Breeder’s Showcase: Profiles of smaller-scale, successful Appaloosa breeders who have a positive impact on the breed.
Liz Kincaid’s love for Appaloosas started at the age of 10 when her family visited the Texas State Fair. When they approached the arena, there happened to be an Appaloosa class being held and the 75 spotted horses standing in front of her mesmerized Liz. She remembers fondly, “It turned out to be the Most Colorful at Halter class and I was in complete awe — no I was completely in love with the array of colors. Not one was the same.”
With her love firmly in place, her father purchased an Appaloosa for her by the name of Buttons. Liz did everything with But- tons. Reining, pleasure, barrels, halter, jumping, and even participated on an actual fox hunt or two. Buttons proved that despite being only a little over 14 hands he could jump as big as any of the Thoroughbreds that were there, never missing a jump going cross country. She did admit that she once got dunked into a river, but says it was totally operator error. She got scared, cued him wrong and he stopped. Liz flew over his head and flipped into the river. She came out unscathed from the experience, but found the river was colder than her liking.
After purchasing her first ApHC-registered mare from Melissa Powell, Liz enjoyed some success in Saddle Seat Pleasure with that mare’s first foal named Sons Copper Penny. Liz then be- came smitten with the reining and cutting lines after reading an article on Jimmie Miller Smith, owner of the legendary I’ma Doc O’Lena, in Appaloosa Journal . Liz was so impressed with Jimmie Miller Smith’s belief that every Appaloosa breeder should have access to her stallion (so they too could have great Appaloosas) that Jimmie became Liz’s inspiration. She started studying reining and cutting in earnest and her next big purchase was Silver Roxie, in foal to I’ma Doc O’Lena. Unfortunately, great plans don’t always turn out the way one hopes and the mare slipped her foal. Liz’s business partner at that time suggested breeding Roxie to her QH stallion, Gay Bars Jess, and the resulting foal, Gay Bars Silver, was born.
Gay Bars Silver made a name for himself and Liz in the world of Appaloosa cutting horses as well as proving to be a versatile sire. Standing at Liz’s ranch, T.O.P. Appaloosas (newly relocated to a state-of-the-art facility in Bridgeport, Texas) Liz recalled, “Gay Bars Silver was an amazing individual. As a baby he was friendly to everyone. He always walked over to see who was in his pasture. He was a pet. As a yearling he was a tad lazy, he preferred to walk rather than go anywhere in a hurry. But on a cow his instincts kicked in and he was brilliant; ears up, turning through himself and he had a slam down stop. He was always quiet in the herd. He was tremendously athletic and very easy on the eye. Silver was beautifully balanced. He preferred to sleep between sets, not once did he ever squeal or talk to a mare and he was a breeding stallion since the age of four. It was like he knew when that saddle was on it was all business and he was ready to work. In the breeding shed Silver was handled by me for the live cover mares. I was able to lead him over to mares, get them covered and walk him back to his pen all by myself. People used to come to see Silver and I would walk them over to his pen. That rascal would back up so they would scratch his rump. They would eventually ask when they could see Silver and you should’ve seen the looks on their faces when I told them they had been scratching his back for the last 20 minutes! He was a people horse.”
While still alive he was voted into the Appaloosa Cutting Horse Association Hall of Fame. After his death, with his show record, champion get, lifetime earnings, and many magazine articles, he was elevated into the Appaloosa Horse Club Hall of Fame (2018).
Gay Bars Silver has foals in Germany, Australia, and Canada in addition to the United States. Through frozen semen he continues as a versatile sire with foals who excel in: Cutting, Reining, Halter, RCH, Hunter In Hand, Ranch classes, Roping, Mounted Shooting, Team Penning, English classes, to name a few.
Like most breeders, Liz has known her share of heartbreak, but nothing was more devastating for her than when Silver succumbed to a leg injury and had to be laid to rest in Bowie Animal Cemetery located in Texas.
Liz’s most rewarding memory — “Other than the birth of my kids my biggest moment was when Silver won me a buckle. Up until then I had never won a buckle. I wore that buckle nonstop, every single day for the whole year! I have it on display now, it’s all scratched up, but it is priceless!”
Stepping up into his sires’ shoes is Five Bars Of Silver (Gay Bars Silver x MS High Five), a buckskin near-leopard. Affectionately known as Sterling, he was the last foal out of Ms High Five and so far in his young career is a 2X Bronze Medallion-earner, reining champion, and a reserve National champion in Open Team Roping and Judged Heeling.
Liz’s mare power is top notch and includes proven bloodlines such as: Cats Merada, I’ma Doc O’lena, High Brow Hickory, High Sign, Ima Frosty Lena and many more great sires. One of Gay Bars Silver’s best daughters is On The Cutting Edge out of Hickory Star Lena, an own daughter of High Brow Hickory. That Silver daughter has more than $11,000 in earnings in ApCHA and Open Cutting events so far.
Liz’s memories of Gay Bars Silver will sustain her soul, and in the here-and-now the continued success of his get, the brilliance of remaining breedings to him through technology, and the burgeoning career of Five Bars Of Silver will keep her busy and moving forward. Through decades of hard work and passion Liz has built the foundations of a legacy. Please visit her website
www.top-appaloosas.com for more information and opportunities, or email her at email@example.com.
By Darlene Neisess
Photos courtesy of Liz Kincaid