John & Brenda Stephenson

The newest members of the NRCHA Hall of Merit are John and Brenda Stephenson of San Juan Ranch, a division of Santa Cruz Biotechnologies. Located in the heart of reined cow horse country, in eastern San Luis Obispo County, Calif. and also in Weatherford, TX, San Juan Ranch specializes in the production of Gelbvieh beef cattle and world-class performance horses.

The Stephenson’s have thrice celebrated a milestone many NRCHA breeder-owners only dream of: watching horses they raised win the Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Championship. The first San Juan Ranch horse to claim the coveted title was Stylish Little Oak (Playin Stylish x Shiners Little Oak x Shining Spark), who won the 2010 Snaffle Bit Futurity Open with Tucker Robinson in the saddle. The Stephenson’s did not have to wait long for repeats: in 2012, CD Diamond (CD Olena x Shiners Diamond Girl x Shining Spark), and again in 2018, SJR Diamond Mist (CD Diamond x Cat Mist x High Brow Cat) were both ridden by NRCHA Million Dollar Rider Corey Cushing were Open Futurity Champions.

The Stephenson’s are steadfast supporters of the National Reined Cow Horse Association; San Juan Ranch is a Breeder Sponsor and a Corporate Partner. The Ranch also sponsors the traditional early-bird breakfast on finals day at the NRCHA Derby in Paso Robles, Calif., every year. “Our hearts are in the working cow horse. We love the working cow horse events. Our breeding program is focused on that,” Brenda Stephenson said, after Stylish Little Oak won the 2010 Snaffle Bit Futurity.