Sire Spotlight: Call Me Mitch

This bay roan stallion is a crowd favorite at every event. His demeanor, grit, and try, have cemented his place in history as a legendary sire and performance horse.

With a kind expression, ears pointed forward, and an unstoppable amount of grit and determination, this 2011 bay roan stallion has won the hearts of performance horse fans worldwide.

Call Me Mitch is a son of the great Metallic Cat, and out of Miss Hickory Hill. The roan stallion with the big heart is sure to be a crowd pleaser any time he steps foot in an arena. But to Phillip and Teresa Ralls, he’s so much more than just a performance horse. Bought as a yearling at the NCHA Western Bloodstock sale, Phillip knew that Mitch was special the first time he laid eyes on him. Although the roan was originally bought as a show horse prospect, his potential as a stallion revealed itself quickly.

Photo courtesy of the Ralls family.

When You Just Know

Ralls was drawn to the horse right away. “A lot of those babies that have been fitted for the sale are a little wild, but not Mitch. He acted like he was a 10-year-old gelding. As soon as I saw him move around the round pen, I could see how athletic he was, and it didn’t hurt that he was big, strong, and beautiful.”  Ralls knew that Mitch was the one. “As soon as he started to move around, I was all in. I wasn’t sure if I could afford him, but I was so excited.” Mitch is owned by by the Estelle Roitblat Living Trust but resides at the Ralls’ barn where he will spend the rest of his days. After Ralls put 10-15 rides on the colt, Estelle came to watch him, and they both agreed – this horse was special.

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Born to Be a Winner

Mitch was shown as a 3-year-old in the futurities and showed great promise right from the start. His first show was at a local event where Ralls said, he “acted like he’d been shown 100 times.” From there the team went on to win the NSHA futurity in 2014, and the rest was history. With win, after win, the pair continued to take the performance horse world by storm. Ralls notes Mitch’s prowess as a show horse, saying, “That horse has made the finals at the derby, the stakes, the futurities, all the way through his show career.” With a LTE of $476,000+, Mitch has no doubt cemented his legacy as one of the greats.

At the prestigious World’s Greatest Horseman event, Ralls and Mitch were Reserve Champions for two years in a row. Then, in 2023, the team won the event – sending fans through the roof with excitement and breaking a record along the way. As the announcer asked the crowd, “what’s this horse’s name?” The sound reverberated through the Will Rogers as in unison the crowd chanted, “CALL ME MITCH!”

“There are great horses in individual events, but he really brings that extra factor being able to do all four events at that high of a level.”

Phillip Ralls
Photo by Carolyn Simanick, courtesy of the Ralls family.

Everything fell into place for this dynamic duo during that event. Ralls recounts “He felt sharp, I drew good, I had the right cattle, and we had a great game plan. I felt like from the first event the momentum was building and everything was firing on all cylinders. It worked as good as you could script it.” And in true Mitch fashion, he didn’t just win the event. He left a mark. “For him to win in that fashion…he didn’t just squeak by. He crushed it. He broke the record for the highest composite ever. It was incredible.”

The Winning Difference

So, what makes this kind stallion so special? Aside from his athleticism and the winning blood coursing through his veins, Mitch has shown consistency from the start. Ralls points to Mitch’s ability to be reliable as one of his best characteristics. “He’s always on your team. He doesn’t have bad shows. Every time you show him, he gives you 1000%, and he still shows like he enjoys it.” Along with his consistency, Mitch has the ability to excel at a variety of events. “He can be special in every event” says Ralls. “There are great horses in individual events, but he really brings that extra factor being able to do all four events at that high of a level.”

Mitch’s kind and gentle demeanor has always made him a special horse to be around as well, especially for a stallion. “Even after years of breeding, he acts like a quiet gelding. He knows when it’s time to go to the breeding shed, and when it’s time to show. He’s a total gentleman all the time.” Mitch’s gentle and willing attitude are apparent in the show ring as well. He trots in with his ears forward, ready and willing to conquer whatever Ralls asks of him.

Stamping His Offspring

As Mitch continues his show career while also siring offspring, he is making history as he competes against his own sons and daughters. The incredible horse, Son of a Mitch, is this roan stallion’s highest earning offspring, with a slew of Mitch babies making their mark from the amateurs to the open finals. Siring horses that are winning in the roping pen, the cutting, and the cow horse world as well as a variety of other events, is a testament to Mitch’s diverse set of strengths.

“We’re seeing his athleticism and variety in his babies”, says Ralls. “The majority of his babies have size and good bone. They’re put together well, they’re pretty, and they’ve just got a good combination of traits all the way around.” The 2011 roan stallion continues his breeding career at Santa Lucia Farm in Santa Ynez, California, while also still dominating in the show pen.

Making His Mark

From the breeding shed to the bright lights of the biggest events in cow horse history, Mitch has made his mark. Fans continue to strain their necks to catch a glimpse of the roan horse making his way into the arena with his ears forward and a kind eye. His offspring continue to amass wins, and the lifetime earnings of this legend continue to grow.

But to Phillip and Teresa Ralls, Mitch is so much more than a performance horse or sire. “This horse is different than others I’ve been around” says Ralls. “There have been great horses that show up once or twice, but Mitch is a machine. He’s sound, healthy, and loves to go to town. Winning the World’s Greatest Horseman was a lifetime goal for me. And to be able to do it on him was awesome. He is such a special horse; he loves to show. We step into the pen, his ears go up, and then away we go.”  

Ready for a tear-jerker? Check out this footage of Mitch and Ralls winning the 2023 World’s Greatest Horseman.
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