The 2016 futurity champion is now stamping his name in the rodeo books with Kelly Tovar, and “Bakken’s” personality never fails to entertain.
Rarely do great horses come without their quirks, and A Dash Ta Glamour is no exception. “Bakken” is always keeping things interesting—and busy—around Kelly Tovar’s barn.
“He is a little peculiar. He’s really sweet, but he’s still got a bit of naughtiness to him,” Tovar said of her 2012 gelding by JL Dash Ta Heaven and out of My Glamour Gal by Bully Bullion. “He washes his feed and hay, and I spend minimal three times a day cleaning his water bucket. He’s filthy—he reminds me of my son, just leaves stuff everywhere. He’s really playful and always running, bucking, kicking and being silly. He is a good horse to have around. Even with all the aggravating stuff, he’s never any trouble.”
The 2016 Barrel Futurities of America World Futurity Champion began his career with Tovar in the rodeo arena in 2017 after a standout futurity year with Molli Montgomery. Bakken has taken to life as a rodeo horse like a duck to water.
“[My favorite memory so far] is either winning his set at Houston or winning the silver medal at Salt Lake City,” Tovar said. “Houston is such a big stage, and Salt Lake City was such a pressure run. He’s done phenomenal and superseded all our expectations. We were in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and he fell. I was worried with him being such a baby that was going to scare him to death … but his next run it was like nothing ever happened. He has been a dreamboat. I couldn’t have asked for him to be any better, especially as a 5-year-old coming off a futurity year.”
On the road, Tovar makes a few adjustments to accommodate Bakken’s idiosyncrasies. He is very particular about his handlers, equine companions and tack.
“Back boots—he can’t stand ‘em, won’t tolerate ‘em, hates ‘em, so he doesn’t wear them. He doesn’t like dirt. Doesn’t even like the over-under if it tickles his side. If you accidentally bump him, and I’m not talking jab him with a spur, but if your foot is turned with your toes out, he’ll jump sideways,” Tovar said. “He will kick another horse. He’s a little testy, but that gives him a little grit, a little gravel in his gut. My husband even said, ‘He’s just so peculiar, isn’t he?’ I said, ‘That’s okay, that’s what makes him Bakken.’”
Bakken always checks in with Tovar before a run by turning his head and tugging on her pant leg or stirrup, just one indication of the deep bond he holds with the Rockdale, Texas, cowgirl—perhaps too strong of a bond, if you ask Tovar’s good friend and helper, Cindy Smack.
“He got sick this summer, and we had to give him antibiotics,” Tovar said. “It was late at night at some fairgrounds, and I hear some commotion outside. I walked out and Cindy’s sitting up on the fence, and she was like ‘He is after me, he has run me out of this pen! He’s coming at me ears pinned, kicking at me.’ I had never seen him like that. I grabbed the halter, and he was so sweet and put his head in the halter. I gave him his antibiotics, and she looked at him and said, ‘You little sorry rat, all you wanted was your mother and to show off!’ He does that a lot.”
Tovar says she couldn’t have designed a more perfect horse for herself. Bakken’s eccentric personality is part of what makes him a winner and all of what makes him Tovar’s once-in-a-lifetime horse.
“He might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but he’s certainly mine and I wouldn’t trade him for $10 million,” Tovar said. “There’s nothing out there that could buy him or take him away from me—he’s just everything I’ve ever wanted.”
This article was originally published in the January 2018 issue of Barrel Horse News.