Known throughout the world for their homozygous Tobiano Pinto Saddlebred stallion, Key to Perfection, the Silver Spur Ranch has gained a reputation of being a ranch with a heart! How the Silver Spur Ranch was started is a story worthy of a six star romance novel. In the beginning, around 1980 Conrad Priess had purchased the Crystal Bay Club and Casino at Crystal Bay, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. One of the people working in the purchasing group for the club decided to play matchmaker and set Conrad up with the beautiful Ella Mae, who was working at the club at the time of purchase. Ella Mae had a few Arabians boarded in nearby Carson City and Conrad had a few Arabians boarded at his daughter's house a few miles north in the Washoe Valley.
Their common love of Arabians set the stage for their first date, a horse show. After a year of dating their love of horses became overshadowed by the love they had for each other so they were married. Conrad being in real estate found a beautiful ranch just outside of Reno, NV and bought it as a wedding present for Ella Mae. Life was good, but there was much to accomplish to make the ranch function according to both of their standards so the two went to work creating one of the most prestigious Arabian horse ranches in the West, from the ground up. They built a beautiful ranch house fashioned after a log cabin with a rock fireplace and all the trimmings! With his and her Arabians they began a class breeding program that is now known world-wide. Part of [he ranch boasts a lighted 60X100 indoor arena whose temperature control keeps the inside 20 degrees warmer in the winter and 20 degrees colder in the summer than the outside temperature.
About four years after Conrad and Ella Mac started the Silver Spur Ranch, they saw a beautiful stallion named Kazak in a horse publication. Kazak was the national champion of Spain and owned by Don Diego Mandez de Moreno. Conrad contacted Moreno through an agent then flew to Spain with Ella Mae to negotiate the purchase of Kazak. Their week in Spain, according to Conrad and Ella Mae was like a trip to Shangri La. Morino wined and dined the Priess' in a manner fit for a king and queen. The purchase was made and they returned to the U.S. proud new owners of Kazak. Although the purchase was made in April there were so many mares booked that Kazak could not be flown into the U.S. until September! When Kazak finally arrived he stayed in Santa Rosa, in training for a year then found his way home to the Silver Spur Ranch under the watchful eyes of Conrad and Ella Mae. Kazak reigned as stallion at the ranch for a long terra but eventually had to be put down due to a grievous injury- In residence at the ranch are two yearlings bred from the daughters of Kazak , a gilding Key Lotago and filly Kara Key. These two champions, as well as Key to Perfection set the standard for the Silver Spur Ranch.
Saddlebreds are fast becoming popular in the world arena, Australia can now boast the first successful semen breeding program of American saddlebred horses and Scotland is following suit! 'the Silver Spur Ranch prides itself by hiring only the top trainers in the field and its accomplishments speak well of the standards insisted upon by both Conrad and Ella Mae. Among the achievements of the Silver Spur Ranch are a U.S. national championship, a reserve national championship, a Canadian top ten, a Pacific Slope championship, a Scottsdale top twenty award, the Northern California Pinto stallion championship and many class "A" championships.
Key Lotago, Kara Key and Key to Perfection can be seen on video, flee for the asking, from the Silver Spur Ranch to you by calling 702-849-2457. By the way, Conrad and Ella Mae still are the "Key to Perfection" when it comes to romance and wish everyone a "Happy Valentine's Day!