By Christine HamiltonThe American Quarter Horse JournalSeptember 3, 2013
Jean, Amanda and Jason Seymour of Olathe, Colorado, at the 2013 AQHA Region Seven Championship in Salina, Utah. (Journal photo)
Earl and Jean Seymour of Olathe, Colorado, have made American Quarter Horses as much a part of their children’s growing up as breathing.
“Our kids (Laurie, Adam, Jason and Amanda) are the fifth generation on our farm,” explains mom Jean. “My husband runs our farm and feedlot. We farm about 350 acres and raise Olathe sweet corn besides our feedlot feed. We do custom cattle, just under 1,000 head, and we have 220 mother cows we run on the mountain.”
The mountain is Grand Mesa, north of Olathe, referred to as the largest flat top mountain in the world. The Seymours have a cattle permit there. In addition to working on the farm, Jean substitute teaches.
“The kids … work on our farm a lot, feed cattle, drive equipment, besides doing sports – Jason does football and basketball and Amanda does volleyball and basketball,” Jean describes. “We ride on the mountain two or three times a week in summer and fall….
“When Jason was 5, he said he didn’t want to go to kindergarten because who was going to help Daddy pull the sick calves at the feedlot? … And Laurie always said a cowgirl is not afraid to get dirty. They have all been out there processing cattle when it’s zero degrees. They are ranch kids.”
But they also show their Quarter Horses and on a rancher’s budget.
“We’ve shown a lot of open shows, and AQHA shows on a limited basis because of where we live,” Jean says. “When we go to Denver (AQHA) shows, it’s two big mountain passes to get over, and when we (go to Utah), it’s one or two mountain passes.”
Earl grew up in two of the four houses on the Seymour's ranch. Jean lived in Douglas County, near Denver where her father was the oil shale director for the State of Colorado. Both were involved with 4-H in high school, and met at a convention; they married in 1985. Jean grew up showing horses and Earl showed steers, so it was natural for their kids to show cattle, hogs and horses.
Laurie successfully showed her gelding Bedazzled By Black in English classes and earned a youth performance Register of Merit; now married, Laurie lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Adam is more interested in ranch horses and is a senior at Colorado State University; this summer he worked for a large ranch on the Colorado/Wyoming border.
Jason, 17, showed Two Jacks Sun in all-around classes for years, and has now passed the seasoned gelding on to Amanda, 14. Jason now shows reining and cow horse classes with Smart Wiskey Pistol – they finished Top-10 in youth boxing at the 2013 Built Ford Tough AQHYA World Championship Show.
“We can only afford young horses or horses that have issues,” Jean says with a smile. “When we bought ‘Jack’ (Two Jacks Sun), he’d take two trot steps and one lope step. Jason did everything on him. Laurie’s black horse we bought as an 18-month-old. ... Jason’s new mare has had some issues he’s had to work through.”
The Seymour kids work with their horses largely on their own, although they’ve gotten a little help when they could. Jason once rode with AQHA Professional Horseman Kelly McDowall for a couple of days. Laurie got help with her gelding from trainer Jeff Avaritte and did a work-study with him to pay for the board. And trainer Aaron Ralston has recently helped Jason with his new mare.
“My kids have never had a lot of (formal) lessons,” Jean says. “Before this past year, Jason had never had a lesson other than that weekend at the McDowalls.' Amanda might have had three, and Laurie, five or six. It’s because we’re farmers and can’t afford anything!” Jean makes the girls' show clothes and chaps.
They first hauled to shows in the ranch stock trailer with living quarters in the front that Jean and Laurie had made out of foam walls. Their current trailer’s living quarters is the tack room that Jean and Laurie remodeled.
“There’s no shower, but it has a port-a-potty,” Jean says. “It has a refrigerator and a sink and it sleeps four pretty comfortably. If we have company come to a show, we can sleep eight in it! We’ll clean out the back and put beds and cots back there. … It’s a nice trailer, and people look at it and they can’t believe that we did all the work.”
At least two of the Seymour children have shown in all of the four AQHA Region Seven Championships that have been held in Salina, Utah. Laurie, Jason and Amanda have both won youth regional championships and Jason has won the Markel Insurance youth all-around Tex Tan award saddle with Jack.
And Jean smiles big when she says: “They are true ranch kids.”
The American Quarter Horse Journal loves to feature the hard-working AQHA exhibitor, and In the Spotlight is the Journal’s fun new way to do so. Do you know a hard-working AQHA competitor who deserves some time in the limelight? Email AQHA Internet Editor Tara Matsler at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit story ideas, then visit www.aqha.com/inthespotlight to view more In the Spotlight stories.
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