Historic Arizona ranch breeds the highest quality of tough ranch horses and has earned the AQHA Best Remuda Award.
The O RO Ranch has bred the right kind of American Quarter Horse since long before the inception of the American Quarter Horse Association – tough, gritty horses capable of ranch work in the rough country near Prescott, Arizona. This year, it is honored with the 2022 AQHA Best Remuda Award, which honors a ranch that raises outstanding ranch horses.
The origins of the O RO trace to 1821, when the Spanish crown granted Don Luis Maria Baca a half-million-acre allotment near Los Alamos, New Mexico. After governmental land purchases, his heirs were given an equivalent amount of land further west, including land near Prescott, which is where the current O RO Ranch is located.
In 1940, the ranch registered 250 mares and stallions with the fledgling American Quarter Horse Association, and in 1973, its 257,000 acres were purchased by John N. Irwin II’s JJJ Corp. Today, it is majority owned by Irwin’s daughter, Jane Irwin Droppa, and her family.
“It is an honor to recognize this great ranch, which has produced world-class ranch horses for more than 150 years,” said Karen McCuistion, the AQHA senior director of member programs. “Their horses are tough, reliable and handy – everything we want in a ranch horse.”
To care for the thousands of cattle that reside on the O RO, its cowboys ride horses every day of the year, with approximately 100 geldings in its remuda in addition to its breeding stock. They ranch on cactus- and rock-covered, steep land that varies from 3,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level, which requires an extraordinarily tough horse with good bone and deep stamina.
American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame mare Fillinic’s sire, Arizona Junie, was from RO stock. When the owners of famed American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame stallion Driftwood were just beginning to prove their stallion, they first looked for O RO mares to cross him on. In the very first cutting events at the legendary Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1950, the gelding RO Andy was among the horses to compete. The ranch today continues to produce top roping, rodeo and reined cow horse competitors.
In addition to the hard work of raising cattle, the O RO works to promote the western lifestyle by contributing to programs such as 4-H, high school and college rodeo, ranch rodeos and the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program.
The O RO Ranch will receive a specially designed award presented during the 2023 AQHA Breeder Banquet and the ranch will be featured in The American Quarter Horse Journal.
View more information about the AQHA Best Remuda award.
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The O RO Ranch will receive a specially designed award presented during the 2023 AQHA Breeder Banquet and the ranch will be featured in The American Quarter Horse Journal. Phot credit: Holly Roark.