A Hoof Print In History: Torino
By Gabrielle Sasse, PleasureHorse.com
We certainly enjoyed the response from last month’s article about Story Man, and can’t wait to share Rita Grothe Dubnam’s story about her $400 champion. Our May issue features the great stallion, Torino, who was taken from this world too soon. His offspring went on to influence the show horses of today. Rita has shared her stories of Torino with the Facebook group “Quarter Horse Tales, the Long and Short of It,” and we want to share them with you as well!
Rita and her husband, “Deb”, came to own Torino in 1967 when he was four months old. “Dr. Foster, who owned Sycamore Farms at the time in Omaha, called us up because he was planning on selling everything. He was practically giving them away, and we picked up two at $400 a piece; Torino and a blue roan filly. I was a little disgusted at my husband’s decision at the time, because we already had weanlings at home, but it turned out to be a great choice!”
The sorrel stallion was by Ledo Bars (by Aledo Bar) and out of Rita Blue (by Todo Bueno, by Poco Bueno). “He was your typical Three Bars/Poco Bueno cross that was working so well for everyone,” Rita says of his bloodlines. He went on to achieve 55 Halter points and 39 Performance Points, winning an AQHA Champion award, a Superior in Halter, and ROM in Performance.
Torino started winning nearly everything he was shown in. Rita showed him in Halter futurities as a weanling and yearling. “Jim Wilke showed him on a limited basis throughout the Midwest, and in 1969, Torino came in second in the nation behind a horse that was shown nearly every day that year!” Rita exclaims.
“We were, by all means, amateurs,” Rita comments on their experience. “It was all about my love of horses since birth, and wanting to be at their side, doing everything myself. I always made a trip to the barn before bedtime, to clean out their stalls one last time, and make sure all was well.”
Torino proved himself to be an extremely quiet colt, with a very surprising first ride with Rita. “We had Dalco Photography out taking pictures,” Rita reminisces. “We had the trailer out at Sycamore Farm next to a river with a two-year-old, unbroke, Torino. We had a dressing room with jeans and hats and button downs and everything, but that was it. Deb looked at me and said ‘Rita, I’d like a picture with you on him.’ I was like, ‘you’ve got to be kidding…’” Rita laughs. “So, we saddled him up, put a bosal on and took him to this spot by the bank of the river. I was so nervous, but just got on him, and it is one of the coolest pictures I have of him.”
Torino was broke (for real, this time) as a three-year-old by Brad Kelsall, who worked for the Debnams. Torino went on to show in Junior Western Pleasure with Brad and Hunter Under Saddle by Betty Lindgren, of St. Paul, Minnesota. “Brad came back and showed him in Reining as a four year old,” Rita explained. “We won a few All Around awards with him. I still have one of those saddles!”
”The greatest part of that whole story is we only paid $400 for him as a four month old weanling! And within a year, we were offered $25,000 for him. We were then offered $100,000 for him the year he died from a family in Vancouver, Canada. We declined because we had spent too much time and money on Torino proving his versatility, and we wanted to see the rewards. He was quite a special horse. My own Cinderella story.”
Click here and flip to page 56 to continue reading!