THE PHILIPP FAMILY FOALS out 40 to 50 broodmares at their Texas ranch annually, and they keep most of the foals until they’re 4- or 5-year-olds to sell in their annual production sale. The program, founded by Johnnie and Kathy Philipp more than 30 years ago, features foundation bloodlines that trace back to King.
“We want horses that are big enough to head on,” said John Philipp, the second generation of Philipp running the operation with brother Shane. “A nicesized horse that will hold up and do the job. Nowadays, the cutters keep getting smaller and smaller and finer-boned and littler-footed, and just about 10 percent are big enough to head on. We’re looking for head-horse types. We want them to watch a cow, but have the size to pull a steer and do the job. Our stud is a Dun Commander—Old King breeding, out of a Rocket Wrangler mare, so he has some run. I’m a fan of the Shining Sparks. They all can run and stop, so we have a Shining Spark stud, too. We’ve ridden a lot of our mares, so they have a performance record. They’re just as
important if not more important than the studs.”
The Philipp family is are raising horses for the meat of the market—the general team roping public. They strive to put a foundation on their horses that makes them a pleasure to ride, John said.
John and Shane Philipp both have ridden their horses in the professional ranks, pulling checks everywhere from Cheyenne, Wyo., to Beaumont, Texas. They start their colts as 2-year-olds and, put 30 to 60 rides on them, then kick them back out. Then they put each colt on a cow or ranch on them when they’re 3, and start roping on them at 4.
“I’ll buy a few prospects,” John said. “I’ll try some different bloodlines, but nowadays it’s hard to go buy those horses. The size just isn’t there. That’s why we try to raise them.”
The Phillip Ranch sells its colts and saddle horses each May at the Brazos County Expo Center in Bryan, Texas.