Animal Advocacy Horse Athletics Past Articles

Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission

Oklahoma-Breeding Development Program

What is the Oklahoma Breeding and Development Fund Special Account?

The OBDFSA is an incentive fund which increases income for Oklahoma horse racing and breeding enterprises. Purse supplements, stallion and broodmare awards are paid to owners and breeders of qualifying accredited Oklahoma-Bred horses through a system of restricted and open company races at Oklahoma racetracks. The OBDFSA is funded by unclaimed tickets, breakage and a percentage of the exotic handle. Payouts are based on the handle at each track and vary slightly according to the track and the racing breed. The Program was established by the Legislature in 1983 and, as is required by law, administered by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission.

What is an accredited Oklahoma-Bred horse?

An accredited Oklahoma-Bred horse is one that is foaled in Oklahoma, is out of a permanently domiciled, accredited Oklahoma-Bred broodmare and is sired by an accredited Oklahoma-Bred stallion. Additionally, in alternating years, foals by non-accredited stallions may be registered as accredited Oklahoma-Bred, providing all other requirements are met (refer to Chapter 75, Oklahoma-Bred Rules). More than 100,000 horses have been registered as accredited Oklahoma-Bred racing stock, broodmares, and stallions through December 31, 2017. Please refer to Chapter 75, Oklahoma-Bred Program, in the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission Rules of Racing or contact the OHRC home office at (405) 943-6472.

What opportunities are there to earn Oklahoma-Bred money?

Each Commission-licensed racetrack in Oklahoma is required to offer as race conditions no less than two Oklahoma-Bred restricted races per day. In addition, tracks offer Oklahoma-Bred money in open company races on an “if eligible” basis when funds allow, and each track offers at least two stakes races restricted to accredited Oklahoma-Bred horses. Some open stakes races offer Oklahoma-Bred purse supplements if eligible. Each time an accredited Oklahoma-Bred earns a purse supplement, the breeder and stallion owner earn Oklahoma-Bred awards.

How much can an accredited Oklahoma-Bred earn?

As much as $7 million has been paid in one year to owners, breeders and stallion owners of accredited Oklahoma-Bred horses. Oklahoma state law provides for the incentive funds and prescribes the purposes for which the money will be paid out by the Commission. For complete information regarding Program rules and requirements please refer to Chapter 75, Oklahoma-Bred Program, in the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission Rules of Racing or contact the OHRC home office at (405) 943-6472.


That beginning in July 1999 by statute all registration fees collected from accredited Oklahoma-Bred horses is deposited to the Oklahoma Breeding Development Fund Special Account instead of to the State of Oklahoma General Revenue Fund. That on November 16, 2000 the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission approved the transfer of funds from registration fees collected to be used as additional Oklahoma-Bred purse supplements at all Commission licensed racetracks.

Oklahoma Bred Program Registration Fee Schedule

By February 1 of breeding year$100
After February 1 and by June 30 of breeding year (not retroactive)$200
Reaccreditation by February 1 of breeding year$100
Reaccreditation after February 1 and by June 30 of breeding year$200
Hardship reaccreditation$200 + Application Fee
By December 31 of year prior to foaling$35
After December 31 but prior to foaling$70
Hardship (mares registered as racing stock but not transferred to broodmare)$200 + Application Fee
Reaccreditation by December 31 of year prior to foaling$35
Reaccreditation after December 31 but prior to foaling$70
Hardship reaccreditation by December 31 of year prior to foaling$200 + Application Fee
Hardship reaccreditation after December 31 but prior to foaling$200 + Application Fee
Racing Stock
By December 31 in year of birth$25
By June 1 of yearling year$50
After June 1 of yearling year through December 31 of three-year-old year$500
After December 31 of three-year-old year$1,000
Any Ownership Transfer $25
By February 1 of breeding year$150
After February 1 and by June 30 of breeding year (not retroactive)$300
Reaccreditation by February 1 of breeding year$150
Reaccreditation after February 1 and by June 30 of breeding year$300
By December 31 of year prior to foaling$60
After December 31 but prior to foaling$120
Hardship (mares registered as racing stock but not transferred to broodmare)$200 + Application Fee
Reaccreditation by December 31 of year prior to foaling$60
Reaccreditation after December 31 but prior to foaling$120
Racing Stock
By December 31 in year of birth$40
By June 1 of yearling year$80
After June 1 of yearling year through December 31 of three-year-old year$750
After December 31 of three-year-old year$1,500
Any Ownership Transfer $25
By February 1 of breeding year$225
After February 1 and by June 30 of breeding year (not retroactive)$400
Reaccreditation by February 1 of breeding year$225
Reaccreditation after February 1 and by June 30 of breeding year (not retroactive)$400
Recertification by February 1 of breeding year$25
Recertification after February 1 but before June 30 of breeding year$50
Recertification after June 30 but before December 31 of breeding year$250
Hardship reaccreditation$200 + Application Fee
Hardship recertification prior to the stallions foals becoming a yearling$500
Hardship recertification prior to the foals two-year-old year$1,000
By December 31 of year prior to foaling$75
After December 31 but prior to foaling$150
Hardship (mares registered as racing stock but not transferred to broodmare)$200 + Application Fee
Reaccreditation by December 31 of year prior to foaling$75
Reaccreditation after December 31 but prior to foaling$150
Hardship reaccreditation by December 31 of year prior to foaling$200 + Application Fee
Hardship reaccreditation after December 31 but prior to foaling$200 + Application Fee
Racing Stock
By December 31 in year of birth$50
By December 31 in yearling year$150
By December 31 of two-year-old year$450
By December 31 of three-year-old year$750
After December 31 of three-year-old year$1,000
Any Ownership Transfer $25

For more information or application forms please contact:

Visit our Forms section

For more information please contact:

Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission
Oklahoma-Bred Program Registering Agency
2800 N Lincoln Blvd Suite 220
PHONE: (405) 943-6472
FAX: (405) 943-6474


Racing Secretary
Remington Park
One Remington Place
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73111
(405) 424-1000

Horse Athletics Past Articles

Signed! Tulsa Girl to Equestrian Team

You might remember the inspiring story of Lily Rhodes who was featured with her horse Charlie in our July/August 2018 issue. A dressage rider, 14-year-old Lily lost her right arm in an ATV accident. While in the emergency room, she commented that she would now have to ride Western since she only had one hand. As fate would have it, the surgeon, also a dressage rider, said, “Over my dead body.”

          The article detailed how Charlie helped her recover from the accident, and the pair has been winning ribbons and awards ever since.

          Fast forward to 2019: Lily graduated from Bishop Kelley this month and is headed to the University of Lynchburg in Virginia where she has been signed to the equestrian team. For now, Charlie is staying in Tulsa.

          Congratulations, Lily! You are truly an inspiration.

Horse Athletics

WDAA World Championships

Western Dressage Association of America

World Championships

By Doris Degner-Foster

Where else but Oklahoma can you be awarded a silver belt buckle for winning a dressage class? But you don’t have to be in Oklahoma to win a belt buckle in the fast growing sport of Western Dressage.

            “The atmosphere at our show is like no other,” said Western Dressage Association of America President Cindy Butler of Caseyville, Illinois. “Riders do their best but cheer for their competition. They come with positive attitudes and great stories about their journeys to the World Show.”

            And many of the over 200 competitors indeed made a journey to get to the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. They came from 32 different states, from as far as west as Washington and as far east as Vermont, with two coming from Canada. Forty different breeds and even a mule competed in 870 rides over the four days of Sept. 27-30, 2018. Live simulcasts were available via the Total Horse Channel during the four days of classes in four rings, which ranged from Equitation and Suitability to the higher level of Western Dressage Level 4.

            Of the unique equines that competed, many of them are in their 20s and have retired from their first careers, finding success and longevity in Western Dressage. Some have been rescued from kill pens, and there were even previously wild Mustangs competing. Riders, too, have come from all riding disciplines to Western Dressage.

            Trainer Laurie Hedlund from Tulsa, Oklahoma, studied Classical Dressage and is a bronze and silver medalist with the United States Dressage Federation. She is a USDF 4th Level Certified Trainer/ Instructor and an L-rated judge with distinction in the United States Dressage Federation. Laurie is also a Western Dressage Association of America Train the Trainer Graduate, but she was at first hesitant about jumping right into Western Dressage. “Initially, I stood back and watched how it all evolved,” Laurie said. “When I saw they were striving to base things on the USDF training scale and were also working to train their judges according to USDF standards, that is when I got involved.” 

            Laurie explained that some of her Western Dressage clients are older students who can’t quite sit the big warmblood trot anymore that is necessary in classical dressage and feel more comfortable in a Western saddle. “It has become a second career for a lot of horses and people,” Laurie said. “Many have hit a wall in their careers with other disciplines such as barrel racing or reining, and they don’t want to do that anymore. But they still want to show and get more educated.”

            The Musical Freestyle classes were popular with spectators on Friday and Saturday evening, where riders wore various costumes. Laurie rode to the music of Patsy Cline while wearing a copy of one of the singer’s costumes, and her student Robert Hayes rode a musical ride to the rousing music of the movie “Stripes,” wearing military camouflage with his horse wearing a camouflage sheet and large “dog tag” to complete the picture. 

            Holly Fisher, who is a newcomer to Western Dressage, rode her Quarter Horse gelding “Buck,” winning the Intro 4 class and placing 5th in equitation. She also served as an escort with a calming presence to “Lyka,” ridden by Laurie Hedlund, during the walk to the main arena from the distant stabling area. “The best way to watch Musical Freestyles is while mounted on your sweet horse,” Holly said. “Buck and I studied Lyka’s dancing intently, and Buck says he is ready to dance and he likes music with ‘Stringy Sounds.’ 

            “Western Dressage makes Classical Dressage more approachable and accessible for riders from many other disciplines,” Holly said. “People who have spent a lifetime riding in a certain way are now opening themselves to Horse First concepts as exemplified in Classical Dressage. What a great way to make the world a better place.”

            The rules of Western Dressage are relaxed and friendly to encourage all interested riders to give the new discipline a try. “Methodically moving through Western Dressage levels allows any horse and any rider to grow and subsequently become a better team,” said Butler. “One problem maneuver such as a missed lead doesn’t necessarily toss a competitor to the bottom of a class if the rest of the test goes well. Each maneuver is a new start.

            “Western Dressage is a refreshing new way to compete against your own best performance as you and your horse learn. You set your own pace, move forward a step at a time and accomplish what you never dreamed you could.”

Horse General Interest Past Articles

The Wild Horse Who Loved the Girl

Edmond Artist Debuts First Novel on Lessons Animals Can Teach

By Heide Brandes

Once upon a time, there was a horse who loved a little girl.

            Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved a horse.

            Once upon a time, the two learned lessons about standing up for what’s right, the true meaning of freedom and the strength of love.

            In Edmond native Jennifer Hustis’ debut children’s book, “The Wild Horse Who Loved the Girl,” readers are taken on a poignant journey through the eyes of a mustang who remembers the wind in his free days in the wild and a little girl who teaches him that humans can be caring and loving as well.

            Hustis, a known artist whose artwork and talks focus on the history and future of the wild mustangs, says her book is based on the true story of her own daughter’s experience in volunteer-training a rescue horse. She didn’t expect that experience to become a dramatic turning point in their family’s life or become a passion project and the start of a writing career.

            “This book is from an experience my family had when we said yes to allowing my 10-year-old daughter to be a part of a local rescue equine trainers challenge,” said Hustis. “It is a fundraiser that also helps place horses in good homes. Some of the horses might come in, like for example this horse that we received, as a cruelty case.”

            As part of the equine trainers challenge, 10-year-old Katie had 100 days to work with the horse and train it to become adoptable.

            “Of course, I said no at first. I thought Katie was too young,” Hustis said. “I had just finished a big exhibit at Science Museum Oklahoma, educating the public on mustangs. At 8-years-old, Katie had a list of how she was going to raise money to train wild mustangs. So I figured maybe we would start with a domesticated horse for her first horse, and we had done it before, so the process wasn’t foreign to me.”

            Although Hustis thought her daughter may have been a little young to train—and ultimately say goodbye—to the horse, the entire process became a growing experience. Just like the novel, Katie and her horse went through challenges, growth, drama and even had a “villain” to defeat.

            And just like in real life, the story has a surprising and touching ending that no one expected.

            “So I have this great story, and my friend Pat had followed me through the mustang art exhibit and really supported the mustang exhibit,” Hustis said. “She said, ‘You gotta write this.’ I’ve written articles as an artist, and I’ve always loved to write. I always thought when I was an old lady, I would sit down with all these stories that animals have taught me over the years and write children’s books.”

             “The Wild Horse Who Loved the Girl” is the story that Hustis created and illustrated, albeit sooner than anticipated. She wanted each page to include beautiful illustrations, and the process of creating the story and the artwork took less than a year.

            “I would say, overall, it took me six months to execute it and do over 30-some-odd illustrations. It was quite a labor of love, but I tried to write the book so that it spoke to all ages,” Hustis said.

            Hustis said upon reading the book she wants readers to come away with lessons and insight, like standing up for what’s right and having a sense of what true freedom is—because the horse had to learn what freedom meant to him.

            Hustis chose to self-publish the children’s book, which was published in September. “The Wild Horse Who Loved the Girl” is available with autographed copies at and at

                        “My goal is to educate people about horses so that the horse and the person can be successful. I don’t want another bad story out there,” said Hustis. “What profits I make, ultimately, I want to give back to the horse rescue community.”

Horse Athletics Past Articles

LG Legacy Project

The LG Legacy Project

‘Three competitive and experienced youth, three young race horses, three successful race horse ranches, three mentors who are renowned trainers in their field and seven months to retrain a young race horse in its future career as a barrel racing futurity competitor.’

By Misti Quiring

Some may be content with their legacy defining them as a wealthy, great champion, while others understand there is more to life and more to their legacy than the championships and status quo they’ve earned. With 26 world championships under his belt, career earnings surpassing the $2 million mark and a name known synonymously with barrel racing worldwide, one might ask what’s next for Lance Graves. Through the LG Legacy Project, Lance has decided that his Legacy will lie somewhere amidst his determination to rekindle a dying partnership between two equine disciplines, educating and mentoring the next generation of champions and giving off-the-track racehorses a chance at a better life through a new career.

            When asked about his vision for the project, Lance replied: “My goal is to take young people who ride well and teach those children how to start from the ground up, not from an unbroken weanling but from an unstarted competition horse. Additionally, I have ridden off the track horses my entire career, and the industry has started to stray from that a little bit, riding cow-horses and such. So I thought what better way for me to try to bring race horses and the fight for second career animals into the limelight than to make them part of the program.”

            The concept of the project is rich but simple: three competitive and experienced youth, three young race horses, three successful race horse ranches, three mentors who are renowned trainers in their field and seven months to retrain a young race horse in its future career as a barrel racing futurity competitor.

            Creating a “Barrel Horse Training College” is no easy task, and much like any traditional schooling, there is often more than one instructor. So Lance enlisted the help of two successful industry veterans—cowgirl Liana Deweese of Claremore, Oklahoma, and Okemah, Oklahoma’s Mark Bugni— to be influential in creating a well-rounded program for the young trainers-to-be.

            “I’ve known Liana Deweese since I was little; she has had a lifetime of experience with horses, from cow horses to barrel horses, and has probably covered as many disciplines as any ranch-raised girl that you’ll meet. Liana comes from a big ranching family that was passed down maternally from the mothers to the daughters, which is unique.

            “She’s worked a lifetime alongside men as if there were no difference, and I have extreme respect for that and for what she’s accomplished. I appreciate the way she speaks to my girls and that she believes a building cannot be built on soft ground but must be built on a solid foundation. Those are the buildings that stand for a lifetime, and horses need to be trained in a similar manner if you expect them to compete for a lifetime,” said Graves about the multiple NIRA regional champion, Futurity Champion, WPRA money earner and Circuit Finalist.

            As with any process, there are oftentimes strategic steps to success. The other mentor, multiple barrel racing futurity champion, LG Pro Classic slot race champion and BFA Super Stakes Champion Mark Bugni, exemplifies how working hard and following those steps can take a competitor all the way to the top. “Mark worked diligently to become a horse trainer for a living and to reach his goals; he did it methodically, and it took him awhile to become the level of competitor that he now is. He did it step-by-step, which I respect, and I think that for young people, he is the perfect example of the ideation: if you focus and work hard, you can get where you want to go,” Graves said.  

            Three Oklahoma-based race horse ranches stepped up to the plate willingly and eagerly when Lance asked them to be a part of the program. “I didn’t have a list of ranches and people that I went through hoping somebody would pitch in. The first three people that I asked agreed immediately, which were three farms that I completely respect. I found that to be the most satisfying part of the whole process” said Graves. Pauls Valley, Oklahoma-based Diamond R Ranch supplied a 4-year-old bay gelding named Vixen’s Ivory Hero (Ivory James x Valiant Red Vixen (Valiant Hero)). Darling Farms of Lamont, Oklahoma, supplied a 3-year-old bay gelding: DF Coronas Got Cash (Corona Cartel x Chicks Got Cash (Feature Mr. Jess)). Reliance Ranches of Guthrie, Oklahoma, supplied a 4-year-old bay gelding named Closing Odds (Carters Cartel x A Regal Choice (First Down Dash)). All three prospects fit the criteria Lance had envisioned, and the program was off and running!

            With the mentors and horses selected and ready to go, the next step in the program was to select the youth trainers. “Being the first year, I chose three young people that I knew had the ethical background and the personal fortitude and desire to do what it takes for this particular process” said Graves. Twelve-year-old Sydney Hollingsworth competes in multiple events within rodeo and was the OKJHSRA Border Bash Champion, Barrel Bash open 1D Champion and was in the top three of the 1D at the BBR World Finals youth race. “Sydney comes from a very strong and ethical cowboy family but also from a family that understands business and hard work,” said Graves. Jaycie Johnson, also 12 years old, competes in multiple events within rodeo and has won money at the Sherry Cervi barrel race in California and at several junior rodeos. “Jaycie comes from a different kind of background; they’re ropers and cowboys. She breaks ponies, and that’s how she makes her extra money during the summer,” Graves said. Thirteen-year-old Macie Graves, daughter of Lance Graves, is an AQHA Red Bud Classic barrel racing champion, OJRA finals champion and reserve champion and is currently qualified for the senior barrels at the AQHA World Show. All of the girls are exemplary students at their schools and are highly involved in extracurricular activities as well.

            The girls were paired with their horses on July 3, 2018; Macie Graves with DF Coronas Got Cash, Sydney Hollingsworth with Vixens Ivory Hero, and Jaycie Johnson with Closing Odds. The girls have been working diligently with their revolving mentors to train and season their prospects. At the start of October, they all have built a foundation on their mounts and have started them on the pattern. The youth trainers will compete at the LG International Championship Barrel Race at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, Feb. 13-17; after the competition, the horses will be entered into the auction. Proceeds from the horses at the auction will be split between the owner ranches and the youth trainers. The vision is for the youth trainers to utilize their portion of the proceeds toward a college education             The future of the LG Legacy Project is looking bright. Next year’s application process will be modified and press releases will go out on the Facebook page and website in December, explaining the changes and the new application process. “My vision is that Liana, Mark and myself will remain as the three main mentors in future years, but we will bring in guest mentors,” said Graves. When asked about broadcasting the LG Legacy Project on additional media outlets, Graves replied, “I’ve had a lot of interest from different media groups, and I am currently working on different television aspects of this project.” For updates, follow along on Facebook @LGLegacyProject

Horse General Interest Past Articles

Mock Brothers

Mock Brothers Saddlery & Western Wear

Keeping Tradition Alive

By Lauren Cavagnolo

Walking into Mock Brothers Saddlery & Western Wear, it’s immediately clear this is no chain operation. One peek into the back room gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the craftsmanship of the leather goods sold in the store. The walls are covered in photographs of the store’s history, famous customers and the family’s roots in cowboy culture. And according to its 5-star rating on Facebook and dozens of glowing reviews, the service is incomparable.

            Oklahoma’s oldest saddle shop, known simply as “Mocks” if you’re a local, is located in Sand Springs just a few miles from its original location in the old stockyards. The store moved to its current location in December 1976, coinciding with the closure of the stockyards.

            Bret and Greg Mock are the third generation of brothers to own and run the family business. In operation since 1941, it’s anticipated that one day Bret’s sons, Ethan and Daniel, will take over and continue the tradition.

Family of Cowboys

Pictured in those old photographs wallpapering the store are Bret and Greg’s grandpa Albert (or Ab), great uncle Claude and great uncle Archie, the store’s founders.

            “My great grandpa had passed away at an early age, and so my uncle Claude came down; he had learned to build saddles up in Kansas in the ‘30s and was still cowboyin’ around. So he came down, and they opened a saddle shop up at the yards there. And that helped support my great grandma and my uncle Archie,” Bret said.

            Archie Mock was unable to work after he was badly injured in a car accident and left paralyzed from the waist down.

            “They went off a bridge, and he saved the guy that was with him and got him out of the water. Then he passed out and was frozen from the waist down. And so Archie would do the books or dye in belts because he was still bedridden, but it gave him something to do to support him—just kind of made a living for him.”

            A closer look at a photo of uncle Claude on the wall reveals the shadow of the photographer, uncle Archie in his wheelchair.

            “Lot of ranch saddles, lot of rodeo people, barrel racers, team ropers, calf ropers,” Bret describes the family photos on the wall. “You can see in that picture uncle Claude’s got a rope and calf roped a little bit, and, of course, they cowboyed all their lives.”

            After Albert, Archie, and Claude’s run, Bret and Greg’s dad Albert Jr. and their uncle Richard took over the store. “And we bought Richard out in 1984. So we have been here ever since,” Bret said.

Back to Basics

“Grandpa, he’d flip out if he [could see] how big this has grown,” laughed Bret. Over the years, the store has added a variety of merchandise, including boots and Western wear.

            With the advent of the big box chains, local stores such as Mocks have become few and far between.

            “Especially nowadays, since Drysdales has sold out and been bought by Boot Barn, [Mocks is] not a cookie cutter store. Cavender’s has got 20 to 30 stores, and they are basically all the same anywhere you go and same with Boot Barn,” Bret said. But if you want something different, mine’s catered to Western, horse, ag-related people, and that’s what I’ve got. If you want fashion, you’ll have to go to town. Mine’s basic stuff. And we do saddle repair and build chaps and everything horse related. You can’t get that from town.”

            Mock Brothers carries everything from saddles, tack, bits and rope to Western wear, boots, belts and wallets. A good portion of the store showcases the saddles crafted by hand on-site.

            “I’ve got 200 saddles in here, but we still build custom saddles. We are a year out on those. [We] don’t do a lot of show saddles. They want them so light and moveable, and I understand that for the rider, but they don’t last 10 years,” Bret explained. 

            “I don’t build saddles like that; mine last a lifetime, you know? And I’ve built something like they build, and it’s cheap to me— junk. I’m not doing that; I’m not lowering my standards,” he continued. “I understand why they want it, and they don’t care if it doesn’t last 10 years. They throw it away and go get another one. But that’s not what we do. So mine are too heavy. We still build them like grandpa and uncle Claude did back in the ‘40s.”

            Bret says a plain saddle can take anywhere from 50 to 60 hours from start to finish. Tooling, the stamping of designs and color into the leather, can add another 20 to 30 hours depending on the intricacy of the design.

            Unshaped hats also line the shelves, waiting to be shaped by hand when purchased. One Facebook review notes that “Bret can shape a hat second to none.”

            “I sell a ton of hats; they are all hand creased how you want it. They are open blanks,” Bret said. “And we are the same way with saddles and the service and everything. It’s all pretty personal and everything.”

            And the store has the reviews to back it up.

            “This is back to the basics, personal service with a smile and helpful until the doors close for the day. I wouldn’t go any place else and these folks are well known all over the area since they’ve been in business since 1941. This is your complete store with everything you can imagine,” raves one reviewer on the Mock Brothers Facebook page.

            “Outstanding people! Good quality products. And if they don’t have it, and they can’t find it, they will make it! There’s a reason why they have been around since the 1940s as a family business. They are the best around,” gushes another.

            Other reviewers keep it simple: “Excellent quality, top notch customer service! They always go above and beyond! Our family won’t go anywhere else!”

Celebrity Shoppers

It’s not just the locals and professional rodeo riders who know and love Mock Brothers.

            Bret says when Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood still lived in Oklahoma, they would come into the shop occasionally.

            “Garth and Trisha would come in and buy saddles, and Garth would buy shirts,” Bret recalled.  “Of course, he’s moved off now, so I probably won’t see him again, but they bought shirts and boots and stuff when they were here.”

            Another famous country music duo, Brooks and Dunn, have had guitar straps custom made by Mock Brothers.

            “Dad’s built two pairs of guitar straps for Brooks and Dunn. And Ronnie Dunn just ordered another guitar strap,” Bret said.

            One of those guitar straps can even be seen on the cover of a Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box featuring the musicians.

            Reba McEntire and her family have also been known to frequent Mock Brothers Saddlery.

            “Her dad and family’s old cowboys, and we rebuilt his ’53 steer tripping saddle for him several years back,” Bret shared. “But [Reba] would pull up in her bus, and her mom and dad would come in, and they would leave the car parked out here when she was touring close for several days.”

            Bob Wills, whose band Texas Playboys put Cain’s Ballroom on the map with its regular shows from 1934 to 1942, was also a customer.

            “We built four saddles for him and sent them out to California when he was out there,” Bret said.

            Even OSU’s beloved Pistol Pete has his chaps custom created for him by the Mock Brothers.

            “We have built six or eight pairs [of chaps], and two for the spirit riders several years ago,” Bret said. “You do two pair at a time, and it seems they need more every two to three years. We have always had close ties with OSU. Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, we made saddles for the equine department, so we have always been close to OSU.”

            Hanging on the walls alongside the family photos are headshots of Garth, Reba and even more musicians and rodeo stars, all customers at one time or another.

            While all of the photos and memorabilia strategically placed on the walls and shelves give the shop the feel of a museum, a sign created by one of Bret’s sons playfully reminds customers: “This ain’t no museum, this junk’s for sale.”

            Customers can shop and see for themselves 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Horse Athletics Past Articles

Fox Hunting in Oklahoma

Fox Hunting in Oklahoma, Past and Present

By Doris Degner-Foster

On Sept. 29, I joined Jayne Detton, assistant director of the Marland Mansions, in delivering a presentation on fox hunting at Marland’s Grand Home in Ponca City. Jayne first spoke of E.W. Marland’s history and his hunt before I spoke about hunting in Oklahoma. As a charter member of Harvard Fox Hounds of Tulsa, Oklahoma, I was dressed in our hunt club’s formal hunting attire and brought my saddle and other accoutrements of the hunt for visual aids. The following is my presentation where I explained the history of the sport, which dates back to ancient Egyptian times, and the state of hunting today in the U.S. and England.

            When thinking of hunting with hounds in Oklahoma, it’s easy to picture hunting with Coon Hounds, like in the movie filmed in Oklahoma, “Where the Red Fern Grows,” but not necessarily English style fox hunting. Also, since foxes are not plentiful in the rocky plains of Osage County in Oklahoma, it doesn’t seem to be the likely site for a fox hunt.

            But former Oklahoma Governor and oilman Ernest Whitworth Marland changed all that and many other things when he came to Oklahoma in the early 1900s. He struck oil and became extremely wealthy and spread his wealth to his employees, providing higher wages than the norm and other benefits such as healthcare—unheard of in the 1920s—for his employees. The town of Ponca City, on the line of Osage and Kay Counties in Oklahoma, where his home and business was located, also flourished with his philanthropy.

            Among the things Marland sponsored were polo and fox hunting for his employees and neighbors in Ponca City. Marland bred and refined his hounds to be able to run faster after the agile foxes on the flatter Osage County plains. He even sent some of his hounds to Ft. Sill’s Artillery Hunt further south as Army officers there were putting together their own hunt in 1928. Fixture cards for the locations of Marland’s scheduled hunts indicated that all were welcome, and farmers on whose land the hunts crossed were very accommodating of the hunt club, placing wood panels over their barbed wire fences so the riders could jump across.

            To build his pack of hounds, Marland imported foxhounds from Kentucky and foxes from Pennsylvania, breeding the red foxes to provide quarry for the chase. Before each hunt, a fox was released for the hounds and group of riders to give chase, and the ones that got away have thrived in Ponca City. Residents delight in their sightings of various families of foxes to this day.

History and Controversy

The practice of using dogs with a keen sense of smell to track prey has been traced back to ancient Egypt and many Greek and Roman-influenced countries. However, it is believed that the custom for a fox to be tracked, chased and often killed by trained hunting hounds began from a farmer’s attempt to catch a fox using farm dogs in 1534.

            Thomas, sixth Lord Fairfax in 1747 in England, has been credited with organizing a hunt for a group. Lord Fairfax’s family lived in the beautiful Leeds Castle, and participants were of the titled elite, setting a precedent for clashes between the classes in England.

            Today’s English horsemen consider hunting to be a part of rural culture and pest control as well as having a part in conservation, while opponents say that it is cruel and unnecessary. In February 2005, a law banning fox hunting in England and Wales came into effect, but many hunts are still active in England, using a scent trail dragged on the ground for the hounds to trail and chase.

            According to the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America, Englishman and eventual Governor of Maryland Robert Brooke was the first to import hunting hounds to America, bringing his pack of foxhounds to Maryland in 1650 along with his horses. Also around this time, numbers of European red foxes were introduced into the Eastern seaboard of North America specifically for hunting. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both kept packs of fox hounds and hunted before and after the Revolutionary War.

Today’s Oklahoma Hunt

For Harvard Fox Hounds hunt club in Tulsa, chasing is a more accurate description of the activity, since we rarely catch foxes or coyotes on the Delaware County location where we hunt. Coyotes are plentiful on Oklahoma cattle ranches, and I have actually seen one at a large cattle ranch leave the cover of brush and trot up the hill to sit down and watch. When the hounds found his line of scent, he waited until the pack organized itself and came toward him before he casually ran to safety, leaving the pack in the dust.

            For 22 years, the Harvard Fox Hounds hunt club has held Opening Hunt—the first formal hunt of the year—where the traditional Blessing of the Hounds by a member of the clergy is performed. Prayers are offered for the riders, the hounds and the quarry, with thanks for the privilege of being among nature and God’s creatures.

            As a charter member of the hunt, I have attended every Opening Hunt, sometimes acting as Field Master where I led the group of riders in the chase. I remember riding my Thoroughbred who understood the hunting procedures so well that when the hounds would find the scent and bay, or “sing out,” he would listen with head up and nostrils flared. I could see the effects of his heart pounding with excitement as his mane moved with each heartbeat while he waited obediently for my signal to join the chase. The thrill of sailing over the jumps at full gallop and my whoop of joy piercing the cool, morning air is something I will always remember—even when I am 102 and driving ponies in my little cart.

            At each Opening Hunt the story of St. Hubert is told, and the story never grows old in the telling. St. Hubert was born about 656, the son of the Duke of Aquitaine, in France. In his grief after his wife died in childbirth, Hubert retreated to the outdoors and the hunt. On Good Friday, Hubert was hunting instead of attending church and had a vision of a cross in the horns of a stag. Hubert made a religious conversion and later became a bishop in the Catholic Church. Hubert also taught fair hunting practices and conservation. The legacy of Hubert’s philosophies are still taught and held in high regard in the extensive and rigorous German and Austrian hunter education courses.

            His philosophy has been adopted as the fox hunter’s: to be a good steward of the land and of the animals involved in the hunt, which are our horses and hounds as well as the quarry we chase.

            New members at Harvard Fox Hounds are presented with a St. Hubert’s medal—which we wear on the pins we use to hold our traditional neck wear called stock ties—as protection when hunting and riding, although some are initially concerned to see that the back side of the medal says: “Pray for Us,” like all saints’ medals. All of that trepidation is forgotten at the Hunt Breakfast after the hunt, when toasts are made and plates are piled high as we relive the excitement of the day.

Doris Degner-Foster rides with Harvard Fox Hounds in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when she is not interviewing interesting individuals in the horse sport. Soon to be available is her middle-grade mystery series where teens ride horses and solve mysteries. She is also working on a murder mystery novel where a horse strangely appears in different people’s lives to help them through crises.

Animal Advocacy Past Articles

Blind Faith

Blind Faith

New Device Helps a Blind Dog See Again

By Amy Greene

With a body covered in glistening Golden Retriever fur and stunning blue and brown Australian Shepherd eyes, Lucas’ stocky, handsome appearance can melt even the coldest of hearts. However, it’s more often his kind, patient and resilient personality that makes him memorable to everyone he meets.

At around 6 months old, Lucas was rescued from a park in the heart of Tulsa. Despite starting his life out abandoned, covered in fleas and ticks and fending for himself, Lucas quickly adjusted to his new home and loving family. For years, Lucas thrived, forgetting the stray mentality that had kept him alive in the park, and traded it in for naps in the sun under large shade trees in his backyard.

            When Lucas was around 4 years old, he became noticeably lethargic. One of the construction workers remodeling the house noticed how the dog was acting and mentioned he thought Lucas might be blind in one of his eyes. The family took him to an ophthalmologist at Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists, Dr. Puckett, who diagnosed Lucas with glaucoma. When Dr. Puckett measured the pressure in Lucas’ eye, it registered over 100; a normal, healthy reading is around 16. Although the eye did not seem to be causing Lucas pain yet, the eye was removed for fear that it would one day rupture.

After Lucas’ first eye was removed, the family started to treat the other eye in a proactive effort to stop from having to remove it as well. Lucas’ owner Jeanne Gillert explains: “We tried laser surgery twice; then when that didn’t work, we started him on drops six times a day. One of the drops we tried was from Canada; another one was from England. Having them shipped in was extremely expensive, and we were spending hundreds of dollars each month on eye treatments alone, but we had to try everything we could to help Lucas. He never gave up, so how could we?”   

Eventually, Lucas became listless and lethargic again. His family did everything in their power to help him keep his remaining eye, investing in all of the treatments they could find, but nothing helped, and the pressure came back. Eventually, Lucas’ remaining eye was removed as well.

Once Lucas’ remaining eye was removed, Gillert noticed an abrupt change in him. “He became very depressed and scared; he laid around a lot and didn’t want to do anything,” she says. So she started looking online for solutions to make him more comfortable. The first blind-aid device they tried was called a halo, a device which is essentially a hula-hoop that encompasses the dog and acts as a bumper when he runs into things. However, unexpectedly, the halo was too fragile. Even though Lucas is a gentle dog, Gillert describes the quick demise of the halo: “The second time Lucas wore it, he dented it, somehow got it caught, then stepped on it, and it was dead pretty quickly.”

The halo was retired, and Gillert began the search once more to find him an alternate source to help with his missing eyesight. It wasn’t long before she found the answer to their prayers: BlindSight®, a device for blind animals made in the U.S. by an engineer and his wife. According to the website (, “BlindSight® units are 3D imaging transmitters specifically designed to be used by dogs and horses. They improve the quality of life and provide a return of confidence. Originally designed as an appliance for blind Service Dogs, The BlindSight® units are designed for extreme reliability, a 10-plus year service life and are patent pending…  In testing, dogs started to use the units in under three hours. By three weeks, they had fully adapted and no longer ran into walls, door frames or other objects. Observing their movements, by three months it was difficult to believe they were blind.” Recently, the makers of BlindSight® have also released a device for cats and small dogs as well, known as BlindSight-Tiny®. To see videos of animals after they have regained sight, visit

In early 2017, a student at the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine did an independent study on the efficacy of The BlindSight® devices. The report was aimed to be released sometime after September 2018. In the study, flaws were found in a few of the models, which have since been fixed by BlindSight®, and the old models were replaced with complimentary new ones for the customers of the flawed devices. This action speaks to the heart of the company to help both animals and their people, as does the generosity of Jordy Canid Inc.

Designed to imitate echo-location, the device—a small box weighing less than a pound—is worn on the dog’s harness or horse’s halter. Unfortunately, this means that animals without good hearing or animals with memory problems such as dementia are unable to use the device. They must be able to hear the device’s frequency, and their brain must know how to interpret that frequency into an image.

The BlindSight® device’s engineer explains: “The BlindSight® unit uses frequencies above the human hearing range to provide echo information that may be ‘decoded’ by the dog’s own brain to provide a virtual picture of its surroundings.” However, according to the website, the creators of BlindSight® are currently in the process of creating “a new device for deaf dogs and a navigational device for domestic cats that is not a ‘worn’ device!” For now, the animals that have benefited from the BlindSight® devices made by Jordy Canid Inc. live better quality lives than ever thought possible before.

At 6 years old, Lucas has lived quite a life—rescued from abandonment as a puppy, he found his forever family then faced the struggle of glaucoma twice, ultimately losing his sight. But since receiving his BlindSight® device in June Gillert says he has gotten back to his frisky self again. He has become fearless, learning the commands ‘up’ and ‘down’ and racing along staircases without hesitation. He bounces to greet people and has become dependent on his BlindSight®.

Of course, no device is perfect. According to Gillert, “the BlindSight® device doesn’t work well on things like chair legs; the objects have to be fairly thick and solid.” Still, the BlindSight® has changed Lucas’ life for the better. In the beginning, Gillert would take off Lucas’ harness occasionally because it looked uncomfortable, but she noticed he preferred to wear it and minded having it off more than on. In fact, she noticed he became “uncomfortable and disoriented without it.”

Now, the BlindSight® device sits on Lucas’ chest in his harness, not interfering with his play or his sleep, but acting as a physical comfort and keeping him grounded. Everyone in the family has adjusted to Lucas’ new eyesight as well. His owners keep him on a short leash for walks to keep his new “fearlessness” in check, and even his adopted sister Sophie—also a Golden Retriever—has learned to lower her head so Lucas can find her ears to clean them for her. Lucas now spends his days enjoying life as much as he did before his eye problems began. His family has recently moved to Mexico, and he has made the transition beautifully.

Horse Athletics Horse General Interest Past Articles

Beyond the Team

Beyond the OSU Football Team: What Goes Into Game Day

By Derinda Blakeney, APR

We all know there would be no football program at Oklahoma State University without OSU’s talented coaches and players who make up the OSU football team. However, there are many things beyond the team itself that help make each home game a special experience for attendees. There is the extremely gifted band performing in the stands and on the field during halftime. There are the dedicated cheerleaders and pep squads, the fans and our famous mascot, Pistol Pete. And there is one more thing—the thunder of hooves racing around the stadium as Bullet and a Spirit Rider celebrate each touchdown. 

                A Spirit Rider has been celebrating OSU Cowboy touchdowns at home football games since 1984. In 1988, OSU bought its own black horse, and the name Bullet was chosen. (See our September/October issue for a full feature article on Bullet and the Spirit Rider program.)

                Oklahoma State’s own Center for Veterinary Health Sciences has provided Bullet’s veterinary medical care for years. In 2005, OSU took that care to a new level when Dr. Lyndi Gilliam began accompanying Bullet to every home game.

                “It’s important to OSU to keep Bullet safe at all times,” explained Dr. Gilliam, equine medicine specialist at OSU’s Veterinary Medical Hospital. “By being with Bullet at home games, I can attend to his needs should he get hurt. It takes a very special horse like Bullet to perform in a game day environment.  Things at a football game are never predictable, and it is easy to forget a horse is involved. Although he is an exceptional animal, one mistimed or wrong move and we could have an emergency on our hands.  I’m just there as a precaution, a safety net. I work closely with Ty and Jennifer Cunningham, Bullet’s caretakers, to make sure that Bullet is as happy and safe as possible.

                “In reality, Bullet is also an athlete.  He needs to be in top shape to perform at his best. At OSU’s Veterinary Medical Hospital, we make sure Bullet gets the proper wellness care to keep him healthy. He is on a routine vaccination and parasite control program and is fed top quality Purina© feed.  He receives a pre-season exam from head to tail by our board certified specialists to make sure he is sound for the upcoming season. From equine internal medicine and surgery to sports medicine and rehabilitation, we have specialists trained in the latest techniques to take care of Bullet should he have any health problems.”   

                One of those specialists is Dr. Mike Schoonover. He is a board certified equine surgeon and a board certified specialist in sports medicine and rehabilitation. In the same way orthopedic specialists look over the football players, Dr. Schoonover evaluates Bullet from an orthopedic standpoint.

                “If I ever have a concern about Bullet’s ability to perform on the field from a soundness standpoint, our surgery and sports medicine specialists will perform an in-depth evaluation,” said Gilliam. “These evaluations may include anything from lameness evaluation to diagnostic imaging, such as radiographs or ultrasound. The Veterinary Medical Hospital’s equine medicine and surgery service also provides regenerative therapies as well. We have the ability to utilize many preventative and treatment modalities to keep Bullet sound and comfortable.”

                “We’ve worked together for years,” stated Schoonover. “Having experts in multiple specialties is a wonderful asset that the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences offers horse owners in Oklahoma.” 

                “We always hope that Bullet won’t need our care during a football game, but it’s a comfort knowing we have such a highly specialized team right here on campus ready with the latest techniques and products in equine veterinary care should the need arise,” added Gilliam. “Game day would not be the same without Bullet, and we take great pride in ensuring that we do our job to make sure fans can hear ‘Heeere comes Bullet!’ at every home game.” 

                For more information on OSU’s equine veterinary care, call (405) 744-7000, ext. 2.

Animal Advocacy Horse Rescues

Horse and Hound Rescue Foundation

2350 S Midwest Blvd Guthrie, OK 73044 (405) 206-4689

Rescue + Rehabilitation + Sanctuary:

By Amy Greene

Three decades ago, give or take a few years, Oklahoma’s race tracks were at the peak of popularity. The horses were fierce, lively and beautiful. They shook the ground with the sheer power of their hooves; they kicked up the walls of dust the state fought to settle in the ‘40s. Unfortunately, for all of their magnificence, Oklahoma’s racing horses were also viewed as replaceable commodities.

Nelda Kettles, the founder and owner of Horse and Hound Rescue, remembers that time well.  “When we first got started, Oklahoma had a serious problem,” Nelda says. “Injured race horses were just being sent to slaughter by owners and trainers who didn’t want to spend the time and money to fix them. We (at Horse and Hound Rescue) got in touch with those owners and trainers, as well as the tracks themselves, and worked to show them that there was another option.”

While the rescue itself was only first officially established in 2015, the owners of Horse and Hound Rescue have now been in the Thoroughbred industry for more than 30 years, specializing in Off the Track Thoroughbreds: Jockey-Club registered Thoroughbred horses that were previously racing or in training to race and have since been retired due to reasons such as injury, lack of talent or old age.

With experienced riders as volunteers and decades of experience, Horse and Hound Rescue retrains horses from top racing competitors headed for the slaughterhouse to family members with a purpose in new careers including jumping, eventing, trail work and Western discipline. In 2018 alone, Horse and Hound took in approximately 50 horses, 46 of which have already found their forever homes. However, as their name suggests, Horse and Hound Rescue doesn’t stop with equines.

            When the Kettles began rescuing Off the Track Thoroughbreds dumped for being too much work or financial trouble, they also found a staggering number of special needs dogs being euthanized or dumped by their owners for the same reason. Similar to the horses, these dogs continue to come to the rescue from all over Oklahoma. However, while the horses are stopped from being sent to slaughter, the dogs are usually saved from being homeless, abandoned, surrendered or victims of tornados. Most of the dogs Horse and Hound takes in are blind, deaf, diabetic, or a combination of the three, requiring adopters to invest in the animals not only financially but with their time and energy.

            Approximately five months ago, in the heat of the Oklahoma summer, one such dog was found by a woman and her grandkids. The family had decided to go for a walk together when they heard the sound of crying coming from a nearby dumpster. Peeking inside, they found a small black and white puppy baking in the 100-degree weather. The woman called animal control, but because it was a Sunday all the shelters were closed. Eventually, Horse and Hound Rescue was notified, and rescuers crawled into the burning hot dumpster to save the dog thrown out like trash. The 1-year-old mixed breed was terrified but finally safe. She was named Miss Kitty in honor of one of the rescue member’s affection for the CBS Western television show, “Gunsmoke.” With time, Miss Kitty recovered from her physical and emotional wounds and is now part of a forever family.  

Unfortunately, due to the bigger investment and level of experience these special needs dogs require, not all of the animals that make it to Horse and Hound Rescue are able to have success stories as wonderful as Miss Kitty’s. In fact, the reality is that only about half of these dogs are able to be retrained and rehomed because of the severity of their conditions. Instead of giving up on these animals, however, Horse and Hound Rescue Foundation has created a sanctuary nestled into 50 gorgeous acres onsite in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

It is here the dogs, horses—and even the occasional cat—live out their days in the safety of Nelda and Larry Kettle’s home, receiving the attention and love they need and deserve. But while Horse and Hound Rescue goes to great lengths to help animals in need, they cannot do it alone.

“Nobody can make it on their own,” says Nelda. “I get tons of help from other rescues and trainers. People care, and it’s a blessing.”



To fund their belief that “every horse and every hound deserves to be loved unconditionally… just like they love us,” the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization depends on a combination of grants and donations to continue making a difference. If you would like to donate, you can visit the website at, click the convenient Paypal link, and 100 percent of your donation will go directly to Horse and Hound Rescue as they help these special animals find their place in someone’s heart and home.


While on their website, hover your mouse over the “How to Adopt” tab at the top of the page. Here, you can check out the foundation’s list of adoptable animals, be it “horse” or “hound.” Simply fill out the adoption application also found on the website, or call (405) 206-4689 for more information and to set up a meet and greet with available animals.


Maybe a lifetime commitment isn’t an option for you right now, but a short-term commitment is. Horse and Hound Rescue is in need of foster families! Consider temporarily giving an animal a home until the right forever home is found. Fostering animals teaches them they are loved, helps their socialization adjustment, and gets them into a comfortable environment where they can thrive and their personalities will shine, all the while helping save a life! Just click the “Get Involved” tab on the website or contact Nelda for more information on fostering.


If you would like to help out but donation, adoption and fostering aren’t for you, consider giving your time. From the mouth of the horse hero herself, Nelda stresses the constant need for more helping hands. “I don’t want to preach,” she said, “but volunteers are always needed, even just to come out and love on the animals.” Brushing horses, walking dogs, playing ball, giving kisses, receiving tail wags, and being on 50 acres of a serene animal sanctuary may be as beneficial for you as the animals you’re helping. Visit the website or call to set up volunteer opportunities.

Spread the Word!

At the very least, anyone can help spread the word. Go to, look at the “Happy Tails” success stories and feel inspired! Tell your friends about the amazing things the rescue does and how they make a difference. Lastly, visit the Facebook page @horseandhoundrescue to like and share with your friends.