According to Mike & Sherry Knapp, who run cows on over 40,000 thousand acres at the base of Yosemite National Park, “Where there is a working cattle ranch, there are working horses.” Sherry added, “To get our cows gathered in the fall, we need a horse with a good mind, good legs, and a big heart.” That is why 45 years ago, the Knapp’s started raising their own ranch horses, and before long, friends and neighbors were asking if they had any extras for sale. In the spring of 1983, Lazy K Ranch held its first ‘Pick A Colt Day Production Sale,’ and now some 34 years later, the ranch markets over 70 head of “single-brand” registered horses annually to customers in North and Central America.
Lazy K’s horse breeding operation, located six miles east of Chowchilla in central California, has become known for its unique pairing of ranch raised working mares with the best performance horse bloodlines in the country. “When you see a horse packing a Lazy K on its hip, you know that is a horse bred for success,” says Larry Knapp, Lazy K’s General Manager. “Our breeding program includes stallions by some of the top money earners in our industry, including Metallic Cat, High Brow Cat, Shinning Spark, and Boonlight Dancer. And, don’t forget about our mares [that] carry bloodlines from Doc O Lena and Peppy San Badger- mares that know how to work for a living, and pass these traits on to their foals.”
Because of the ongoing need for ranch horses, the Lazy K crew spends a lot of time working with young horses for their own use, as well as the production’s sale. “All of our yearlings complete Lazy K’s signature ground school,” said Michele Knapp-Stehly. The ‘ground school’ is part of a much larger training program Tom Dorrance helped the ranch set up years ago. “We teach all our youngsters to face up when approached, lead from the ground, tie, load in a trailer, stand while groomed, and have their feet trimmed before sale day,” she added.
This year, the 34th Annual Pick-a-Colt Day® Production Sale will take place on Saturday, May 6, 2017. The ranch opens its gates at 8:30 a.m.; the sale begins at 10:00 a.m., offering over 70 head that are pre-priced and available for purchase on-site, or on the Internet. In addition to some great ranch and pleasure horses, this year’s sale will feature futurity prospects from Metallic Red Cat by Metallic Cat, and Lotta Stuff To Shine, an own son of Shining Spark, as well as yearlings from stallions High Flyin Cat by High Brow Cat, Boonlight All Stars by Boonlight Dancer, Docs Blue Pepto by Yellow Roan Of Texas, and Red Hot Spark by Doc Diamond Roan.
For those buyers interested in a show prospect, Lazy K Ranch is an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder, which allows owners of their livestock to participate in AQHA Ranching Heritage events and competition. Many of the sale colts and fillies will also be eligible for the NRCHA Stallion Stakes. “It’s our belief that we offer some of the best bred and well-priced ranch, working, and show stock horses available,” says Sherry Knapp, “[and] every horse is pre-priced, so rather than having the uncertainty of an auction, every buyer knows exactly what each horse will cost before the sale starts.” The sale itself is a lottery, in that each registered buyer receives numbered tickets and can put all their tickets on one favorite colt or filly, or spread them out over several horses.
At 11:00 a.m., those horses which have not been purchased onsite are made available for purchase online at www.LazyKRanch.com. The Internet option allows those who cannot travel to the Ranch the opportunity to buy a good horse at a great price, and then ship that horse anywhere in the country or overseas.
For more information on the 34th Annual “Pick-A-Colt” Day Production Sale, visit www.LazyKRanch.com. From the website, prospective buyers can access an online catalog and search by stallion, color, age, sex, and price category. There is also an extensive description of each horse, including a 5 panel genetic evaluation, pedigree, photos, and videos. Guests preferring to talk to a real person can reach Michele or Sherry at: (559) 760-7055. Videos and pictures are also available on Facebook and Youtube.