Tongue River Ranch in Dumont, Texas, keeps a timed honored tradition.
- Written by Leah Bohlander
- Published on April 15, 2012
The AQHA-Pfizer Best Remuda Award has become one of the most prestigious honors for Quarter Horse production ranches in the United States—and Tongue River Ranch of Dumont, Texas now holds a piece of this award.
The Tongue River operation—which won the recognition for its efforts in preserving the American Quarter Horse--boasts the legendary bloodlines of King, Poco Bueno, Doc Bar and many more, proving it is one of the breed’s top producers.
The beginnings of Tongue River Ranch go back a ways. In 1898, two sons of S.M. Swenson purchased what was then called Scab 8 Ranch, a 79,000-acre property near Dumont. The brothers decided a new name was in order, so they decided to borrow one from a nearby waterway—and called the ranch Tongue River.
Now that river doesn’t necessarily have the greatest history. Reportedly, it is named after black tongue, a disease that wiped out many buffalo in the region in the nineteenth century. On the other hand, it has a rich cultural heritage, once serving as a gathering place for Indians, cowboys, settlers, buffalo hunters and others.
History is important in that area—and it’s important to the folks at Tongue River Ranch.
Now owned by Millard Morris, Tongue River Ranch has expanded to 89,000-acres and also includes land in New Mexico. The ranch works to preserve its heritage, but it also keeps up with the times and growing technology with features like a state-of-the-art horse facility. The ranch is also home to over 1,400 head of Angus/Hereford cattle that are managed by real cowboys on real cow horses.
And Tongue River has a lot of pride in its horses.
The ranch is known for coming up with some of the best Quarter Horses in the business. They’ve won numerous awards and honors, including from organizations like the Working Ranch Cowboys Association and the Ranch Horse Association of America. Tongue River Ranch equines are recognized for their conformation, intelligence and athletic prowess, and they’ve proven to be outstanding competitors in nearly every facet of the horse industry.
Each year, the ranch breeds some of its 70 mares (featuring noted bloodlines) to top stallions to produce many top working performance horses. The result—equines that are recognized for their conformation, intelligence and athletic prowess in any one of a number of competitive areas.
You may have heard of some of the Tongue River horses. There’s Pepcid, a 1998 red roan shown in reining and cutting events, which was added in 2004. His colts are smart, gentle and have shown great ability in nearly everything they do. Then there’s Paddys Irish Whiskey, a 1991 bay stud fathered by Peppy San Badger and with Doc Bar in his pedigree. His colts excel in reining, cutting, roping and many more disciplines.
And now Tongue River is producing horses for Cowboy Mounted Shooting.
Ranch wagon boss Tom Moorhouse believes the stallions, especially Pepcid and Paddys Irish Whiskey, are great additions to shooting horse bloodlines. “We have horses that are adaptable to what shooting horse people want in a horse—good looking, quiet, speed, gentle and the ability to shoot off them,” he says.
So you may be hearing more from Tongue River Ranch in the future, as its horses make their mark in the sport.
And that will just add to an impressive heritage dating back more than 100 years, when two brothers decided to rename their spread after the local river.