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Stanley Johnston
Courtesy Photo AQHA
Stanley Johnston
Legacy of Stanley Johnston evident in Quarter Horse world
News Staff - January 17, 2018

PIERRE, SD -  Earlier in January 2018, the South Dakota Quarter Horse Association celebrated the achievements of South Dakota American Quarter Horses on the ranch and in competitions – along with breeders, trainers and competitors.  Among those was Stanley Johnston who according to those who knew him, “did business with a handshake and an American Quarter Horse.”

Stanley died in 1982, but yet today, many breeders in the Dakota’s still advertise that their programs include Johnston-bred horses. Johnston was inducted posthumously into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2015.

The Nebraska-born cattleman bought a ranch in Ree Heights, SD  in the 1940’s. He started breeding horses with some Bivens horses, eventually ending up with a stallion named Poco Speedy and a mare band made up of daughters of Yellow Wasp.

It was in 1963, when he  bought a gelding named Gray Chip, that he changed breeding directions. Gray Chip was a roping horse by Driftwood intended to be used in bulldogging.  That changed as Johnston began to watch the horse work at the end of a rope.  He was sufficiently impressed to buy a band of Drifwood mares, crossing them  Poco Speedy.  The qualities that came from that are still in hot demand today; speed, smarts and versatility.

As a member of the Doc’s Jack Frost Syndicate, Johnston also owned Doc’s Jack Frost. He bred 464 foals in his own name, including Sun Frost and Skid Frost by Doc’s Jack Frost. Sun Frost is one of the leading sires of barrel racing horses in the United States, including French Flash Hawk, aka “Bozo,” and PC Frenchmans Hayday. Skid Frost produced Precious Speck, a four-time AQHA-PRCA heading horse of the year bred by Walt and Pat Vermedahl of Cave Creek, Arizona, who also owned Skid Frost.

He along with wife Frances were known to have an eye for a good cross.   Among mares purchased by Frances  was River Stardy, an Oklahoma Star bred mare. She also purchased Prissy Cline.  After Frances passed away, Stanley bred Prissy Cline to Docs Jack Frost, an own son of Doc Bar, resulting in Sun Frost who went on to produce many winning foals, such as Frenchman's Guy, who has sired over $11 million worth of winners.  The French Flash Hawk, aka 'Bozo' out of Sunfrost and Casey's Charm, was owned by Kristie Peterson. Bozo carried her to the National Finals, winning her five barrel racing average checks and four world titles, as well as AQHA Horse of the Year from 1995 to 1999.

The Johnston legacy continues today.  Horses from their breeding program like Wilywood and Sun Frost have produced countless horses that perform on the ranch and in the arena.  The versatility and intelligence in these offspring continue to be a genetic stronghold.

See more news and interviews on SDQHA and AQHA sanctioned events that take place the week ahead of the Black Hills Stock Show  here on the Big 81.

Following is a listing of the South Dakota’s American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Hall of Fame winners, South Dakota AQHA Legacy Breeders, and  South Dakota AQHA 50 year breeders.
AQHA Hall of Fame Inductees: 2015 – Stanley Johnston; 2017 – Caseys Ladylove; 2018 – Raymond and Georga Sutton.

Fifty Year Breeders: Broken Heart Ranch, Dr. R. M. or Linda L. Christensen, Glen W. Hollenbeck, John G. Johnson, John Knippling, Gilbert and/or Zelda Lutter, Arthur and/or Frankie Reeves, Dean Reeves.

Legacy Breeders: Lowell Thomas Barrett, Dean Hereford Farms, Jerry G. and/or M. Sue Golliher, Harry Kenzy, Ronald H. Krogman, Lee Lopez, South Dakota State University, Don and Kathleen Strain, James L. Sutton, Raymond Sutton, Triple U Enterprises, R. C. or J. I. Waldner, Gene Hunt.


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