how to make a cadillac horse cowgirl magazine
Sarah McKibben shows Storm Spook "Cortez," 2017 AQHA Gelding.……

Have you ever wished you could find your dream horse while also supporting talented female trainers?  Thanks to Cowgirl Cadillacs, you can do exactly that. Western powerhouses Ike and Ryan Sankey constructed the elite sale that is exclusively from ladies, for ladies.  Held at the most exquisite venue, Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona, the sale has an electric vibe and brings in prospective buyers from all over the country. 

The main clientele is looking for a reliable, safe, and kind horse that can be enjoyed whether it be in the show arena, out on the ranch, or cruising down the trails.  From reiners to rope horses, versatility prospects to trail partners, there is truly something for everyone.  Gone are the days of guessing if the horse will be what you want it to be, or if it’s even the right fit for you.

From selecting horses to fit their programs, to the training process, to the marketing, making a Cadillac takes time and the special touch only a cowgirl can provide.  The female consignors are amongst the most kind, hardworking, resilient Western women you will ever meet.  When you purchase a Cadillac, you know what’s in the package and that package is signed, sealed, delivered, and guaranteed for the rest of your life. 

Specializing in well-rounded, family-friendly horses, Megan Cobb utilizes her family homes in Idaho and Arizona, as well as her horse-loving kids, in the making of safe, enjoyable horses. 

A gentle disposition is Megan’s main priority, first and foremost.  “I always say that my favorite color is gentle because you can teach your horse a lot of things, but if they’re naturally just not kind I don’t want them in my program. I have Friesians, Gypsies, Quarter Horses, ponies, and I’m not really hung up on one certain breed.  I just want them to be kind and gentle and trainable.  Being able to trust them is important,” she explains. 

With two small children running around, Megan’s horses are exposed to a lot of unique situations that help desensitize them.  “Our kids are ranch kids, they’re wild, they play outside.  The other day my daughter had a beach ball in the arena and was kicking it around and I didn’t think anything of it.  It was one of those times where we probably shouldn’t have let her do that, but it’s also good for the horses.”

Left: Megan Cobb shows Fin, 2016 Gypsy Gelding. Right: Megan shows Wood U Look At That “Glitter,” 2015 APHA Mare.

A consignor’s preparation process for a sale is just as important as the training.  With horse showing appointments, up-to-date marketing, pre-purchase exams, vaccinations, and more, attention to detail is crucial.  “You have to go through the checklist and make sure they’re prepared for their new home.  I like to have other people ride my horses too, just to watch them, just to see that I feel confident letting my horse go out into the world and they’re prepared,” Megan says.

“I pick my favorites and I sell them there because I’m going to be the one representing them and doing the majority of the riding.  I pick the ones that a gal could completely get along with.  It depends on the horse and what we think the clientele would like.  It’s my very favorite sale of the year and it’s the most fun.  Everyone is so handy and it’s so fun to be around like-minded people who enjoy the same things you do.  I really enjoy once that horse finds that special person they’re meant to be with.  It’s so fun to keep connected with the buyer and see their progress with the horse and watch them have success after your training program.” 

From the roping pen to the Wyoming mountains and Arizona deserts,  Alise Holst focuses on creating all-around, experienced horses and matching them to the right people for truly satisfied customers.

“Breeding doesn’t mean everything, but it does help,” Alise explains.  “A lot of the horses I end up getting are pretty green, and so I want something that’s going to fit my style that’s pretty trainable.  I’ve had a few crossbreds and I do like those, I think they’re super unique.  I look for a big hip on one.  I like them to be proportionate and have a nice demeanor.  A lot of these people seem like they just want something they’re going to enjoy and that is safe.  Honesty and trustworthiness are the most important things.”

Alise makes sure to spend as much quality time with her Cadillacs as possible, especially before the sale.  Whether it be in the arena or outside, a true Cadillac can do whatever is asked of it.  “We want our horses to fit the people we sell them to because we love the horses.  The cream of the crop in my program is offered to the public.  I want them to have the best home just like the person buying them wants the right horse.”

Clockwise from Top Right: Alise Holst shows Cata Resyn “Scratch,” 2012 AQHA Gelding; Alise and Scratch; Smokin Red Step “Jersey,” 2016 AQHA Gelding; Scratch.

The sale itself is a prestigious event, drawing a large crowd of enthusiastic attendees to the exclusive venue.  According to Alise, “You work so hard all year and you think about it all year.  It’s different from showing a horse because at a horse show you want to do good and win money, but this is even higher stakes.  You just have to do your best and believe in the product you have.” 

Sarah and Mozaun McKibben’s program is committed and passionate about training and offering gorgeous, versatile, and safe performance/all-around horses that are trained in multiple areas with experience and exposure both  in the arena and out on the ranch. 

Sarah looks for three main components in her horses: bloodlines, conformation, and disposition.  “There is a reason particular stallions rise to the top and are highly sought after: Their offspring are trainable.  My preferences are cutting, reining, and cow horse bloodlines because they produce a very versatile individual that is receptive to our program,” she explains.  “Conformation is a key factor as well.  Balance and proportion are key in having a sound, healthy horse.  Correct conformation also makes for more eye-appealing sale photos, which are usually the first impression for a prospective buyer.  The overall disposition of a horse is an important part of the program.  I want a very honest-minded and receptive individual that wants to be personable and willing to please.”

Clockwise from Top Left: Sarah shows GunnaGetchaGood “Behr,” 2016 AQHA Gelding; and Cadbury.

Eventually the horse is “ready” for photographs and videos to be taken.  Sarah says, “I have prepared the horse training-wise and now the camera comes out.  My pictures and videos are very extensive.  Quality in both is extremely important.  I showcase everything my horse is capable of doing.  While watching my videos, you may want to pop some popcorn and relax in the recliner; they are lengthy, but informative.  Prior to the sale, prospective buyers will call, come look, and ride the horses.  It can get pretty busy.  For me personally, the actual sale day is a vacation.  All the hard work is put in and my horses and I are ready.”

Sarah chooses her personal barn favorites to consign to Cowgirl Cadillacs.  “Women like to develop a bond with their horses, so I pick horses with big personalities that enjoy attention and have sweet dispositions.  Smooth gaits, easy to ride, and good ground manners are a must.  Pretty doesn’t hurt anything either.  I am blessed beyond measure to own and ride such amazing animals.  I have made lifelong friendships with the other lady consignors, sale owners, auction crew, and most importantly the buyers of my horses.  I receive phone calls, messages, and pictures daily of the horses that were a piece of my life and now making the dreams of others come true.” 

Sarah McKibben with Hershey’s Cadbury Cream “Cadbury,” $500,000 selling 2016 Gypsy Gelding.

Danny and Amy Singleton, from College Station, TX, were the lucky buyers of one of Sarah’s consignments, Cadbury, who was this year’s high-selling horse, for their niece Ellie Rose.  “A buckskin needed to be filled in my barn,”  Amy shares.  “I already have two McKibben horses: a blue roan and a red roan.  We’re huge McKibben fans.”

Ellie Rose’s dreams are all coming true with her “unicorn without a horn” Cadbury.  “Cadbury was just precious to us instantly, and when we finally got to come meet him in person, it was darn near torture to make it to this moment,” Amy says.  “Time was going by so slowly and my heart was aching right up until the seconds we started to bid on him, then my husband was like, ‘Well there’s no backing down because that’s an Ellie Rose Horse.’”

For Amy and her husband, having a trainer whom they can trust is at the top of their priorities list.  “There’s no one I trust more than the McKibbens.  You can’t get that from everybody every day.  What the McKibbens offered me is a lifelong relationship of mentorship and honesty and love.  We’re the luckiest.”

The hard work behind the scenes makes the experience of owning a Cadillac that more special.  You’re getting more than just a horse, you’re getting a lasting relationship from a reputable trainer, as well as the confidence you feel in the saddle.  So, saddle up, relax, and enjoy the ride of your life on the back of a Cadillac.