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2003/12/17

Couple's Love For Appaloosa Horses Evident In All Facets Of Their Lives by Jennifer Glass John Wayne rode one in El Dorado, and James Drewry sat atop one every week in his television series, The Virginian. Fayette Countian Terry Bogue says he noticed such things as a young man, and it's very possible his love for Appaloosa horses began when those larger-than-life heroes saved the day with their trusty four-legged friends by their sides. Whatever the reason, Terry and wife, Connie, have spent nearly the last decade rekindling his relationship with the horse breed and building a way of life that, in every way, exemplifies their love and commitment to the Appaloosa. One walk through the Bogues' home and anyone would be able to see that raising horses and embracing the western culture that has for so long been associated with them is not just a hobby for the couple it's a way of life. Everything from the handsomely framed horse depictions to the windows across the living room that give the place a Mexican cantina feel is testament to this commitment. According to Terry, the house and their horse farm, Coyote Creek Ranch, are the results of much more work than the couple had ever imagined. "Our goal was to strictly raise horses," Terry says. "We wanted to produce colored Appaloosas." Terry says there has been a significant amount of what he calls outbreeding over the years. This is producing more and more solid colored Appaloosas. "For a while, breeding Appaloosas to Quarter Horses became a more acceptable practice," Terry says. "But now, there's been a renewed interest in returning color back to the breed." According to Terry, the Appaloosa Horse Club can take a lot of credit for the new movement. "The Appaloosa Horse Club is going to great lengths to reward the colored horse," Terry says. "And they're making it increasingly more difficult for solid colored Appaloosas to be accepted by not allowing them to be shown or raced in competition." Terry says the Blanket Appaloosas, "the ones that look like they have a blanket draped across their backsides," are what most people think of when they refer to the Appaloosa horse breed. "But there are other characteristics that are unique to the Appaloosa," Terry says. "Unlike other breeds of horses, the Appaloosa has a white sclera, which makes the Appaloosa's eye look very similar to the white portion of the human eye." According to Terry, another Appaloosa characteristic noticeable on the head is parti-colored skin around the lips and nostrils. "This is an irregular mottling of pink and dark skin," Terry says. The amazing thing about the Bogues' Appaloosa horse ranch is the fact that, while it has helped them establish their current way of life, it's not their primary vocation. Terry is Director of Facility Operations-Security at Smith and Nephew in Memphis, and Connie is a cost accountant for Wright Medical Technologies in Arlington. Because of their other responsibilities, the Bogues say they didn't want a huge horse operation. "We wanted to raise babies and get rid of them at an early age," Terry says. While their journey began only back in 1994, Terry started many years before that. "As I mentioned earlier, I grew up watching heroes like John Wayne and James Drewry ride Appaloosas," Terry says. "And like many kids who grew up in Memphis in the 50s and 60s, I had the chance to own and ride horses." According to Terry, living in Frayser only meant that his dad would rent pastureland, which was a common practice of the time. "Once I got married and had kids of my own, I moved away from having and riding horses," Terry says. And it was Connie, who had never been around horses, who suggested to Terry that she might like to have some. So the couple made their first move from their Memphis home to a four-acre home in the Ellendale area. "This was by no means a horse ranch," Terry says. But it was the catalyst that would send them on the road to Coyote Creek Ranch. Eventually, the couple bought the 75 acres where their current home is, and they began to seriously establish their business. But the initial startup suffered a couple of setbacks. "I went to an Appaloosa Horse Show in Germantown," Terry says. "I met a man from Monroe, La., and we established a relationship with each other." Terry traveled to Monroe two years straight, in an effort to have his first mare Ruffles Plaudit bred to the stallion, JJ'S Mighty David. He soon discovered she was barren. A second setback occurred when a colt he had purchased from the same owner got sick and died. "He made good on the horse," Terry says. "And he let me come back to Louisiana and choose another stallion. He was a pristine baby, and I loaded him up and brought him home." Terry says that horse has been the foundation stallion for his program. "In spring 2004, JJ'S Mighty Goer (Cody) will have sired 15 babies, and to date, only two of them have been atypical or non-colored Appaloosas," Terry says. While there seems to be an intuitive side to breeding Appaloosas, Terry says he has always paid attention to bloodlines. "One of the things I did when I first started was to determine blood lines I thought I wanted in my horses," Terry says. "And I looked for mares with the bloodlines of the most prolific horses I could find." According to Terry, the majority of the bloodlines he chose Goer, Bright Eyes Brother, Joker B, Three Bars, Plaudit, Wap Spotted, and Skipper W., are listed in the Appaloosa Hall of Fame or are known as breeding or show winners in other breed associations. Subsequently, Terry says his horses are also bred for disposition, and conformation as well as color. "Appaloosas are known for their winning dispositions," Terry says. "And they're all-around horses. There's really no specific designation of what they can do." Terry says his granddaughter, Chelsea, is riding and jumping English style and will soon be using one of his Appaloosas, a filly foaled in March of 2003 and given to Chelsea for her birthday. The Bogues say they owe a lot of their success of their horse operation to two people. "Dr. Kim Garner of Big Creek Animal Hospital in Millington has been wonderful to us," Terry says. "She's taken a personal interest in us as people and not just owners of her patients. I know if I called her right now, she would either be here or have someone here almost immediately. "And we've learned so much from Eddie Burrow. He has such a soft hand with the horses. He really is the best I've ever seen with a young horse," Terry says. "It's amazing to watch him," Connie says. Terry says he wants to share with others who might be thinking about starting their own horse operations. "It takes a lot of effort, work and determination to take a piece of bare land and build a dream on it," he says. "I want to be able to help someone else avoid the setbacks we encountered." According to Terry, the horse market is slow right now. He thinks this is because of the economy. However, he's enthusiastic about his horses, and he's one of the few breeders of Appaloosas in the area. "I don't think there will ever be a time when I won't have a couple of babies on our ranch," he says. "I just love this breed of horse, and I think it shows in the horses we have here."

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