Through the years, Dawes County hasn’t been known for exporting much other than people, cattle, wheat, hay and alfalfa seed some years. But that changed about six years ago when Jeri Grint Anderson stepped up her involvement in her father’s Quarter horse business that is headquartered seven miles east of Chadron.
This spring, Jeri has sold nine colts sight unseen to horse lovers as far away as Massachusetts, New York, Michigan and California, as well as three to the Colorado Springs area and one to Kansas. It’s the fourth consecutive year the Kansas rancher has acquired a colt from Grint and Girls, the name that is on the shop/garage at John and Sheri Grint’s place along Highway 20.
John Grint, a native of the Sargent area in northeastern Custer County, grew up in the “horse business” and has been involved in it nearly all of his 70-plus years. He says his grandfather, Floyd Pulliam, besides owning the sale barn in Sargent, was a horse trader “from the time he was a little boy until he died,” and bought and sold “thousands of horses” during his lifetime.
After graduating from high school and serving in Vietnam, John Grint enrolled at Chadron State College in the spring of 1968, left a couple of years later, but returned in 1974 as the field representative in northwest Nebraska for the state’s Board of Educational Lands and Funds that manage what are commonly known as school sections. He’s been here ever since.
“I met a lot of great people and never wanted to leave,” Grint notes.
In the ensuing years, he and Sheri, a native of Perkins County who began writing letters to him while he was in the military, married and raised three cowgirls--Johnna, Jami and Jeri. He also sold trailers, helped with every rodeo held in Chadron, often swinging open the chute gate during the bronc riding, until he was at least 65, and raised a few horses.
He recalls getting into the horse business by purchasing two mares, Sugar and Tiger, nearly 40 years ago when he owned just a few acres of land.
In recent years the business has expanded. The Grints were able to purchase pastureland on the south side of Highway 20 that had once belonged to Ben and Thelma Aschwege and on the north side of the highway that originally belonged to Alfred and Betty Augustine until those couples retired or passed away.
Grint and Girls (known in the computer world as Grint Quarter Horses) now have 20 mares and their colts are hot commodities. Some of the buyers begin making payments long before the colts are born and others purchase them after Jeri sends them a picture of the foal soon after it is born. The colts will run in the pine-studded pastures with their mothers until they are weaned early this fall and shipped to the new owners.
The buyers won’t be getting a bronc. That’s particularly true this year because Jeri spends nearly every evening in the pastures, sometimes gives the mares a piece of cottonseed cake and pets the colts. Both mother and offspring love to see her coming and frequently nudge another horse out of the way so they can get her attention.
All three Grint girls grew up riding horses, competing in Little Britches and other junior rodeos and continued that activity at least through high school. Jeri also was on the rodeo team at Chadron State, where she majored in English education. She taught in the Rapid City Schools for six years and at Gillette, Wyo., for 14 before becoming the director of field experience and certification in the education department at CSC last summer.
That allowed Jeri, her husband Jeremy and their son Jarek to move to Chadron. They live at the Aschwege place. Jarek is 6-foot-5 specimen with a big smile who played football and threw the shot and discus as a junior at Chadron High this past year.
Jarek also rides a horse for pleasure. He’s Copper, a big gelding whose great grandfathers include Secretariat and is also related to Seattle Slew. Both were Triple Crown winners in the 1970s and are regarded the most famous thoroughbreds in the past half century.
Before the move “back home” was made, Jeri already had become a major player in the Grint Quarter horse business. Six years ago, she began posting photos of her family’s horses on the internet. She now has at least 5,000 pictures of horses on her cell phone and 4,500 friends on her Facebook “horse page: Jeri Grint.”
Since then, Grint colts have been sold into at least 20 states as well as to both Sweden and Mexico. John admits that without Jeri’s help, he’d probably be out of the horse business now, but her involvement and the success it’s created have perked up his interest.
He’s especially proud of Nic, a 13-year-old stallion that is officially classified a buckskin, but is an unique copper-colored, friendly fellow with perfect conformation. Nic went back to work last week, when he was turned into a pasture with a group of mares to pave the way for next year’s colt crop.
A second stallion, Boone, a blue roan, is in the other pasture with the other mares.
Jeri says $1,600 is the lowest price she puts on a colt. Most of go for more than $2,500 and some for even more than that. Blue roans are currently the hottest commodity and fetch the most money, she said. Many of the buyers are repeat customers. Some insist on getting the full sister or brother of a colt they’d previously purchased.