Keith and Ruth Munns’ unique horse-breeding program, producing sound, dependable working horses, started more than 50 years ago.
They were married in 1962 and have always been involved in ranching, but the key element in their lives has been horses.
At first they bred quarter horses and black-and-white tobiano paints. Later, they then focused on “older style” foundation-bred quarter horses.
Today, their horses have a reputation for durability, dependability and versatility.
Breeding, raising and training horses is a family business. Keith and Ruth have 2 children and 6 grandchildren who enjoy being part of the operation. Their son Jeff and his son Kolton enjoy team roping on ranch-raised geldings and work for Keith and Ruth. They take care of the farming and daily chores, start young horses in training, and work with the foals.
Jeff’s girls, Kassie and Katie, finished college in Twin Falls, Idaho, and settled there. They come home to help on the ranch in the summer and do the paperwork for the annual production sale.
Keith and Ruth’s daughter Becky also has her father’s passion for horses.
“I’ve worked with Dad since I was a little girl,” Becky said. “We live south of Rexburg and the family also has places in Kilgore and Bone. We run a set of mares on both places.”
Her husband, Dan Miller, and their 3 children share this love of horses and spend most of their time on horseback.
Breanna is a senior, competing in high school rodeo on horses Keith raised. Her brother Ty is 11, enjoys farming, and spent the summer riding with his dad on the U.S. Forest Service allotment to check cattle. Little sister Charly is 7 and loves to ride.
“This has been fun for their grandpa, riding with his granddaughters and watching them do well with horses he worked a lifetime to produce,” Becky said.
“It’s a family deal; we all live within a mile of each other and have stayed very close as a family.”
Keith’s horses are different from what most quarter horse breeders are producing nowadays.
“He was more interested in durability, breeding horses for ranch use and expecting them to last,” Becky said.
Mares and foals are out in big pastures; young horses are raised in rocks and brush in open country and become sure-footed and agile before their training begins.
“This gives us an edge in training a confident ranch horse,” she says.
The Annual Production Sale this year was Sept. 1, selling the 2018 foal crop, some young stallion prospects, and 20 broke geldings.
These horses had been ridden many hours doing basic ranch jobs, riding the forest allotment, and working in the arena. They have a solid foundation and can go any direction their new owners choose to take them.
“We had a good sale this year, and the weaned colts sold stronger than ever, with some of them selling for $4,500,” Becky said. “The broke geldings averaged about $13,000. A gentleman from Nebraska bought a 2-year-old stallion for $9,000, to start his own breeding program.”
She and Dan also sell a few horses privately throughout the year, and at other sales.
“Dad has always owned a band of mares, from the time he was 18. He has a world of experience and wisdom, and has done a great job achieving his goals,” says Becky.
“He puts a lot of emphasis on his mares. Stallions are important, too, but dad feels the mare contributes more to the foal than does the sire. She provides half the genetics but also the influence and disposition as that foal grows up.”