By Frank J. Buchman
“I have a new horse. I just freaked out when I heard I’d won her.”
Ten-year-old Mandy Wainwright was still in a certain sense of shock and obviously very excited about the Quarter Horse filly she received from the Moon Willow Ranch at San Antonio, Texas.
Already an all-around horse girl, preferably we say cowgirl, Mandy, daughter of Dan and Wainwright of Council Grove, was en route to the Kansas State Fair at Hutchinson to present a demonstration about, of course, horses when she most animatedly revealed how her new dun weanling filly came to the family’s Bar Flying W Ranch.
“A friend of ours saw information about an essay contest that the Moon Willow Ranch was conducting for a filly, and my folks said they’d pay the $100 entry fee if I would write ‘Why I have the perfect home for a Moon Willow filly.’ So, I wrote down the reasons, and we sent them in,” Mandy reflected.
Mom Lisa inserted, “Of course, the competition was open to everybody, and we were actually quite shocked when notification came that Mandy’s essay had won.”
Quickly, the winner interrupted, “Then, we had to go get my new horse.”
It’s a long ways from the family’s Morris County ranch to “30 minutes northwest of San Antonio, Texas, on 20 acres of coastal pasture known as the “Loma Prieta,” the Moon Willow Ranch, a Quarter Horse breeding operation of Courtney and Jason Bridgeman.
But dad Dan, mom Lisa, little brother Gus and horse-winner Mandy hooked up the Bar Flying W trailer and headed south. “I didn’t know if we were ever going to get there,” Mandy admitted.
Upon arrival, the February-born dun filly, Cash For D Bartender, was anxious to meet her new owner. “She was weaned, broke to lead, has been wormed several times, and had received all the vaccinations needed by a young filly for a long trailer rider to her new home,” Mandy verified.
“Her name is so long, that I’ve decided to call my filly, Lori,” the little cowgirl informed.
Before loading her new acquisition, the Wainwright family found out more about Courtney and Jason Bridgeman, their Moon Willow Ranch, and one of the most important parts of it, their “great grey stallion,” Sixes Playmate.
“Sired by Royal Quick Dash and grand-sired by the living legend First Down Dash, Sixes’ bloodlines are extraordinary, and his abilities as a stallion and as a sire are not limited to his pedigree. His personality, level-headedness and heart will prove useful in any discipline,” Courtney insisted.
“While not having entered the racetrack himself, this stallion does not lack for bloodlines or personality to compete and win. Sixes’ solid personality and show stopping air catch attention everywhere he goes. His versatility and attitude pass on to his offspring reliably,” Jason quickly added.
“Our mares range the spectrum, so when their foals hit the ground, it’s always a rainbow. We breed exclusively for the 3 C’s: Charisma, Conformation, and Color. Yes, even color, with Sixes’ foals often being grey, but also other colors including duns like this filly,” Courtney pointed at Mandy’s Lori.
“We like nothing more than to have Sixes’ offspring in show homes. Be it halter, speed events, pleasure, English or Western, his bloodlines, talent, and personality will make your day,” Jason stated.
“And, that’s why we are so excited that Mandy Wainwright is taking this filly to Kansas. Mandy has been successful in all of these competitions, and this filly will reach her ultimate potential with Mandy on their Flint Hills ranch,” confidently insisted Courtney, while helping load the weanling dun filly into the Bar Flying W trailer for a many-mile journey to a new home.
Interestingly, the filly has the breeder’s MW brand on her left hip, likewise initials of the horse’s new owner Mandy Wainwright.
“Lori was a little frisky being loaded into our trailer all by herself, but she’s so smart that she calmed down when I explained to her she was coming to live with me,” Mandy said.
“Because, we had so many miles to haul her, we were fortunate to be able to stop en route home, unload the filly and let her stay in a barn overnight, until we loaded back up and finished the trip the next morning ,” mom Lisa noted.
Upon arrival home, Mandy unloaded her new horse and introduced Lori to the barnyard of other horses and plenty of cattle, too, common populations at the Bar Flying W.
“Lori is really nice, becoming accustomed to me, the ranch and the other horses. I know she’ll make me a champion barrel racing horse,” Mandy verified.
However, based on the young cowgirl’s record, the now-little dun could excel in many disciplines. “Barrel racing is still my favorite, but I really show in about every class there is; showmanship, halter, horsemanship, pleasure, all speed events, and about everything in English,” Mandy continued.
Not only is this a little girl talking, it’s all already backed up by a most enviable record of successes: local, regional, state 4-H horse show titles, Kansas Junior Rodeo Association championship saddles, Eastern Kansas Horseman’s Association year end trophies, let alone the open show and rodeo collections, and the list goes on.
But, not only can Mandy Wainwright ride and care for horses, she is anxious to share her young, yet diversified and even now most reputable, helpful knowledge with others her age, younger, and even older.
With fellow-4-H member, horseshow and rodeo champion Chancy Johnson, Mandy collected top blue club demonstration days honors talking about riding in English events, as Chancy compared the Western competitions.
Of course, it’s all in the Wainwright blood. Lisa (Andersen) Wainwright grew up riding horses, collecting numerous association titles, and competes today. Dan has ridden since old enough to sit in the saddle, competed at every level at some point, is now on ranch rodeo teams, and most importantly on horseback looks after and helps with thousands of Flint Hills cattle annually.
Little brother Gus takes prodding sometimes, but when he borrows sis’s mounts, or mom’s, dad’s or grandma Wanda’s, he’s right there with the best when show results are announced.
One would be remised not to credit, Grandma Wanda Tim and great-grandpa Ted Wilkerson for Mandy’s lineage to be on horseback. “I ride Grandma’s palomino gelding Wimpy Jo Go in several classes, and so does Gus,” the little cowgirl acknowledged.
As happy as Mandy and all of her family are about getting Lori, and dreaming about all of the things the cowgirl and filly will accomplish as they grow and develop together is somewhat a repeat for the Wainwright family.
“I won an Arabian gelding called Sultan when I was in 4-H, showed him everywhere for many years, and he became a very important part of our family, even though we were cowboys on a ranch known for its Quarter Horses. My grandpa Ted Wilkerson even rode Sultan to gather cattle,” Dan Wainwright remembered.
“These programs where breeders offer horses to young people to learn and develop are really important. I wish more horse owners would understand how it gives an opportunity for those who can’t afford to buy a good horse, plus it’s a great way to expose a breeder’s production,” Wainwright added.
“I really want to thank Courtney, Jason and the Moon Willow Ranch for giving Lori to me. I promise to do my very best to make her the very best horse anywhere,” Mandy appreciated.