Robertson Ranches is a revered icon in the Quarter Horse World. Mary and Bradley Robertson have created an idyllic ranch in Plymouth, California with green rolling hills and towering oak trees, where their horses and Angus-Simmental cows graze on native forages in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

And now Mary is realizing a life-long dream with their 2009 sorrel stallion, One Fine Vintage, whose barn name is “Vinnie.”

When asked how she chose the lineage to produce Vinnie, Mary smiled and said that she had researched the pedigree of her favorite mare at the time, Shiners Siena. Shiners Siena’s dam was Taris Vintage and her sire was Shining Spark. Taris Vintage has an outstanding record as a dam and grand dam, producing numerous winners in the reining and cow horse world. In 2014 Vinnie’s paternal grand sire (Peptoboonsmal) and his maternal grand sire (Shining Spark) were recognized by AQHA as leading paternal and maternal grand sires. Both sides of Vinnie’s pedigree are truly royal!

“My trainer at the time, Rod Wiemers, showed Shiners Siena on the open circuit, and I showed her in amateur and non-pro classes. When I looked at her pedigree, I realized that her dam’s and sire’s lines were connected to many great horses. We decided to breed her and do an embryo transfer so we could continue to show her.”

Deciding on the stallion was fairly easy for Mary. Rod and Jeff Matthews, the owners of One Time Pepto, helped orchestrate what line of breeding Mary should follow. The result was One Fine Vintage, the embryo transfer foal from Shiners Siena and One Time Pepto.

“As a baby, ‘Vinnie’ was an ugly duckling,” laughs Mary. “But he turned out to be a real winner. I give a lot of credit to James Ferreira who started Vinnie as a long yearling. He was assistant trainer for Ron Emmons. I moved my horses to Ron’s barn after Rod passed away. James initially did most of the riding on Vinnie, spending countless hours on him. I think if Vinnie wasn’t in the capable hands of James in those early days that he might not have made it to the show pen. This horse is so athletic and incredibly talented, yet sensitive, that I don’t know that many trainers would have done him justice. James took time and patience with Vinnie so that Ron was able to move him into the show horse program. Ron and Vinnie had moments of brilliance together, and like all riders and horses, they had their low points too. During Vinnie’s four-year-old year at the NRCHA Derby he over-reached and stepped on himself turning around in the practice ring, injuring his coronet band. We had to scratch him from the Derby after the herd work. During the 2013 AQHA World Show he won 7th in Junior Working Cow Horse. Ron had Vinnie qualified for the Finals, but Ron suffered a back injury which forced us to find a catch rider for the Finals. At the 2014 Stallion Stakes, Vinnie overreached in the final stop of his rein work, causing him to fall down and jerk both front shoes off and subsequently miss a shot at making the finals.”

In 2013 Vinnie won the Idaho Reined Cow Horse Association Derby as a four-year-old. He also won the Arizona Sun Circuit Quarter Horse series of shows as a five-year-old.

After the Sun Circuit Shows, Vinnie was within two or three points of achieving his AQHA Superior rating for Working Cow Horse. “I convinced Ron to take Vinnie to one more AQHA show,” notes Mary. “Ron took him to one more set of shows in Oregon where Vinnie earned points necessary for his Superior, which meant that he also held onto first place for the year. That’s when he won AQHA high point and received recognition at the AQHA convention, where Vinnie was noted as the Open Working Cow Horse Overall for All Ages. He was AQHA Open Working Cow Horse high point in 2014, as well as high point horse in Open Junior Working Cow Horse. He was also the high point AQHA Working Cow Horse Stallion in 2014. I want to say that I greatly appreciate the AQHA for making that opportunity possible.”

As with all performance horses, making show and trainer choices takes consideration and strategy.

“We got to a point where we were ready to make a change when Ron and Vinnie reached the end of the horse’s limited age events,” notes Mary. “My husband, Ron and I mutually agreed that it was time for a change. I had noticed that Phillip Ralls had been experiencing repeated success with several different horses, especially bridle horses. I asked Phillip if he’d be interested in riding Vinnie, and he was willing to give it a try. Phillip puts a lot of emphasis on consistency with the horses in his training program, which we feel is extremely important for the longevity of our stallion’s show career.

“We took Vinnie to him the first of the year, and Phillip took him to the NRCHA World Show in February in Ft. Worth, Texas. They made the finals in Open Hackamore, the division that Vinnie had won the World Championship the year before. This year, however, even making the Top Ten in the field of horses at Ft. Worth was much tougher than any class I’ve ever seen. The talent ran so deep — it was really tough. It was truly an honor that Vinnie made the Top Ten.” Phillip will continue the horse’s show career, including Two-Rein and Open Bridle events.

Mary pauses when talking about One Fine Vintage. “This stallion has been a dream of mine,” she says. “My wonderful husband Brad has always been supportive of my love of horses. In fact, we met through horses, ranching and rodeo — and of course we run a cattle ranch. He’s involved with team roping. For me, riding reining and working cow horses has always been a dream. And now we are truly blessed to have finally arrived at a point in our lives that we can live out our dreams. Having Vinnie come along, with his royal pedigree, and seeing his intelligence and athletic ability has been an exciting expansion of my dream and passion. Now we can promote him as a stallion, and we’re excited about where we can go from here. We’ve bred him to some really fantastically-bred mares both from the cutting and working cow horse industries, as well as other performance arenas including mares from the rodeo world. So we’re really looking forward to having some remarkable babies on the ground in 2016!”

This article was originally published by Pacific Coast Journal and was written by Kate Riordan.