Sire Spotlight: SIXES PICK

Some horses are born to make history. That includes Sixes Pick, the inaugural American Quarter Horse Association Versatility Ranch Horse (VRH) world champion.

With the legendary Four Sixes brand on his cheek and the blood of generations of Four Sixes horses in his veins, it’s not hard to see why Sixes Pick has become one of the ranch horse industry’s leading sires. Three of his offspring have followed in his footsteps and have gone on to win an AQHA VRH world championship. Other sons and daughters have spread throughout the world as working ranch horses and breeding stock, including on ranches in Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, and Australia.

By the renowned ranch horse Tanquery Gin, Sixes Pick is out of Natural Pick, a daughter of one of the most celebrated mare lines on the Four Sixes ranch. His bloodlines include Doc O’Lena, Doc Bar, and Poco Bueno on top, with Tenino Badger, Natural, Coe Badger Two, and Miss Cee Bars on the bottom.

Born in 1998, Sixes Pick began life as a working ranch horse. Started by Four Sixes trainer Joe Wolter, the bright sorrel stallion quickly exhibited the speed and natural cowiness of a born cutting horse. By the time Chance O’Neal became head trainer at the Four Sixes, Sixes Pick had already been in use as a breeding stallion and had also gone on to compete in several National Cutting Horse Association events.

Showing promise as a talented show prospect and stallion, Dr. Glenn Blodgett, manager of Four Sixes horse division, thought Sixes Pick would be a great fit for the versatility ranch horse competitions that were quickly becoming popular. Sixes Pick was already an experienced cutter, so when Dr. Blodgett asked O’Neal to show him, O’Neal focused on training the stallion to do the other five events that take place during a ranch horse competition: the reining, roping, trail, pleasure, and fence work. Because you’re required to do so many different events in a short period of time, it requires a horse to be highly athletic and conformationally correct—both traits Sixes Pick had.

With O’Neal in the saddle, Sixes Pick proved to be a born champion, earning multiple accolades in VRH competitions at the San Antonio Livestock Show in 2005, 2006 and 2007, including winning the title of AQHA Ranch Versatility Overall Champion at the event two years in a row.

By January 2008, when the inaugural AQHA VRH World Championship Show was held in Denver, Colorado, O’Neal and Sixes Pick were already seasoned competitors and ready to shine at this prestigious event. Sixes Pick’s athleticism and ranch horse abilities were on full display when he became the world’s first AQHA VRH world champion. He also took home world championship titles in the conformation and trail events, as well as a reserve world championship in the cutting. This competition requires both horse and rider have to have stamina and be at the top of their game throughout all of the events. But O’Neal was up for the challenge, and the judges took note of the duo’s extraordinary abilities.

“Sixes Pick had a flawless run,” Dr. Blodgett said. “Everything went really well there, and there was plenty of competition. I knew and respected those judges’ abilities to evaluate and judge a good cow horse, and I walked away from there with a really good feeling, knowing that those guys thought he was the best. Chance O’Neal did a great job showing him.”

Lifelong cowboy O’Neal, who was born and raised on the W.T. Waggoner Ranch in Vernon, Texas, remembers riding Sixes Pick as an exceptional experience.

“I was raised on a ranch with some really good horses, and I’d rode some good horses under some good trainers. But when I rode Sixes Pick and felt him for the first time, I knew he was special,” O’Neal said. “I probably learned more from him than I ever taught him. With that said, I don’t think I realized how exceptional he was until we retired him. He made it easy.”

At the age of 23, Sixes Pick is still going strong, and stands as one of the Four Sixes Ranch’s premier performance stallions. This true all-around ranch horse is well-balanced with a good head and a soft eye. Most importantly, though, his offspring are good-minded. Sixes Pick crosses well on a lot of mares and is always a highly recommended stallion at the ranch for those looking to breed for ranch versatility prospects. 

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