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Champion Longhorn Is Trained To Ride
Sancho the Longhorn isn't just any steer. The 12-year-old steer sports a set of horns that measures 68 3/4 in. tip to tip with a full length of 122 15/16 in. The reigning Grand Trophy Steer Champion is also broken to ride. While the horns are due to genetics and good nutrition, the riding and photo work just happened, says his owner, horse trainer Martha Morehart.
"When I turned 40, I bought Sancho as a year old calf," she recalls. "We do pony rides for children at fairs and special events, and I thought they would enjoy seeing a Longhorn. I started taking him along, and he got used to the noise and lights."
As he got bigger, Morehart started him under saddle and booking him at the fairs and festivals. She also began taking him to Longhorn shows. Today he is a star in both arenas, as reigning champion and as a money-maker for Morehart with people standing in line to pay to have their picture taken with him.
"We have traveled with him to events throughout the Midwest and the South," says Morehart. "He has been inside TV stations and even traveled up a service elevator to the second floor of a corporate headquarters. People love to see him and climb into the saddle for a picture."
Sancho has had new mothers with four-week old babies in his saddle as well as a 93-year-old man at the Ohio State Fair. He has been in parades like the nationally renowned Tyler, Texas Rose Parade and in countless rodeos, expositions, shows and festivals. Morehart says people will return year after year to see Sancho and have family portraits taken with him.
"One man had raised Longhorns for 40 years, but said he had never sat on one, so he had his picture taken with his family around him," she recalls. "One woman from Mississippi calls regularly to see how he is. She has a picture of her daughter, who had her picture taken on him when she had cancer. People really get attached to him."
She says the 2,000-lb. steer is both gentle and well mannered.
"He is very careful with his horns," she says. "He is also very sentimental and bawls for me when I am gone. He knows the sound of the pickup when I drive back into the yard."
Morehart and Sancho do their share of charity work with the American Cancer Society and other groups. They also try to spread the word about Longhorns and cattle in general to their urban audiences. As long as he is healthy, she plans to continue their travels. She says Longhorns have a life expectancy that can stretch into their 20's.
When it's time for him to retire, Morehart may well have his replacement ready. In a strange mix of science and fate, it will be his grandsire.
"His grandsire on his mother's side was a famous bull named Zhivago," says Morehart. "When he died, his owners had him cloned, and five clones survived. They sold me one of them."
Thus, the one-year-old grandsire of 12-year-old Sancho now travels with him to his events. Morehart says the youngster, like his older grandson, is gentle, intelligent and loves his treats.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Martha Morehart, 2552 White Rd., New Holland, Ohio 43145 (ph 740 335-7527; highwindsfarm@sbcglobal.net).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #2