The Major Cattle Company horse program began back in the 1930s with Mike's grandfather, Malcomb Major. The ranch was north of Magdalena, New Mexico, and it all began with cavalry remount studs. In the 1950s Mike's dad, Buddy Major, bought a Leo and Hard Twist stud to upgrade the horse herd for the nine ranches he had put together in New Mexico and Colorado. Buddy ran a lot of his horses on the track and had some of the best cow and rope horses around.
By the late 1970s Mike was breaking most of the colts but wanted to raise his own horses. Mike had tried to buy a handful of the best fillies but his dad wouldn't sell them to him. The only way Mike was going to get the mares was to break and ride five mules Buddy had purchased. Mike really didn't want to break those five mules, with all the good colts they had around, but it was the only chance he had to get Buddy to trade him for the mares. Mike really wanted the fillies, and he finally did get them, but says now, "You couldn't give me a mule today even if it had a thousand dollar bill tied to its neck.”
They were the first broodmares in Mike’s mare band. The first stud Mike owned was a black horse named Leovada Chick, with Leo and Three Chicks breeding. In 1982, Mike ventured out on his own, starting his horse operation in Vequita, New Mexico. Here, Mike traded for another horse, a Mito Bars and Sugar Bars stud. In 1989 another purchase was made, a gray stud named Joys Double Feature, also known as Smoky. He had Beduino (TB), Rebel Cause, and Truckle Feature breeding. Smoky was an outstanding rope and cow horse; you could ask anything of him and he would give it. He was an excellent stallion with a lot of speed and cow, and who won several ranch rodeos and roping competitions. Several of Smoky's mares are still in the broodmare band today being crossed on the cow-bred studs.
Mike’s background includes a lot more than just ranch work. He rode bulls from 1969 through 1985 and broncs for three years in the mid-1980. He jockeyed race horses starting at age eight and continuing into his early teens, and began team roping when he was 10 years old, something he still does although not competitively. He also showed cutting horses through the 1970s and ‘80s.
In 1990 Mike purchased the Flying A Ranch in Fowler, Colorado, where he and his family currently live. The ranch got its name from the previous owners, Gene Autry and Harry Knight. This is where their rodeo operation was run.
In 2000, Mike and Holly were married, and it didn't take long for Mike to realize that she was just as crazy about good horses as he was. Having previously owned and ridden several good Doc O Dynamite horses, Mike and Holly made their next purchase in Montana at John Scott's dispersal sale. Smart Whiskey Doc and Dynamite Bravo Doc were purchased.
Then in 2001, Mike and Holly went to the Fort Worth NCHA Futurity where they purchased a Playgun colt and a Playgun mare. At the next sale, Mike was watching the horses warm up. He looked around and was given a surprise: Holly had just bought another stud, this one by Docs Stylish Oak. In 2003, still wanting a Smart Little Lena stud for their horse program, Mike and Holly went to Virginia where they purchased Love a Little Devil, a son of Smart Little Lena and out of a Colonel Freckles mare.
Although some of their mares still trace back to some of the first horses raised by the Major Cattle Company 70 years ago, Mike and Holly have purchased several more cow-bred mares, and continue to upgrade the horse program. They have tried to bring some of the best bloodlines that you can get into their part of the country. Mike and Holly are very excited to get the crosses with these studs, and think that the colts will have the ability and mind to go in any direction a performance horse can go. The hope is that people who buy colts from the Major Cattle Company, or breed to their stallions, are as happy with the horses as Mike and Holly are and come back again.
HISTORY OF MAJOR CATTLE COMPANY