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Carrying on the VS Legacy…
The impact of Vital Signs Are Good continues into the next generations
“It makes me smile every time I hear another VS winner announced at a show. It reminds me of Lucy and just what she has created.” ~ Kristen Galyean
When the National Snaffle Bit Association recently announced Vital Signs Are Good as the 2023 Hall of Fame inductee in the breeding horse category, no one was more proud than Kristen (Glover) Galyean. After all, they began their journey together back in 2002 when the mare won her first AQHA World Championship title in what would become a storied show career nothing short of a fairytale.
Along with becoming a legendary show horse, Vital Signs Are Good (aka Lucy and VSAG) began her side hustle as a broodmare when the Glover family began utilizing embryo transfers breeding her to leading western pleasure stallions. Two of these foals would ultimately fulfill Kristen’s longtime dream of owning and standing a stallion influential in the industry – with not just one, but two sons of Lucy.
Now, with two second generation VSAG colts, the VS legacy is written in the stars and etched in stone.
Each of the stallions are unique yet all have been stamped with the unmistakable VS quality that carries her legacy on.
VS CODE RED
The 2007 red roan colt out of Vital Signs Are Good by World Champion Blazing Hot stepped easily into his show career alongside his mama.
This year marks 15 years since his history-making debut at the All American Quarter Horse Congress where his dam had made her own history. With Kristen showing him, “Waylon” became the first to win the open, limited open and non-pro two-year-old western pleasure futurities shown by a non-pro rider in all three. That Congress would be bittersweet as it was also the last time Kristen would show Lucy. With her sale to the Moran Family, Lucy made more dreams come true.
For VS Code Red, the progression from western pleasure to western riding was natural and brought Kristen renewed enthusiasm after a few years away from one of her favorite events. At the 2011 Congress, with his unanimous win in the junior western riding and another win in the green western riding, Charlie Cole described the young stallion as “flawless.”
A five-time Congress Champion and multiple world and high point titles, Waylon retired from the show arena to full books in the breeding barn. He quickly established himself as a sire of western pleasure and all around horses with the VSAG influence in AQHA and APHA competition. His impact as a sire will be long-lasting.
A Million Dollar Sire, VS Code Red’s offspring have surpassed 32,000 AQHA points with 7 World Champions and 11 Reserve World Champions with 27 titles among them. He has 20 APHA world or national champions and 23 reserve world or national champions, with 7,382 APHA points and $95K earnings.
Three years after his brother made his mark at the Congress, VS Flatline would announce his arrival in a similar fashion, peering out from under the recognizable forelock of his sire, World Champion Lazy Loper.
“Kobe” followed in Waylon’s footsteps to the winner’s circle in both the open and non-pro two-year-old western pleasure futurities and went on to win the AQHA World Championship title just weeks later. As a three-year-old, VS Flatline would add three more Congress Champion titles to his resume.
Also a Million Dollar Sire, VS Flatline has established himself as a sire of western pleasure and all around horses in both AQHA and APHA. His get have earned more than 17,000 AQHA points with 6 World Champions and 5 Reserve World Champions, with 21 titles combined. He has 15 APHA world or national champions and 15 reserve world or national champions, with 6,500 APHA points and over $21K in recorded earnings.
In 2018, when AQHA introduced their inaugural Pleasure Versatility Challenge, KM Flat Out The Best by VS Flatline was crowned champion. The following year, Snap It Send It by VS Code Red captured the crowd’s hearts and the challenge win. She would win the AQHA World Show Super Horse title two years later in 2021.
THE NEXT GENERATION
In 2013, when Kristen saw a young red roan filly sired by VS Code Red, out of the World Champion mare Cool Krymsun Lady, it seemed to be clue from destiny and she didn’t hesitate to purchase the granddaughter of Lucy from breeder Susan Knapp.
VS Lady In Red made her showing debut at the 2015 Congress with a win in the Master’s Two-Year-Old Maiden Western Pleasure.
The red roan mare brought Kristen full circle in 2017 when they were crowned AQHA World Champions in Amateur Western Pleasure, 10 years after Kristen won the same title with Vital Signs Are Good. Reserve Champions in 2018, they repeated their championship win in 2019.
In 2020, Kristen and Lady won the Amateur Western Riding World Championship. Their impressive 238.5 score broke the world show record for that class set by none other than Kristen and Lucy – 15 years before.
Like her grand-dam, Lady began producing foals via embryo transfer during her showing career with Kristen, who carefully selected stallions for her.
Along with producing the next generation, VS Lady In Red is also carrying the next generation, competing in the small-fry events with the youngest Galyean daughter, Aislynn. Gracelyn Galyean, nearly 11, began showing in the small-fry on another VSCR daughter, Vital Lines Are Red. She recently welcomed a foal from Lady bred to her choice of stallions, Good Better Best, aiming at the hunter under saddle in a few years.
SETTING THE WORLD ON FIRE
Crossing Lady with Machine Made was a hit with the arrival of VS The Fireman in 2019. He was big, strong and correct. And he had that roan situation going on.
“From the moment he was born he had perfection written all over him,” recalled Kristen.
Both Kristen and her husband Wes are big on conformation and form-to-function. Wes was quick to declare the colt a keeper and they named him “Gronk.”
“They have to be made right to be a breeding horse,” said Kristen. “Gronk has everything you want – his hocks sit up underneath him and are low. He has a huge strong hip, which makes loping easy for him. That strong lift in his shoulders behind a beautiful head and neck creates a presence you can’t ignore.
“He has always been extremely laidback and Aaron [Moses] will attest he was a fun one for him to train. The first time I saw Gronk under saddle it was apparent he loved his job and wanted to please Aaron. For a stallion that’s so important.”
His much anticipated debut at the 2021 Congress in the Master’s Two-Year-Old Maiden Western Pleasure was interrupted when Moses was injured in a mishap before he was to show.
They made the difficult decision to not rush to make the Congress class with a catch-rider. For the AQHA World Show a couple weeks away, Jay Starnes stepped into the stirrups with just days to get to know the colt from Aaron’s training program. Starnes had trained and shown VS Flatline and proved a good match with VS The Fireman. Their victory in the two-year-old western pleasure was sweet.
As a three year old, VS The Fireman stood his introductory breeding season before heading back to the show pen with Moses back in the saddle for the open three-year-old events.
They hit a few of the majors last summer where Kristen also began to show him in the non-pro.
“Showing him was everything I dreamed it would be,” she said.
Gronk struck gold at the NSBA World Championship Show with wins in the three-year-old open and non-pro plus the junior western pleasure championship. Two months later they went to the Congress, where he and Kristen won the Non-Pro Three-Year-Old Western Pleasure. With a split decision, Gronk and Aaron were Reserve Champion in the Open Three-Year-Old Western Pleasure.
As a preview to his future, Gronk and Aaron took on the AQHA World Show Pleasure Versatility Challenge. His unanimous win in the pleasure portion and the reserve in the patten secured the reserve championship overall.
“He was phenomenal. We could not have been more proud of his lead changes in the pattern portion,” said Kristen Galyean.
Steady and solid, Gronk won the three-year-old open western pleasure stakes with Aaron and was the unanimous champion in the non-pro three-year-old western pleasure stakes shown by Kristen.
“Gronk’s mother [VS Lady In Red] is one of my favorite mares of all time,” said Kristen. “She can really do anything athletically and she is beautiful and great-minded. The best mares make the best stallions and Gronk puts a huge exclamation mark on that belief for me.
“He reminds me so much of Lady. They are built so strong. I think that’s why they won as two year olds at the biggest shows.”
When breeding western pleasure horses, Kristen looks beyond the rail. Today’s western riding is challenging physically and mentally. The great ones make the extremely difficult look effortless and easy. VS The Fireman looks to be her next great one.
“Western riding comes naturally [to the VS horses] because it’s physically easy for them and they have the mind to handle it. To me, it’s the ultimate test and speaks volumes about an individual.”
With the success of the VS Code Red foals, Kristen was excited for the opportunity to purchase a very special embryo from a Snap Krackle Pop and VS Code Red breeding. The stars aligned when a large stud colt with a white face was born – VS Phantom Code.
“I’ve always loved Snap Krackle Pop,” said Kristen of the two-time AQHA World Show Super Horse. “She is so beautiful and talented. She’s by RL Best Of Sudden and is stout and a shorter build. I always believed VSCR would complement her perfectly. VSCR is a big boy with a lot of reach and strength. Together they create athletic ability with beauty and a mind that can do anything.
“Snap It Send It (VS Code Red x Snap Krackle Pop) is one of my favorite horses of all time because she reminds me so much of Waylon with that beautiful flat stride and she is so elegant.”
“VS Phantom Code is her full brother and is the perfect boy version of her. He is big like his daddy and is so strong and elegant not to mention breathtakingly beautiful. He was the strongest two-year-old I’ve ever seen. He’s magical to ride. Phantom is my idea of a perfect horse.”
Phantom joined the family business and made his much anticipated debut at the Congress where he captured Congress Championships across the board – Open Two-Year-Old Maiden, Super Sires Open Two-Year-Old and Non-Pro Two-Year-Old Western Pleasure.
Phantom finished his freshman show season with the Reserve World Champion Two-Year-Old Western Pleasure title. When it was announced that Phantom would stand at stud in 2023 his book filled in just three days. The AQHA/APHA gray with a roan gene promises to make an impact of his own.
Both Gronk and Phantom will show again this year at some of the majors without interfering with their busy breeding schedules standing at EE Ranches in Whitesboro, Texas.
“The EE Ranches facility allows us to provide our mare owners with the level of service they deserve while giving our stallions to absolute best care,” said Galyean.
The Glover Galyean Partnership owns VS Code Red, VS Flatline and VS Phantom Code. VS The Fireman is owned by Wesley and Kristen Galyean. Lori Cohen is the stallion manager and may be reached at 918-978-6064.
EE Ranches Stallion Station Manager Kim Adams may be reached at 903-564-3692 or 817-291-1240.
“That VS look is so identifiable. The way they hang their necks out and look through the bridle, that expression is very reminiscent of Lucy.”
CLICK HERE to view the February Issue of GoMag
Cover Design: bar H | Cover Photos: VSCR, VSF, VSTF-Superlative Equine; VSPC-Impulse Photography
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