Couple breeds and trains horses on their Dallas County, Mo., ranch
Capers Ranch in Louisburg, Mo., was established in 2017 on 85 acres of mixed pasture and hardwood.
The pristine white fences and beautifully maintained buildings are the perfect setting for the American Quarter Horse breeding program owned by Mack and Tammi Capers.
Mack, 64, is a lifelong horseman originally from Tennessee. Tammi, 57, is from Florida and began riding at 15. Mack and Tammi had both moved to Victor, Mont., to be in the mountains and to have a lifestyle that would revolve around horses. Mack, who was in construction, and Tammi, who owned a travel agency, were drawn together in 2003 by their mutual love of horses and were married in 2007.
Tammi had owned Appaloosas, Arabians and Missouri Fox Trotters before meeting Mack. “Mack introduced me to the American Quarter Horse and I was hooked,” Tammi said.
Mack cannot remember when he wasn’t around horses. His father was a professional bird dog trainer and Mack rode from the time he could sit on a horse and hold the reins.
“Each horse is different but they all have both a reactive and a thinking way of handling every situation,” Mack said. “I have learned that from babies to adults, the most effective way to teach a horse something is to engage the thinking side of its brain. Everything I do when working with horses is designed to engage the brain. For example, I don’t ‘hold’ a horse in the position I want it to travel in. I ask and release, ask and release, and keep doing that until the horse learns to stay there on its own. I let it make mistakes without getting upset. If a horse deliberately disobeys, the correction has to be instantaneous and over or it is ineffective. I correct and immediately go back to repetition without becoming upset or angry. I like to do most of my training on the trail or by working cattle. Arena work becomes boring for the horse and does not provide many opportunities for the animal to think and figure out what the appropriate response to a cue. On the trail, I can point a youngster right at a tree and then push it over. It doesn’t take long for the horse to figure out the cue to move sideways has a real purpose. Working cattle has the same effect because the horse can directly relate a cue to the behavior of the cow.”
Mack has ridden, trained and shown Quarter Horses. One of his favorites was a black stallion named Freckles Candoo, who qualified for the AQHA World Show in five different events.
Most of the Capers’ 15 broodmares are direct descendants of Colonel Freckles through Freckles Candoo. Their current stallion, PS Blaze N Firewater, known as Romeo, is a 2011 palomino grandson of Fire Water Flit.
“The Colonel Freckles and Fire Water Flit cross has consistently produced the conformation, cow sense, temperament and athleticism we are breeding for,” Mack said. “We want our horses to be able to go in any direction the owner wants. Romeo is a barrel prospect sire and is patterned on barrels. He is also a working cow horse, is well started in reining, and can be ridden with mares and geldings without issue.
“We only cover mares, even our own, through AI because it is safer and far less stressful for the stallion. We collect the stallion and inseminate the mares ourselves. With planning and luck we can inseminate up to 10 mares per collection.”
“We had 14 foals last year. Nine of them have been sold, with one filly going to Sweden in August. We are keeping two colts to train and only have three yearlings left,” Tammi said. “We are expecting 14 foals this year.”
Mack and Tammi have achieved their goal of producing top-quality Quarter Horses that can excel in any discipline if given the proper training.