The Bar-D Ranch is a family operated 32 acre spread, 35 miles SE of Seattle, Wash., by the town of Maple Valley. It is nestled in the foothills of the Cascades and Mt. Rainier can be seen. Joe and Jan Bard owned Hall of Fame appaloosa stallion, Sir Wrangler, for 27 years, and raised many fine horses with the help of daughters, Sydney (23) and Linze (22).
The story starts in 1979 when Joe offered to breed his AQHA mare, Miss Lotta Bull, to a horse of Jan’s choice. Since she owned an appaloosa gelding, she took Joe on a tour of the NW’s appaloosa stallions. They booked to 2 stallions, Man of Honor, and Princes MacDonald AND purchased the coming 2 yr old, Sir Wrangler!
Jess Moreno owned several stallions, one was Princes Wrangler, and he had raised and shown the son, Sir Wrangler, as a weanling and yearling to many wins. The Bards also bought from Jess a 19 yr old AQHA mare, Katy Kay Hicks, to breed to their new stallion.
Wrangler was left with Jess Moreno to show at halter until the Bards could build a barn!
Wrangler next went to be broke by Steve Metcalfe, who flatly stated he didn’t like appaloosas, but would give him 30 days! He quickly relented and acknowledged the tremendous talent Wrangler possessed. The first show, Jan was 2nd of 29, to the amazement of Steve! Jan was taught the finer points of showing and won many classes. Joe showed Wrangler at Halter, and he won many Grand Champions. Steve delighted in showing when he could, and he would beat all his AQHA friends! He LOVED this horse!
In the first foal crop of two was Sirpent. See the article, Sweet Temptations on the Bard’s web site, www.sirwrangler.com. She was a phenomenal mare that eventually earned a GOLD Medallion! Joe showed both father and daughter at Halter, and Jan rode Wrangler, coming home with all blues! Sirpent was sold to Terry Sartain who took her to places the Bard’s could not attain. It was a sad day when she left, but Wrangler’s siring days had begun.
At the same time, so did the Bard family. Sydney was born in 1982 and Linze in 1984. They have never known a life without horses, and were fortunate to be mounted on the best minded, versatile, smoothest moving, winning Wranglers. The kids literally grew up in a barn, which had a “caretaker’s residence” in one end. When Linze was 4, her future horse, Allura, was born. She watched the birth, proclaiming “HER” horse was BEAUTIFUL!
The barn sports a 70x180 foot arena, with aisle ways and 12x14 stalls on each side. The property has access to miles of trails and deer, elk, bobcat, cougar, and bear are the neighbors!
Joe continued work at Boeing as a finance estimator and Jan at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, as a Respiratory Therapist. There was little help and they worked hard to settle more than 200 mares. They raised 3-6 foals a year themselves, and all were sold to homes that showed them the World!
Wrangler horses are true ambassadors to the appaloosa. They have proved themselves capable in ANY task dealt! They consistently win at shows from 4 H to the World’s, and do it all. They are smart horses that like tasks, and are smooth movers.
As a Breyer collector, Linze asked me to submit Wrangler as a model. He was the leading living sire of Youth and Non Pro Horses for many years, and all his foals were outstanding individuals. 1000 entries are submitted each year, and Wrangler was chosen in 1998. They chose a running model, but painted it with accuracy of spots, even the big spot on his face!
Wrangler started a new fan club, and we took him to many Breyer shows. There would be lines of people, both young and old, climbing on his back for pictures! Wrangler was always gracious and we made many MORE friends as we signed their Sir Wrangler models.
Other memorabilia included Golden Horseshu Trading cards, a US postage stamp of Wild Bay Be and her Wrangler daughter, Wild Bay Be Blues, and a little Hagen-Renaker porcelain statue of the stamp pair.
On the way, Jan created their web site, www.sirwrangler.com, which has grown exponentially! Kids are wonderful for making the parents keep up with computers!
Next came the quest for Hall of Fame, which came true in 2000. Joe, Jan, and Linze loaded their horses up for the trip to Oklahoma to accept the award. They trail rode along the route, having great adventures, and seeing the country a horseback. Sydney stayed home taking care of the ranch.
Syd teaches riding lessons to 25 students of all ages and they are taught to teach their own horses. They have won all over the NW and Sydney is garnering quite a good reputation. She has been judging 4H and local shows, also. Syd graduated from the University of Washington with a BS in business management, and now works for Boeing in the military division.
Linze joined the Navy, and is a cryptologist. Her 4 yr tour is up in September 2006, and she will return home. She spent almost 2 years in San Antonio at Lackland Airforce Base. Since Lackland had an equestrian center, her horse Jake, went with her! Jake was the only cog in this appaloosa barn. He is a Paint she rescued from her summer job taking “Dudes” on a 3 hour ride up Tiger Mountain for an outfitter. Oh, yeah, she also broke her Holstein steer to ride! Both kids won top honors on the 4H circuit.
Life will continue without Wrangler, who died March 13, 2006 at age 29. We have his line bred son, Wrangler’s Toolman. Toolman spent a few years in Roundup, Montana, with our good friend, Dick Roth. He bred several mares to see if any “defects” showed up, and the foals showed the traits of Sir Wrangler: smart, smooth moving, colored, and wonderful! Toolman is back home and has two colored fillies this year.
Also is the yearling, Zip up my Wranglers, out of a Zippo Pine Bar, AQHA mare that came to be bred and almost lost her life to the bacteria, Clostridium. Her article is also on the web site, www.sirwrangler.com, Dances with Death. "Zee" is a spitting image of his dad in conformation (we compared a foal photo of Wrangler), but is a sorrel with blanket and spots. His dam is a western pleasure winner, so Zee’s future is bright.
Jan and her best friend, Chris Nelson, continue their 25 year trips to the mountains and Joe is pursuing the racquetball tournaments, and both would like to retire from their jobs.
Hopefully, Syd and Linze will continue to believe the ranch and fine horses is the best life they could offer their children. The Bar-D is now a LLC with equal partnerships between the four.
It’s been an amazing ride!