Quarter horse couple lauded for 50 years of dedication

Gordon and Gladys Mason of Double G Ranch celebrate milestone with an American road trip


Unrelenting rain that fell all the way to Amarillo, Texas, could not dampen the spirits of a local couple, who had organized a unique family road trip last month in order to collect a top horse breeding award.

Gordon and Gladys Mason, who farm north of Killarney, said they were thrilled with the recognition by the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) for their five decades of rearing the handsome, fast breed.

And they didn’t want to celebrate alone.

“We got the letter from the American Quarter Horse Association in April,” said Gordon Mason, 75, who bought his first quarter horse mare back in 1966, when he was just 23. “Gladys opened it up in town. She came home, and went and found me outside. We knew we thought we had qualified for the legacy award, but we weren’t sure. I figured it was about time. We were glad to get it.”

Gladys said she was well aware how much the award would mean to her husband.

“I knew Gordon would be so happy,” she said. “We had made the 50 years to be recipients of the award.”

But the big hurdle was to leave all the animals at home, and take time for a very special trip down to the state of Texas, with the entire family in tow.

“We had never had a family vacation before,” said Gladys Mason. “And we all went. Eleven of us altogether; the whole family. There were three carloads, including three sons, two wives, three grandchildren, and a boyfriend. It was a lot of organizing to do it. We had to arrange days off work, delay university exams, put animals into pasture, have in-laws take on chores, and ask our neighbour to feed our dog and watch out for escaped livestock.”

Just as the couple and their entourage began the long drive southwards, rain started pelting down.

“We spent a week away altogether, most of it travelling,” she said. “And it rained the whole time, right until we got back to North Dakota. When it wasn’t pouring, it was drizzling.”

The group did manage to squeeze in some tourist sightseeing along the way, despite the soaking, she said.

“The boys had GPS to get us there, and we had walkie-talkies from car to car,” said Mason. “We went to the Colorado Mountain Museum, to Palo Alto State Park, and to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.”

But being called onto the stage as one of the 13 AQHA 2017 Legacy Award Honourees, held at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum in Amarillo on September 25, was worth it, she said.

“The banquet was lovely,” said Gladys. “We were the only Canadians there. We were so happy to get the trophy, and the honour. We consider ourselves simple country people, and to us it was nothing, what we have done. But there were famous people there getting trophies, a real assortment. Getting the trophy was the highlight of the trip. We both went up, and Gordon couldn’t talk. We both had tears in our eyes.”

Gordon Mason married his wife, a practical nurse, just a month after he bought that first quarter horse mare, back in ’66.

And the following year, he raised his first colt.

It was the beginning of what would eventually become 50 continuous years of breeding.

“We have registered 944 quarter horse colts over the years,” he said. “Do I still like it? I wouldn’t have been doing it if I wasn’t enjoying it. The kids rode a lot, and I showed quite a bit at the start. It does feel like a circle has been completed in our lives, but that circle is still going on. We have to get the 60 and 70 year trophies yet.”

Each year the American Quarter Horse Association honours the breeders who have dedicated their livelihoods to maintaining the integrity of the American Quarter Horse.

From the racetrack to the range, these breeders have worked for 50 years to improve the breed, and achieve their dreams, said the AQHA.

“This year the honourees range from people who have raised American Quarter Horses for cutting, ranching, and rodeo to racing,” they said. “All of them have dedicated 50 years to taking their best, and making it better.”

FIFTY YEARS OF MARRIAGE… AND HORSES – Happy couple Gladys and Gordon Mason, who tied the knot back in 1966, are pictured here at their farm, along with prize quarter horse brood mare Sheza Roan Ambrose, whose colts were top sellers this fall. The Mason’s are also holding a plaque, plus a massive trophy, which were recently awarded to them by the American Quarter Horse Association, in recognition of the couple’s 50 continuous years of rearing quality quarter horse colts.


A SIXTIES WEDDING – Gordon and Gladys Mason, both aged 23, got married in Killarney back in 1966. Here’s a beautiful photo from the special day. One month earlier, Gordon had purchased his first quarter horse brood mare. Both events were to shape his future for the next half-century.