The Pony Can Do!

Bobbie Can Do

After appearing in the magazine as a 2-year-old, Bobbie shines in the show pen.
by Christine Hamilton

Bobbie Can DoBobbie Can Do in training in 2012.

It’s not very often that a successful performance horse has a magazine debut before proving himself, but it sure happened to Bobbie Can Do.

In the past few months, the Western Horseman crew has witnessed the 4-year-old gray gelding perform well in ranch horse shows from Oklahoma City to Pueblo, Colorado. But we first met “Bobbie” at the Waggoner Ranch in Vernon, Texas, as a 2-year-old in training. The gelding by Cat Man Do was photographed to illustrate the article “Career Guidance,” written by Susan Morrison in the January 2013 issue.

In the article, Waggoner Ranch trainer Ben Baldus explained his process of evaluating horses physically and mentally when deciding on their career paths. He remarked that one advantage to starting out on a ranch is “lots of opportunities for that horse to be successful.”

Bobbie Can DoLEFT: Ben Baldus rides Bobbie Can Do at the Waggoner Ranch in 2012. RIGHT: Sidney Dunkel and Bobbie Can Do at the AQHYA World Championship Show in 2014.

Fast-forward almost two years, and Bobbie’s current owner, 16-year-old Sidney Dunkel, would certainly agree. Her parents, Doug and Jill, bought Bobbie just before the article appeared. Since then, the placid gelding has carried Sidney to a string of accomplishments.

After winning a 4-H futurity on Bobbie as a 3-year-old, Sidney qualified him to the 2013 American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Championship Show in ranch pleasure and boxing. They returned to the show in 2014 to make the ranch pleasure finals. The pair also finished second in the open ranch horse pleasure at the 2014 AQHA Colorado State Fair Ranching Heritage Challenge in Pueblo.

Jill is most proud that after Bobbie’s start on the Waggoner, Sidney has done most of the work on the horse herself, getting guidance from Baldus.

The Dunkels ranch near Archer City, Texas, and Jill is also a freelance journalist serving a number of livestock publications. All three of the Dunkel children—Sidney, daughter Ashton and son Blake—actively participate with organizations such as 4-H, AQHYA and Stock Horse of Texas. Ashton competes on another Waggoner gelding, Boots Be Tuff, and the two won the open derby at the 2014 SHOT World Championship Show on November 2 in Abilene, Texas.

Back in the January 2013 article, Baldus pointed out that a “pretty,” “good-natured” and “trainable” horse “will excel somewhere.” Now that’s what we would call a can-do career path.

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