Ranch-Raised and Arena-Savvy
Buddy Major, Mike's father and a top professional calf roper and rancher, shared his skills with his son. Mike, who still team ropes today, roped professionally for a few years and spent 14 years riding bulls and saddle broncs. Throughout the 1990s, he competed in ranch rodeos and by 2002 had focused on working cow-horse competition, followed by ranch-horse versatility events.
"But I've always ridden cow horses and always bred horses for ranch work and cutting," Mike says. "In a sense, I've been working toward cow-horse and versatility competition all my life, although I really got serious about it seven years ago."
In 1990, Mike purchased the old Flying A Ranch, which Gene Autry once owned and Harry Knight operated. There, Mike and wife Holly operate Major Cattle Company, which includes about 1,000 yearlings and a horse-breeding operation, as well as the mother-cow herd on their Belen, New Mexico, ranch.
The Majors' horse program continues a family tradition Mike's grandfather began in the early 1900s using U.S. Cavalry Remount stallions. Mike began his breeding program with a Leo- and Three Chicks-bred stallion, followed by a Mito Bars-bred horse and later a stallion with Beduino, Rebel Cause and Truckle Feature bloodlines.
The Major stallion line-up currently includes Smart Whiskey Doc, the 2006 American Quarter Horse Association Select World Champion Working Cow Horse and 2003 Open High-Point Ranch Horse Versatility Stallion, and Love A Little Devil and RPM Mr Stylish, who both have National Cutting Horse Association money-earnings, as well as AQHA points. Most recently, an own son of Shining Spark out of a Little Peppy mare has been added to the line-up.
"People like versatility and cow-horse competition, and riding pretty horses, so we try to raise horses that are structurally correct, but good-looking enough to halter-and perform, too," Mike explains.
"That's fun. I just hope I live long enough to ride all the colts when I do get them just like I want them."
Contact Major Cattle Company at 719-263-5540, or visit majorcattle.com.