horses

With their ranch as a backdrop, Brett Borkowski and Amy Schimke head to the barn for a day’s work with a part of their “A-Team.”  From left mares Special Nu Occasion (Pokey), Jaymee, Frenchmans Moon Dash (Miss Priss), and Three Tymes a Lady (Rudy).  These mares all compete in both barrel racing and mounted shooting competitions for the couple as well as play a pivotal role in their breeding program, providing proven, money earning genetics to market to their customers. 

Soft clouds of dust dance in the sunlight as quiet hoof beats hit deep sand in perfect rhythm.  The smell of sweat-lathered horses and buttery, soft leather fill the air of Amy Schimke and Brett Borkowski's training facility.  In this Jerauld County barn, quiet hours of constant preparation and planning come to fruition. While memorable wins are typically witnessed under the bright lights of a crowd-filled arena, the real victories are achieved in silence, hidden here on the prairie.

Born a rancher's daughter and belonging to an avid barrel racing mother, Amy was raised horseback. She may have been small in stature, but atop an old roan named “Lucky" she had a clear view of her future and it was right here on her family's ranch.  The goal of raising and training her own performance horses was always in her mind, along with becoming the fifth generation to raise cattle on their Wessington Springs-based operation.

Decades of growth and research creating a homegrown horse lineage able to withstand harsh South Dakota conditions while working on the ranch, strong both physically and mentally- plus clock in the barrel pen-fueled Amy’s passion to build her ideal equine.  She achieved just that in 1997 when her stallion “Frostman San Peppy” aka “Pablo” was born.   

"I was a college kid when he (Pablo) was born and a fresh grad on my own with lots of bills to pay and nothing but a dream and a song to cover them with. He went on to pay both his way and mine when I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. I’d enter stuff and he’d win. In the spring he could cover just enough mares during the week in between futurity shows and rodeos to pay entry fees, make my pickup payment and a payment on my cheap Exiss trailer.  My dream had always been to have a nice set of mares to raise babies out of. He provided that for me and then some," recalls Amy. 

The stallion and his offspring attracted admirers from across the nation.  A futurity money winner, South Dakota Rodeo Association Finals Qualifier in 2004 and two time Badlands Circuit Finals Rodeo qualifier in 2004 & 2008, folks wanted to see what Amy might have in her pasture or in that cheap ol’ trailer. She spent a lot of late nights scouring sale catalogs seeking out the best in broodmare bloodlines and soon had herself a band of mares bred to run a hole in the wind.  And people noticed.

Read the complete story and view many more photos in this week’s print or e-issue. Need a subscription? Visit https://www.truedakotan.com/site/forms/subscription_services/