proving himself gifted in all of the events, but may show special promise for fence work.
Cash N On Time ~ Better known as “Poppy”
As a 2-year-old, this palomino filly by “One Time Pepto” out of Vanda Spark is just get- ting started. This year will be all about building her confidence under saddle—she only has 45 to 60 rides on her—and teaching her “how to be a horse.” But, Buerger says, she has already shown that she is easygoing, amiable, and wants to get things right. In short, Poppy is a pleasure.
Mowtallic ~ Just call him “Peanut”
This sorrel 2-year-old gelding is by Metallic Cat out of Bowman Fancy Pepto. Though he hasn’t yet begun his training with Buerger, the trainer was drawn to him thanks to his flashy looks, good movement, and exceptional breeding.