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    ​​​​​​​​​   Two decades ago, in 1997, I purchased an old mare, Silver Roxie at the auction held during the National Appaloosa Show in Oklahoma City. There were two reasons for the purchase: First,  Roxie was in foal to I’ma Doc O’Lena an outstanding sire of performance horses and secondly, Roxie was somewhat Herndon bred. My equine business partner at that time and I were promoting the Herndon bloodline. I was actually told by her not to even consider purchasing the mare because of the age factor. Roxie was 16, but something about this mare drew me to her. I went against the advice  and purchased the mare on pure gut instinct.

Her top side had just enough Herndon blood to qualify her for our program. However, I believed it was the outstanding Quarter Horse bloodline on that top side, and the Silver Strikes Equal phenomenal performance record on the bottom side that really gave her prestige. They had the show records and proven progeny in a variety of performance areas to back it up. Roxie’s sire The Poka Man was sired by The Ole Man an own son of Three Bars. The Poka Man’s dam, Herndon’s Pok-A-Dott, had mostly produced nicely marked halter-type Appaloosas. Roxie’s grand-dam Devil’s Music (as it turned out) was a Thoroughbred mare that actually went all the way back to Man O War. Roxie’s maternal grandsire was the great Appaloosa stallion Silver Strikes Equal. Silver Strikes Equal defined the term ~ versatile athlete. He was a record setting race horse, National Champion halter horse and a National Champion performance winner. The icing on the cake for purchasing Roxie was the fact that she was in foal to the legendary I’ma Doc O’Lena. I'ma Doc, still to this day, is one of the leading Appaloosa sires of performance horses AND an own son of the immortal Doc O’Lena.
      Unfortunately, Roxie lost her I’ma Doc foal a few months after I got her home. My partner suggested that I breed Roxie in the Spring of '98 to her old AQHA stallion, Gay Bars Jess. He was not much more than a tease stallion at her place, but he was an own son of Gay Bar King. Jess had never been shown due to an injury he received as a young horse. What few offspring he had sired were not being shown. In other words, no production record. He was also 22 years old in '97, so I politely turned her down. I had heard of Gay Bar King, but never researched the stallion. I didn’t do anything the first year I had Roxie home. We discovered she was badly foundered and in need of corrective shoes. On top of that she was also thin and needed a rest. Despite my good intentions this was bad planning on my part and here’s why... if an older mare skips a breeding season, it then becomes even more difficult (up to 50% more difficult) to get her in foal the following season. T.O.P. Appaloosas’ veterinarian, Dr. Dennis Stallings, said; "Even if we are able to get the old mare to conceive she probably won’t carry to full term because she had aborted her previous pregnancy."
      So, disheartened, I didn’t do anything. We let good ol' Roxie  just be a horse. She was finally walking without pain, gained weight and had a shiney coat.  She would always stand by the fence and forlornly watch the foals from the ’98 season play in the pasture across from hers. Just before the 1999 breeding season I ran into a good friend at a horse show. During our conversation Silver Roxie was mentioned and he said he knew the mare. I asked him what she had been used for and to my surprise he said she was the 1985 ApHC National Champion, Jr. Cutting Horse. (21 entries that year!) Well, that got my attention!! He also mentioned how much she seemed to love her babies. That explained why she stood by the fence for hours watching the '98 foals play.


I got home from the show and decided to really research Gay Bars Jess. Jess’ bottom side came from an outstanding line of performance Quarter Horses. Jess’ dam, Cap’s Princess, was by Captain Jess an own son of King P-234 and full brother to Poco Bueno; and out of Sun Princess an own daughter of Leo. Gay Bar King, himself, was an own son of the superstar sire Three Bars! Gay Bar King was famous for siring daughters that produced champion after champion. I got very excited for about a minute. Then I remembered what Dr. Stallings had told me. Roxie was now 17, she would be 18 at breeding time in 1999 and I was very pessimistic about having any success, but I called Jess’ owner anyway to at least hear what her thoughts were. I related that there was probably no way this old mare was going to have any more babies. To my surprise Jess’ owner  thought she could get the mare in foal. So, I decided to have some fun....I told her that if that old stallion 23 (Jess would be 24 come '99 breeding season) could get that old mare in foal not only would I pay the vet bill, but I would give her $100. But, if Roxie couldn’t get in foal she would pay the vet charges. (Because of all I had done for the partnership through the years she had promised me no charges for stud service to any of her stallions.) She took the bet. I really had my doubts.  We started trying in March to get Roxie in foal with nothing happening. The months dragged by and when July was half gone (just when we were all about to give up) well wouldn’t ya' know ... Roxie, sure enough got in foa! I was never so happy to lose a bet in my life. I can't say it enough.....it was the: BEST BET I EVER LOST!!!
      She was due the 2nd week in June of 2000 and would be 19 years old. Dr. Stallings put her on Regumate and monitored her closely taking numerous blood samples through out the pregnancy to make sure her hormone levels were as close to normal as possible. She was kept away from the other mares to prevent her from getting hurt in any way. She had a private pasture, was brought in to a clean roomy stall every night, she had scheduled visits from our vet and farrier, had a very healthy nutritional program &  was groomed and loved on daily. Roxie got her Regumate every day without fail. She was a very happy (and somewhat spoiled) mare. Then, three weeks before she was due, on May 14, she went into labor. Dr. Stallings was called. Roxie gave live birth to the tiniest foal I'd ever seen. A palomino  with a blanket and on his precious little dished face was a tiny star. Dr. Stallings said at that point it could be risky for the foal, but the baby had made it just past 300 days gestation. (319 total) Dr. Stallings said we would just have to keep a close eye on this small, skinny, shaky, little Appaloosa colt and hope for the best. Dr. Stallings said not to expect a miracle the colts chances were, in reality, very slim. To make matters worse, Roxie’s milk would not come in. The new mother and her very scrawny foal were kept in the stall to conserve his energy; he slept most of the time and endlessly asked/bumped his mother for life giving milk. Every type of milk producing supplement we could think of was given to Roxie. We were with this (almost hopeless) little horse every two hours for a full week, mixing powdered milk for him to drink. Three sips from the bucket of formula and back he would go to Roxie searching for what he instinctively knew should be there. FINALLY, Roxie’s milk came in enough to keep Gay Bars Silver alive. And as the days went by her milk production increased and baby Silver filled out and got stronger. After almost two weeks of being kept up the gentle old mare and her miracle foal were led out of their stall for the very first time. Roxie’s soft nickers were endless. Between nickers she touched him with her nose and licked his neck as if she knew just how really special he truly was. He stayed so close to her side he looked as if he were glued there. Roxie was more alive than I had ever seen her before, her soft eyes sparkled with energy or was it pride? She was a different horse with a foal by her side, Roxie was completely devoted to her tiny miracle. It was only then I gave a name to this colt. I took "Gay Bars" from his sire and "Silver" from his dam and the new foal became: GAY BARS SILVER!!! "Silver" survived and gre
​​w up.
After Silver was born  and had survived adversity and everything at the barn seemed to be going great, my life suddenly started falling apart. My husband walked out on our 13 year marriage, leaving me with three young children to raise alone.  Then due to (unfortunate) very personal reasons, after several years, it was necessary for me to dissolve the partnership I had established with Jess’ owner. I was completely on my own.  And, at first, very scared to move forward in any direction.  But, with faith and really true friends things have a way of working themselves out. The children and I are happy and I have gone on with the help of great trainers and proven bloodlines to become as successful as one could hope to be in the Appaloosa Industry. "Silver" grew up to be 14.2 hands, 940 lbs and a sooty palomino with a blanket and a star. Silver is a stunningly beautiful individual to see. He is balanced to perfection. He is intelligent with a "want to" attitude on  cattle and in everyday handling. He worked beautifully for his trainer, Mike Combs. But, before there was Mike, Silver would have to travel several short roads....
      When we were left a family of four, I had to make the very hard decision to get rid of the majority of my horses. Some were sold some I gave away; Believe it or not, I even tried to give Silver away  which, at the time, was breaking my heart. In hind sight:  THANK GOODNESS not a single person wanted my little yellow yearling stud colt!!  When my friend, Melissa, called one day to see how I was doing (after hearing my situation) she offered to take my colt and work with  him. She said I could pay for his training when all the dust had settled from the divorce. God bless true friends and their kind hearts. As a yearling Gay Bars Silver went to stay with Melissa Powell. She taught basic skills for young horses. Things like: standing patiently while tied, picking up feet, loading and riding in trailers, proper behavior at shows and various aspects of grooming (brushing, clippers, sprays, etc.) Her equine students always come back with manners and confidence. Melissa is an outstanding trainer. Silver was with her for about a year. Then he was sent to Clint Haverty for reining training. Thanks to the work Melissa put into Silver he was started under saddle immediately. Mr. Haverty said that Silver did everything he was asked to do. But it takes something a little different to make a reiner so Mr. Haverty suggested that Silver's real talents  might be in the cutting arena. Mr. Haverty said that Silver was never less than a good boy for him.

I then sent Silver to Mike Combs to see if he could cut, and wouldn’t ya' know ... not only could he cut, but he picked it up so quickly Mike suggested we enter him in a futurity that would be at the Appaloosa World Show, held every November/October in Ft. Worth, TX. Silver started his cutting training in July, six months behind the other futurity entries. Most Futurity prospects for the ApCHA start their training 22 to 24 months before the futurity; Silver was in training for 16 months total. In a class of 10; GAY BARS SILVER became the 2003 ApCHA Open Futurity World Champion with a combined score of 426 . He then went on to the 2004 ApHC National Show and got Reserve in Jr. Cutting. At the 2004 ApHC World Show he not only won the ApCHA Derby but also the ApHC Jr. Cutting . He was a 3X World Champion his first full show year. And in 2005 Gay Bars Silver once again won the World Champion title in Jr. Cutting. What an accomplishment for the miracle colt who wasn't expected to make it!

 This little horse is the result of a bet. The fact that he exists at all is a miracle. He had less than a 50% chance of even getting to conception. He wasn’t given very good odds of making it to full term and when he was born (too early) he was very weak, with nothing to eat. Both of his parents were elderly. Talk about a tough uphill battle, Silver fought the good fight; in reality he never knew things were so dire he just kept going and kept trying. He was a winner the day he was born. Gay Bars Jess, Silver's sire, went sterile not long after Silver was born; Silver was his very last foal. Silver, at the age of five, gave rides to the young people in R.O.P.E.R. special needs athlets that Sherri Mell coaches. And at home Silver was gentle enough for my friend's 5 year old son to ride around the practice pen.

I simply cannot put into words how extremely proud I am of this horse. Look at the legacy that makes Silver so great: Gay Bar King, Three Bars (2X), King (3X), Gay Widow, Captain Jess, Leo, The Ole Man, Chicado V, Man O’ War, Silver Strikes Equal, Comanche's Equal and Buttons B. All of whom made such an impact in the performance horse industry they have been written about in books. Mansfields Comanche was the sire of some of the all time greats in Appaloosa cutting. Silver goes back to him 4 times.  I attribute Silver’s abilities to the outstanding lineage from both parents. Add to all of that, his testing 100% negative on the 5 panel test for genetic diseases and you have the whole package. Silver hasn’t got a clue how special he is; he’s no muss, no fuss, just a good horse. I am so lucky to have him, I have thanked God repeatedly!!!!!
      In closing, I guess, one could say, I knew more and was stronger than I was willing to give myself credit for. I am so proud that I listened to myself and not others when there was the chance to purchase Roxie. She produced a 4X World Champion! She then went on to produce two more World Champions and earned her Production Plaque!  I also realized I can survive without a husband or a partner; there was actually a time in my life when I thought I would be lost without someone to help guide me. I basically raised my three kids alone.  All three are college graduates (one is a Law School graduate).  Me and the kids worked very hard here at the ranch. We all depended on each other and each worked hard and carried their fair share of the load. I followed my gut instincts when it came to the horses and I have a mulitiple World Champion stallion that has sired multiple World & National champions in a variety of classes to show for it. Sometimes people tell you things; they are not trying to help, sometimes they have their own agendas and they are using you to achieve them. I will tell you right now to listen to your heart, follow it and believe in yourself. Listen to what others have to say, but make your final decision all by yourself, then own it. Today, I am doing just fine on my own. I know more today than I did yesterday and I am still learning... Afterall, I have a Super Hero named GAY BARS SILVER that inspires me to keep trying and go on. 

      On February 24, 2017, the best horse I have ever had the priviledge to own succumed to his injuries he sustained as a coming four year old from not being properly warmed up before a big cutting. GAY BARS SILVER was humanely laid to rest at the Bowie Animal Cemetary. My heart was absolutely broken on that day and I still hurt. Knowing that this amazing individual has left his mark on the Appaloosa Industry in such a positive, wonderful way is my solice. Rest in Peace my dear sweet friend, God Blessed me with you, a Champion cutter and Champion sire, and for that I am eternaly thankful and proud.