The 2011 Pioneer Horseman Award Recipient is Selmer Jacobson
May 27, 1914 - Sep 15,2002
It is with great pride I would like to nominate my father, Selmer Jacobson for the Pioneer Award.
My father was a professional horse trainer in the state of Minnesota for over forty years.
He was raised on the farm, where he bred, raised, and trained Quarter Horses. His horse career started as a child, where he worked with draft horses on the farm. He asked for a pony as a child and his father said he would “check into it”. Later that week, a surprise turned up - a goat! Not thinking this was very funny, Selmer set to work training this goat to pull a cart.
When he was a young man, Selmer decided to get some extra knowledge on breaking and training horses. He took courses by mail and obtained a diploma as a Master Equestrian from the School of Applied Horsemanship in October of 1948.
Selmer purchased gray mare and trained her in dressage movements. This special thoroughbred type mare, known as “Ginger”, was the start of his career in training horses. Selmer performed at many functions “Ginger”. He led and carried the flag in the Corn Show in Kenyon, and in 1939, was the special exhibition at the Minnesota State Fair.
Selmer decided to move into another field of training, which led him into a different discipline. Selmer trained an old brood mare of his to excel in reining, sliding, spinning, and stopping with the best. With the success of his broodmare, he started training for people, which became his clients and good friends. He started with “Hot Foot Annie” owned by the late Irving and Daisy Crotten. This mare was his first state champion, receiving the MQHA Reining High Point award. Soon after, Marvin Sorby of Duluth called and asked if he would take his mare “Boots Top Pride” and train her for reining. This mare became his second state champion in 1964. Marvin enjoyed attending horse shows and people in the horse industry, so he went out and bought a young stallion. Selmer took his family on a drive to Duluth to see his next prospect, which most of you will fondly remember, as “Poco Discount.” Discount, as we called him, became a state champion in 1967.
Selmer had many clients over the years from around the five state area. In the sixties and early seventies, he had young men coming to learn from him, one who was Jerry McRae of Red Wing. Jerry was interested in the Arabian breed. With the help of Selmer, Jerry’s stallion became a winner. Jerry went on to become a great trainer in the Arabian breed and held many national titles. Selmer also trained another Arabian stallion by the name of “Silver Transistor” owned by the late Fred Groth of Wanamingo, Minnesota. One year, at the state fair Selmer rode this stallion in the open reining class. He left the Hippodrome (as it was called back then!) to a standing ovation from the crowd! That horse worked beautifully that afternoon and when it was announced Selmer was getting second place, the crowd booed the judge. It was something I’ll never forget and neither did my dad. Along with Silver, Selmer trained another Arabian gelding. Jerry McRae’s stallion, Silver, and the Arabian gelding were in the top ten at Nationals one year all having been started and trained by Selmer.
In the seventies, Selmer enjoyed many successes with Quarter Horses, Dan River, Joak Sugar Bars, Heza Wimpy Step, and others. Selmer also helped the 4-H project in Goodhue County, where he did small clinics and coached the horse judging team. I remember kids coming to our farm, and along with me, learning the fine points of picking the top horses. He also judged many saddle club shows and county fairs. Selmer helped start the Kenyon Saddle Club and organized trail rides for members. Selmer has been recognized by many as the grandfather of reining in Minnesota, along with good friend Jack Brainerd, who now resides in Texas.
In the eighties, Selmer had one more knock at his door. A young man from Zumbrota had just finished high school and wanted lessons. That young man was named Steve DeFrang. After two weeks with Selmer, Steve thought reining was great. He bought the right horse, trained it, and won the reining Derby when it was held in St. Paul. Steve now resides in Eyota where he has become a very successful reining trainer.
Many quarter horse shows, held outside not in, horses tied by horse trailers, not in box stalls, are the shows that I remember my dad showing in back then. My dad gave me the opportunity to show with him, and I have shared my love of horses with my family friends, and neighbors through the years. As he watches us from heaven, he will see his next generations of riders, his great-great grand kids!! I think I speak for several people here today when I say, “Thanks for all the memories Selmer. Thank you for all your knowledge and patience that you shared with us.”
Helen Jacobson Haugen