MERRITT QUARTER HORSES
We are continuing a tradition by raising horses with as much Texas Blue Bonnet, Plenty Coup, Ambrose and Blue Valentine as possible. We want to preserve these bloodlines, and at the same time offer the best horses we can raise. Each year’s colt crop represents our efforts to improve upon the last.
People from all over tell us that these horses have such good dispositions. No matter what different things we do with a horse, we all want to ride one that’s gentle, versatile and athletic.
Offering the best horses we can raise is what we work on all year round. What we offer for sale each year is no accident. We work diligently with the future of these horses in mind.
THE START OF A TRADITION
It all began when my great-grandfather, Vince Hayes, trailed a herd of good mares from Ft. Riley, Nevada to Thermopolis, Wyoming. His two sons, Buster and Laurie, continued the tradition of raising and riding top horses and sought ways to improve them. Around 1951, they purchased Texas Blue Bonnet, a son of Joe Hancock. They started crossing him on their own mares and in 1955, a Patron mare bred to him produced a foal named Plenty Coup, who went on to produce many top colts.
At about the same time, my grandfather - King Merritt, brought one of the first Quarter Horse stallions, "Old Red Buck P-9," to Wyoming. As a respected horseman, King had judged the first Quarter Horse Show in California. He and all of his children were well-known for their horsemanship skills. King and his son Hyde bought additional stallions to Wyoming, including Ambrose and Patron. Hyde inherited from his father, the satisfaction of riding a good horse he knew he had raised.
In the fall of 1956, Ken Gunter gave Del Haverty the pick of the Red Man colts. Del picked a blue roan stallion named Blue Valentine. Del trained Blue to rope calves, tie-down team rope, and haze dogging steers. Blue was later most famous as a steer roping horse, but Del always felt he was a better calf horse than anything. Del sold half interest in Blue Valentine to Buster and Laurie Hayes.
Buster and Laurie stood Texas Blue Bonnet, Plenty Coup, and Blue Valentine. It was quite an experience to see these studs out with the excellent set of mares Buster and Laurie had accumulated. The tradition continued when my mother, Dede (Buster's daughter), married my father, Hyde. Hyde started breeding his Ambrose mares to Hayes' Plenty Coup, then took that cross and bred to Blue Valentine. This program produced the stallions Gooseberry, Crow Creek (Lory's top calf horse), and many good mares.
Hyde and Dede then bought the other half-interest in Blue Valentine from Del. Hyde felt like it was a great privilege to rope steers on Blue. In 1970, Hyde roped at his last Cheyenne Frontier Days on Blue. Everet Shaw, who rode his share of great steer roping horses, told Hyde that Blue was the best horse at Cheyenne that year. Hyde and Del both felt that Blue started out of the box quicker and could catch cattle easier than any horse they had ridden. The combination of Blue's athletic ability and Del's training made him hard to beat.