Hall of Fame
Gordon MacDonald’s Eagle Butte Ranches (MacDonald Quarter Horses) all started out because of a love for a pony given to his daughter Jenny at the age of 10. By the mid-seventies the whole family, had developed a strong desire to ride and Quarter Horses were the breed of choice.
This decision was partially due to the influence of the late great horseman Art Anderson. Art was to help in purchasing the girls (the girls being Jenny, Nancy, Susan and Karen) first show horses. Art’s son Ron, gave riding lessons to all of the MacDonald girls and was instrumental in developing their desire to show, they all became quite the force to reckon with in the Youth and Senior Division. Ron also was the pedigree man at our first sale in 1985 and has started under saddle most of the foals born on the ranch from the beginning to the present time.
The ranches motto was “Let’s Talk Performance” and the three stallions, that Gordon MacDonald owned would back that up.
The MacDonald’s first saw Major Bonanza in the summer of 1978 at the Wild Rose Circuit South in Claresholm, Alberta. He was first in a cutting class, a working cow horse class, 2 western pleasure classes and went Grand Champion at halter. Gordon liked what he saw and that first encounter was unforgettable. “He was a beautiful horse with that rare star quality, he had that presence of a legend and the run that Bobby had with him in the Working Cow Horse that day, amazing. I fell in love with everything about Major Bonanza. He had the confirmation, that eye catching appeal, and a great personality. Major got the job done well – he won and won with class.” By the way the “Bobby” he is referring to was the then young Bob Avila who went on to train and successfully show many of the MacDonald horses.
Which brings us to Major Rene an outstanding own son of Major Bonanza out of a mare called Tiger Rene by Tiger Leo. He is the 1984 Oregon Quarter Horse Association Champion Senior Cutting Horse. He is also the sire of many futurity champions. His get have won the Canadian Cow Horse Supreme Snaffle Bit Futurity Championship in 1989, 1990, 1991,1992 and 1999.
Any mares closely related to Major Bonanza or Major Rene were bred to another of our stallions George’s Tonto, a 1965 sorrel stallion sired by Bar Tonto Jr. out of the mare Myrna by Bear Hug. Out of only seventy-six foals he produced two AQHA Superior Halter horses, six AQHA Superior Performance horses, three Youth AQHA Champions, three AQHA Champions and two AQHA Youth Supreme Champions. George’s Tonto was the sire of Eagles Favorite a NRHA class winner at the Canadian Supreme.
It is through Gordon and his family’s commitment to a breeding program that the qualities of great disposition, versatility and eye appeal became the hallmarks of Major Bonanza, Major Rene and George’s
Tonto. Their legacy has left a lasting impression on the Alberta Horse Industry. His stallions have produced reining, working cow horse and cutting champions as well as barrel racing and roping stars. These “working horses” demonstrated their confirmation, versatility and eye appeal by winning halter championships when halter showing was popular and champions in pleasure classes when those classes were popular and large.
As proud as Gordon is of the stallions and the accomplishments his heart is really with the mares. Many of the mares on the ranch were shown by Gordon’s daughters in Youth activities and then went into the broodmare band. The best example of this is Opie’s Madonna an AQHA Champion, Superior Western Pleasure, Superior Western Riding and World Show top five placer. She is one of the leading dams of the Canadian Supreme with foals such as Dynamic Major, Maverick Major, Major Megan, Major Challenge and others. Other leading mares in the Canadian Supreme Program are Bubble Doc and Jack’s Favorite. The focus has always been on the proven bloodlines, proven performance and crosses that worked with the stallions.
The event closest to our heart is Working Cow Horse as it encompasses the 3 events and shows it all – reining, herd work and fence work. MacDonald Quarter Horses was the breeder of 5 Open Snaffle Bit Futurity winners at the Canadian Supreme. They were also the breeders of 7 Canadian Supreme Open Snaffle Bit Futurity winners and horses with GM breeding were champions in Canadian Supreme Futurity classes from 1989 to 1996.
It’s hard to pick a most special win but 1989 would have to be stand out: Olds Major Doc after placing 4/5 at the World Championship Snaffle Bit Futurity came back to Alberta and was the winner of the Open and Canadian Supreme Snaffle Bit Futurity, Emerald Major and Major Escapade were the Co-Reserve Champions of the Canadian Supreme Snaffle Bit Futurity and Nikita Major won the Canadian Supreme Cutting Futurity with Olds Dee Bar being 3rd. We also really enjoyed having two horses from our breeding program in the 1996 Legends In the Fall competition.
Success only comes with the help of customers and friends who supported and believed in our program over the years. The greatest reward has been in having our local customers and horses do well. These are the people that support us and our greatest satisfaction has come from our repeat customers and the fact that our horses have achieved in different areas through the years from reining, working cow horse, barrel racing, cutting, team penning and roping to pleasure, jumping and halter. And many were just great working ranch horses and recreation horses. The number of letters attesting to the love that owners have for their “Major Bonanza’s over the years has been heart warming. To Les Timmons, Brad Pedersen, Bill Collins, Deb and Locke Duce, Wayne Latimer and Sharon Latimer through whose talents our wins would not have been possible a most grateful THANK YOU.
For the future it has been rewarding to see the results of the second generation of the Major Bonanza’s and Major Rene’s. Major Pepinic a son of Olds Major Doc was the Open Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion in 1999. It is inspiring to see the sons and daughters of Major Rene and Major Bonanza passing along their winning qualities to their own sons and daughters competing in the Canadian Supreme and other competitions.
The Canadian Supreme has always fit our program and been a major part of our advertising. We started with pretty, athletic and talented stallions and mares. Our motto was “Lets Talk Performance” and the venue and classes offered by the Canadian Supreme have allowed us to showcase their talented offspring in cutting, working cow horse and reining. The Canadian Supreme has been a very complimentary show for our customers who have also seen success at the AQHA World Show, Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity and NRHA Futurity.
We have always believed in the quality of Canadian Horses and Canadian Trainers.
IT HAS BEEN QUITE THE RIDE!