DT Horses, Bend, Ore.

Spin to Win Rodeo - - Raising The Bar -

DEAN TUFTIN QUAL­I­FIED FOR THE WNFR in 2008 aboard Rich Skel­ton’s AQHA/ PRCA Heel Horse of the Year, Chili Dog, but for 30 years be­fore that, he was rid­ing and train­ing horses of his own. In the decades that pre­ceded his WNFR trip, he learned what he needed to suc­ceed at the high­est level, and to­day his pro­gram re­flects that life­time of ex­pe­ri­ence in the arena.

“Re­ally, if I can put it sim­ple, if I were chas­ing a cow, and I were look­ing for a dog, I’d ride a Bor­der Col­lie that can stop, turn and pay at­ten­tion to the cow,” Tuftin said. “I wouldn’t ride a Grey­hound. Great head horses have to be able to drag their butts and run. I think most of them have plenty of run. The re­ally good ones have plenty of run. You’ve just got to breed the size into the cow horses with a big­ger mare.”

While the vast ma­jor­ity of Tuftin’s 100-plus horses are strictly cow bred, one of his mares, King Snazzy Sugar, is a pa­ter­nal grand­daugh­ter of Fols Na­tive (TB). That mare is the fourth-lead­ing mare of AQHA open per­for­mance points earn­ers and has pro­duced three AQHA world cham­pi­ons.

Tuftin has grown his pro­gram into the AQHA show mar­ket, win­ning five world ti­tles in the rop­ing events in the last four years. DT Horses starts sad­dling its colts as year­lings, starts rop­ing the dummy on them in the fall of their 2-year-old years, and by the time they’re 4, they’re pretty fin­ished, Tuftin said. Not un­like other pro­grams on this list, Tuftin turns to JD Yates for his show­ing ex­per­tise.

“Two years ago at the AQHA World Fi­nals, we went and watched JD, and we won first, sec­ond and third in the pre­lim,” Tuftin said. “I said, ‘Man I could die now.’ Then we won first sec­ond and third in dif­fer­ent or­der in the Fi­nals.”

Tuftin’s pro­gram will move to Scotts­dale, Ariz., this fall, and looks to ex­pand its cowhorse mar­ket—mak­ing his cal­iber of horse more avail­able to the snow­bird team rop­ing mar­ket.


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