GoHorseShow recently had the opportunity to tour Ken and Marilyn Masterson's farm located in Somerville, Tennessee where the couple stands, RL Best of Sudden, Zippos Sheik, and Last Detail. What was impressive besides the gorgeous state-of-the-art facility and rolling Tennessee hills, was the passion and hard work they invest in their breeding business. The Mastersons have developed an excellent reputation of providing impeccable customer service to their clients largely due to surrounding themselves with high quality staff.
"I want everyone to feel that when they deal with us and the farm that they are treated well, correctly, and dealt with honestly," says Ken Masterson, who took many of the business principles he learned while working for FedEx and applied them to his breeding business. "Many people in the industry are concerned and uncertain about whether they will be receiving a quality product for their investment. We work really hard to provide excellent service, and I believe we have been able to provide a quality experience whether it is in the breeding arena or when buying a prospect."
His elite staff include: breeding manager, Janne Stewart, assistant breeding manager, Lyn Helbach, business manager, Buffy Porch, resident trainers, Shannon Curl and Amanda Ringer, property manager, David Mitchell, and attending veterinarian, Dr. Colin Anderson.
"We had an outstanding breeding season this year," Ken says. "Our program was enhanced by the help of Texas A&M which developed a method of packaging our shipped semen for us that enables us to breed more mares from the same number of collections."
Masterson who says he fell in love with quarter horses because of a quarter mare he had as a boy, states that one of the smartest decisions they've ever made was buying, RL Best of Sudden (Bo), who won the first Reichert Two Year-Old $100,000 Challenge in 2004.
Even within a short time, Bo's sire record is impressive. He sired three AQHA Reserve World Champions last year as well as the Masters Congress Champion, Suddenly A Cool Lady. His offspring at the beginning of this year had already amassed over 4,000 points and over one million dollars in earnings. Seventy-nine percent of his performers are also point earners! Quite a feat for a stallion whose oldest offspring are just five years-old.
Some of his top offspring include, Suddenly Its Time, Suddenly A Cool Lady, Suddens Leadin Lady, Tootsee Roll, Unique Fashion, All But Sudden, The Best Cookie, After Midnite, Nuthin Escapes Her, What We Do Best, Best In The Dark, Won Last Stand, VS Code Blue and the list goes on and on.....
Resident trainers Shannon Curl and Amanda Ringer mention that Bo's offspring are very laid back and trainable. They currently are working with 13 two year-olds and twenty three total horses by Masterson's stallions. Ringer recently came aboard and has helped complement Curl and her style of training.
"Amanda is very good with toplines," Curl states. "I tend to be better underneath and getting them good legged. We both showed paints together while we were growing up so I know she works hard and is very talented. I'm glad she decided to join me in this challenge of developing some great futurity horses here."
Curl adds,"We love the challenge of training the futurity horses because it never gets boring. Some horses that you think are going to be your best ones, don't end up your top horses and the ones that you think may not be as talented turn the corner and end up the best prospects. We get a huge amount of traffic at the farm and anyone is welcome to come and look at our prospects for sale."
The Mastersons have some outstanding futurity horses to present this year including; KM Born To Be Best (Tom) (pictured left) that literally looks like a clone of his father. Curl plans to show him in the Reichert Three Year-Old Maiden Class and Southern Belle Slot Class at the Congress. Curl will also be showing KM Million Dollar Baby out of Winnie Three Bars in the Junior and Three Year-Old classes this year. KM Best of Brandy (Grey Bob) is a talented big powerful grey gelding that will be shown in the Three Year-Old Novice and Open Classes. KM Perfect 10 (Mercy) which is a full sister to KM Million Dollar Baby will be shown by Curl in the Reichert Two Year-Old Challenge, and one of their futurity horses that is a huge standout, is liver chestnut stallion, KM Zippin The Best.
"He is really big and slow and jogs and lopes in place and seems to float," Curl says. "I'm really excited to be showing him in the Masters Two Year-Old Class at the Congress."
CLICK HERE to view a slideshow of some of their top futurity horses.
Assistant trainer, Ringer, has also been making her mark in the show arena. Her two year-old, Bos KM Bos Mr. Good Bar (Hank) was Reserve Champion in the futurity slot class in Tunica, Mississippi a few weeks ago and the cute petite mare, KM Hotrodders Best, was impressive and won all four green western pleasure classes in her show debut at Tunica with Ringer aboard.
And, let us not forget, the queen bee of the barn, Nothin But Jazz, that Marilyn Masterson is showing in the Amateur and Non Pro Maturity Western Pleasure classes across the country. Last year, the duo won the Hylton Non Pro Limited Maturity Class at the Little Futurity and placed third at the Congress in the Amateur Western Pleasure and fourth in the AQHA World Championship Show and was the Intermediate World Champion in Amateur Western Pleasure
Besides the breeding stallions, Jazz is one of the few horses that is not for sale Marilyn says, "She is such a neat horse with a big heart. The best horse I have ever ridden. She is the same inside the pen and never changes and I think she is one of the great ones.
Ken and Marilyn, who met due to their involvement with Saddlebreds, also have a yearling, weanling and one on the way out of Jazz that they are excited to show when the foals get older. While the couple is optimistic about the long term outlook of the breeding industry, Ken does have some advice when it comes to the breeding business.
"You aren't going to have great babies every year, and people need to realize that breeding is a long term venture. People that want to be involved with horses as a hobby and for pure enjoyment shouldn't be involved in standing a stallion -- there are just too many challenges" he says. "I do love this business however. It is extremely rewarding to see customers do well with horses they buy from us. It is especially rewarding and exciting to see kids do well with our horses. I think we have a bright future ahead of us."