Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse News

2008 January/February

Stallion Issue


Cover Story



The phone number listed on the cover and inside cover story for Sanderosa Farms was incorrect.  The correct phone number is (979) 732-5258.

by James and Suzanne Sanders

Sir Macho’s Hard Rock, a chocolate stallion with a flax mane and tail, won the 2005 International Grand Championship as a three-year-old for owner’s James and Suzanne Sanders.

Rock is by a son of Choco and out of a daughter of Choco Dock. They purchased him from Nelson and Debbie Ashcraft, and immediately began slow and easy training with the young stallion. The Sanders knew he had something special from that first October night when they purchased him. His easygoing personality, natural gait, and love of people made working with him a pleasurable experience. He was broken to ride as a two-year-old, and taken to two shows in Florida where he finished second in both classes as the youngest horse against 15-20 older horses.

The Sanders were in Florida when they met trainer Vernon Stamper. Stamper was judging Mountain Horse classes in an all-gaited show. The Sanders were so impressed with his judging that after the show they asked if he would be interested in having Rock in his barn. "Bring him to me and we will see how he does," Stamper replied.

Stamper kept Rock over the summer pointing him toward a couple of big shows. He consistently won his classes, both under saddle and in conformation. The consensus was to have him peak at the 2005 KMSHA International that October. Peak he did. Rock finished either first or second in all of the preliminary classes at the International. Because he was so young, the Sanders opted to show him in only the conformation championship class.

In the championship venue, Rock stood like a gentleman in a large mixed class, and showed off his fantastic conformation. After a lengthy decision, the Sanders heard his name called as the 2005 KMSHA International Conformation Grand Champion. They were in absolute shock. A three-year-old, lightly shown, owned by relative newcomers from a small Texas farm, and exhibited by a trainer who almost never shows conformation, had just won a major championship.

When questioned after the show, Stamper humbly said, "He (Rock) is one of the finest examples of a Mountain Horse I have ever seen." He would certainly know as he has shown seven International champions. Even though he almost never shows halter, Stamper proudly said, "You only get one or two like Rock in your career."