By Gabrielle Sasse
Here at Show Horse Today, we like to remember where it all started, why we love horses, how much the sport has grown, and who the people (and horses!) are who helped to shape the industry. Our new column, “A Hoof Print in History,” features horses that truly impacted the show horse as we know it today. This month, we have teamed up with the Facebook group “Quarter Horse Tales, the Long and Short of It” to delve into the past and talk to Robert “Bob” Standish, who trained and managed the great stallion Story Man for Loraine Beresford’s Sheepfields Farm.
Story Man was born in 1969 by Hall of Fame and three-time World Champion sire Go Man Go (by Top Deck-TB) out of Spanish Tale (by Spanish Fort). Spanish Tale was a AAA AQHA Champion mare, who passed away when Story Man was three months old. “Story Man was raised on Calf-Manna,” begins Bob, “and he was very much a brat.”
The stallion was consigned to the All American Futurity Yearling Sale in 1970, but had a testicle that hadn’t descended yet. “Jerry Wells had a bid on him, but when that fact was brought up, he didn’t sell. We sent him to Gerald Rich as a two year old for race training.” Story Man’s sire, Go Man Go, was a renowned racehorse, moved from Appendix registration to the AQHA registry after his first foal crop. He passed down his racing blood to Story Man, who became the only horse ever bred in the Northeast to make the finals of the All American Futurity. The richest race for two year old Quarter Horses in North America, the All American Futurity is held every Labor Day at Ruidoso Downs in the village of Ruidoso, New Mexico.
Story Man was raced until the age of three, when he developed some soundness issues that ended his racing career. He was brought home to his owner Loraine Bereford. In the ‘70’s, Mrs. Beresford was listed as a leading breeder of Quarter Horse show and race horses. This is where Bob came into the picture, training Story Man to become an AAA AQHA Champion. “I was very lucky,” Bob says of the start to his professional career as a horse trainer. “I left a job in engineering to train full time, and to have a horse like Story Man to start out like that was phenomenal. You could drink a cup of coffee off his back at the jog or lope, he was that smooth.”
“After I brought him home from Ruidoso as a late three-year-old, I used to take him to Connecticut to my dad’s farm and move his Herefords from one pasture to another, just to get his mind settled. The first time he saw a cow, he about turned himself inside out,” Bob shares, “but then found them to be quite curious. He wanted to play with them, especially when they faced him. I was so excited! I drove a couple into a small pen and actually had him making some moves. Obviously cutting was not going to be something Mrs. Beresford would have approved of, but nonetheless, working cattle really helped him step out of the race horse mentality.”
“He didn’t have a good enough race record to be a race sire, but he was incredibly successful in the show pen,” reminisces Bob. “We took 30 Grand Champions and eight Reserves out of 44 times shown. He had 53 Halter points, 51 Western Pleasure points, 11 Hunter Under Saddle points and 20 Race points. He was a AAA Champion like his dam, with his Superiors in Western Pleasure and Halter.”