By Cheri Wallis
Ever since I could remember something attracted me to animals, especially horses. There was no outside influence, just natural love and attraction to them. None of my family had horses or cared to be around them when I was growing up.
For Christmas, Birthdays or when anyone would listen, I always asked for a horse. I collected Breyer horses and read any book or watched any movie about horses. There was just no way to make having my own horse happen. I was lucky enough that when I was in High School, there was a riding stable outside of town. I would work there in exchange for lessons and eventually got to lease a mare for a few months like she was my own. My mom or grandmother would drop me off in the morning and pick me up at night. Horse brought me freedom and a peace that I really needed.
When I graduated High School, it was time to consider college. I would have loved to attend Texas A&M and become a vet, but my family could not afford college of any kind at the time. The only option to consider was a College in Dallas that offered a degree in Auto Technology. Auto Mechanics was something I took in High School and led our whole class to Nationals in. I had won scholarships that helped me get started. Horses would again have to wait....
Born and raised in Belton, Texas, I was nervous about going to a big city to interview for this college. I was the only female to ever apply to this college and the competition was pretty tuff. My Auto Mechanics teacher actually drove me to Dallas and encouraged me to at least take the admissions test which I had to pass first. It all fell into place from there. I was accepted and chosen by Sewell Cadillac, one of the top Auto Dealerships in Dallas to sponsor me through the work program and classroom. I was hired on by Sewell Cadillac who paid my classes if I got a "A" so guess what, I was always on the honor roll!
I was about to graduate college and was working at Sewell Cadillac as a mechanic in the engine dept. when I first met my husband Nick. I think a cooling fan went out on his Camaro, and I wired a new one up for him. I tell everyone he married me for my Tools!
We dated started dating in Feb. 1992, got engaged in May, and married August 22, 1992. Have been best friends and happily married ever since!
Shortly after getting married, Nick and I started shopping for my first horse. We chose a Palomino King Ranch gelding named Digger who taught me how to team rope and work cattle, ect.. Next we bought Cody, Nick's horse who was a Doc's Sug ex-cutting horse who no one could ride but Nick. We laugh today about how much fun we had with those guys, loping on the wrong lead not knowing the difference and smiling the whole time!
One day we drove over and watched the Paint World Show and fell in love with the reining and cutting sport. I had already been getting the Paint Journal and were researching everything I could about the breed and sport of Reining. We had heard about Smokin Chic Olena and saw a video of him in the USET Reining competition. The next year at the 2001 World Show, we watched him win several world titles. We bred two mares to him that year and were awaiting our first crop to arrive in 2002. Both babies painted out in Spring of 2002 and we were hooked. I tracked down and eventually purchased a full sister to Smokin Chic Olena. She was patient enough to lead me through my first year of reining. All the missed markers, fast hands, wrong cues... Those Rookie horses deserve a metal! She took me to the finals at the 2003 Paint World show and I could not remember the run at all I was so nervous. To this day I try to smile and encourage new people when they are showing for the first time. I can still remember how terrified I was.
WHY PAINTS? It's not just paints, but we do love the color, quality and looks of them for sure! We searched and bought a few select mares that could be registered APHA and AQHA. We trained and got them shown, most of them are in our broodmare band today. I have built our program from mares that have top bloodlines you need, willingness and good disposition plus tried to incorporate the color gene that pops up in some of the American Quarter Horses. Also known as the Sabino and Splash pattern. It just so happens that one of the leading sires, Smart Chic Olena throws that pattern. We have several daughters of his in our broodmare band. Plus, who can deny the great Colonels Smokingun (Gunner) and his contribution to the breed.
We are now riding and showing our first foal crop successfully, what a reward to see them in the winners circle!
Our goal is to raise the best quality show horses with color.
Nick and I show Non pro in the NRHA, and a few APHA, AQHA shows. We usually have a select few horse in training to be shown in the Open, or us to ride in Non Pro. Occasionally we have some great horses for sale. Feel free to let us know if you are looking for something in particular. We would love to help you find the right horse, If we don't have it we just might know someone who does!