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The Rundown: News Roundup

A double blow hits Fossil Gate Farms, AQHA recognizes the top horses at the College National Finals Rodeo, and a former AQHYA director earns a role in a world-renowned wild west show -- get caught up with The Rundown!

By Tara Christiansen
The American Quarter Horse Journal
June 24, 2011

Linda Gordon and FG Versace

FG Versace was the 2010 2-year-old stallion reserve world champion at the Adequan Select World Championship Show. Journal photo.

Double Blow Hits Fossil Gate Farms

On June 22, about 2:20 in the morning, Gary and Linda Gordon’s German Shepherd jumped into their bed and begin shivering and quaking.

At 2:30, the reason for the dog’s fear became clear, as a tornado hit the Gordons’ Fossil Gate Farms in Argyle, Texas.

“I have never heard the wind or anything so bad,” Linda says. “I was scared to death. It hit, and I mean I really – I didn’t think we were going to live through it.”

Tennis ball-size hail broke skylights in the houses and the barns, stripped trees and shrubs of leaves and tore down fences. Frightened horses jumped other fences and scattered down the dirt roads nearby.

After the storm passed, Gary, Linda and their farm help came boiling out, searching for horses, recapturing them and assessing the damage. Almost every vehicle on the place was damaged, including the main horse trailer and Linda’s personal vehicle.

“My car alone has $10,000 worth of damages,” she says.

Horses were also injured by the flying debris, and even those otherwise uninjured have giant welts on their bodies from the hailstones. Six horses are still in the hospital wing at the farm. One broodmare, RS Skip Clue, had the hair and hide stripped off her face from nostrils to just below the eyes, Linda says.

“She’s going to be OK, but I’ve got other horses hurt worse than her.”

The worst was yet to come for the Gordons. Just a few hours later, RS Skip Clue’s most famous son – FG Versace – died. FG Versace was the 2010 2-year-old reserve world champion at the Adequan Select World Championship Show. The bay stallion was by Im Tee Totally Cool, and the Gordons bred him themselves.

“He was my dream,” Linda says. “I just hadn’t gotten out there and qualified anything else this year. I just didn’t want to show anything else. I just wanted to concentrate myself on him. He was just so fun, and he was coming on like a house afire. I enjoyed being around him all the time.”

The death was not storm-related. Preliminary reports indicate inflammation where the horse’s small intestine connects with his stomach. Two weeks earlier, the Gordons had another hard loss.

“We lost Versace’s baby sister two weeks,” Linda says. “She was a baby filly, so that just compounded it.”

The Gordons continue to make repairs, deal with insurance and wait on test results.

“Thoughts and prayers – that’s all I want,” Linda says.

AQHA Recognizes Top Horses at College National Finals Rodeo

On June 18, AQHA recognized the top horses at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming.

AQHA Horse of the Year honors in the men’s division went to Rockin T Frisky, ridden by Dane Kissack of Spearfish, South Dakota, representing Gillette College. The 1994 bay gelding was bred by Milton Trask of Wall, South Dakota. The horse is by Mr Revenues Image and out of Muffets Crest by Sodak Bonanza.

On the women’s side, the homebred Bogies Lil Skeeter won AQHA Horse of the Year honors with Elizabeth Combs of Eltopia, Washington, aboard representing Sam Houston State University. The 2003 gray stallion is by Bogie Biankus and out of Street Royale by Harley Street.

In team competition, Sam Houston State University picked up the men’s high-point honors, while Montana State University’s women’s team claimed the win.

  • Men’s all-around – Winn F. Ratliff, McNeese State University
  • Women’s all-around – Kody Engle, Tarleton State University
  • Tie-down roping – Johnny B. Salvo, New Mexico State University
  • Steer wrestling – Jason L. Thomas, McNeese State University
  • Team roping – Trevor Merrill and Garrett L. Thurston, Utah State University
  • Barrel racing – Elizabeth Combs, Sam Houston State University
  • Breakaway roping – Kody Engle, Tarleton State University
  • Goat tying – Sharon P. Kate, Montana State University

The Wild West

There’s a multitude of careers that showing American Quarter Horses can lead to, from being a journalist to being a veterinarian or a horse trainer. Edwin “E” Gaffney of Aurora, Colorado, has added another career to the list.

E, a former AQHYA director from Region 8, has the opportunity to combine his passion for acting and riding horses – E was offered a role in the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show at Disneyland Paris. That’s not exactly where most AQHYA exhibitors imagine they’ll end up as they’re out toiling away in the practice pen for hours on end!