Inside the Mind and Heart of Frank McCartha, Jr.
Frank McCartha, Jr. is one of America’s most respected horse and dog show judges. He does Hound, Working, and Herding Groups and is also the owner of Heritage Farms Miniature Horses and Training Center in Chapin, South Carolina.
He and his wife Faye became involved with
Appaloosas and Quarter Horses in 1955, purchased their first Miniature Horses in
1986 and quickly became known for breeding top-quality spotted Miniature Horses,
Frank shares an affinity for spots
with Don and Betty Lou Wood who bought their first Miniature Horses from
Heritage Farms. The Woods have enjoyed great success in both dog and horse
show competitions. Mr. McArtha is pictured with Betty Lou Wood and one of
her Harlwood Great Danes, AKC Champion Rhondo.
He says “The mare in the photo,
Heritage Safari Warbuck, is a daughter of Landrys Daddy Warbuck and “Candy
Spots” and we still have both. Safari was 2001 Reserve National Champion
Aged Mare. The Great Dane is Champion Amherst-Harlwood Bubba Rondo, top Dane
in US in 1996, both owned by the Woods.”
Interestingly, the magnificent dog is
taller than the Appaloosa mare, which according to their respective judging
standards, is as it should be.
Mr. McCartha said it is important to
start out with top quality in order to be successful in the show ring.
“Several other outstanding winners now owned by the Woods include the
National Champion Weanling Stallion, Reserve Grand National Jr. Champion and
National Champion Multi-color Stallions & Geldings.”
“The Woods have also had a lot of
success with Harlwood Rulers Royal Ballet (pictured) was the 2003 National
Champion Aged Mare. She’s sired by our Mustardseed Ramundos Princely Ruler X
Heritage Tribal Dancer Silver Meadows Skywalker which is the same breeding
as Heritage Safari Warbuck on Top Side.”
For our readers who might not know
the terminology, does "Aged Mare" mean the delightfully diminutive "pinto"
was an old horse?
Mr. McCartha laughed and explained
“Oh no, it means she’s not a filly but is judged as an adult, sort of like
the Open Class in dogs. Aged mare is three years and over and Royal Ballet
was just three years old at that time. That was a good win.”
McCartha judges all AKC Hounds,
Working, and Herding breeds, plus several Sporting breeds. Unfazed by fame,
McCartha is known for finding the best exhibits, whether they are handled by
professionals or awkwardly presented by a novice.
When asked about his reputation for
fairness, Frank became serious.
“Everyone started out as a novice.
We’re judging the exhibit, not the skills of the trainer or handler. As long
as the animal is clean and the breed type and movement can be seen, it can
win under me."
The McCarthas run about 100 head of
show horses, herd sires and brood mares centered on the nation’s leading
bloodlines. Heritage Farms competes in Halter and Driving classes.
Frank smiles as he talks about
creating his 4-Horse Hitch. “After the death of Bar B Bronco Billy in 1993,
just 10 days before the National, I was devastated as he was one of the
winningest and nicest horses I ever owned. In Liberty Classes, I had the
only 4 daughters he ever sired, two being full sisters and the other two
were half sisters; so I felt they would make a perfect matched 4 horse
hitch; all I had to do was get the 2 half sisters broke to drive; so I got
them “green broke” singly, then with some help hitched all 4 up and started
driving in the pasture until I felt safe to get them on the road.”
Frank and Faye support all Youth
Exhibitors, including of course, their lovely Granddaughters Britanni
McCartha and Amber Williams who is always at the top of her class in
Pleasure Driving and Youth Showmanship.
Successful horse breeding is a
challenge compared to dogs or cats which have multiple offspring in a
litter. A mare has only one foal per year, thus getting the genetic
combination just right is crucial or there’s a long wait before the breeder
can try again.
The debate over which is most
important when selecting a breeding pair, pedigree (genotype) or physical
characteristics (phenotype) may never be resolved but Mr. McCartha says
“Horses are like dogs to this extent; we select from pedigree on the basis
of type, balance, soundness, movement, and disposition. If we don’t get the
results we strive for we, do not repeat that breeding but will use a
different Stallion with that mare on the next breeding but many repeat
breedings have been highly successful for us.”
Kids, horses, dogs; they all come
together at Heritage Farms where “seeing spots” is synonymous with quality
Visit the website http://heritagefarms.itgo.com/menu.html
(sorry site has been renamed/removed) or email
Interview courtesy National Pet Press Newspaper V2-1 Feb. 2008
TheJudgesPlace.com EST 2005 © 10121
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