ProFile: Talsma Performance Horses
Written by: Courtesy< Back to Articles
story by Madison Clark
Ty Talsma is a fifth generation South Dakota rancher, who also fills the role of cowboy and horse trainer at Talsma Performance Horses. “Where I’m at now evolved from rodeoing,” explains the 41-year-old from, Springfield. “Growing up all I wanted to do was go to rodeos, but my dad wouldn’t buy a rodeo horse for me. There was a herd of them out there and my dad said go make one.”
Larry Talsma, Ty’s father, was the first in his family to compete in rodeos. He team roped and rode bulls. Ty followed suit, participating in 4H, high school, and college rodeos growing up. He went to college at Oklahoma Panhandle State University and competed in steer wrestling, calf roping, and team roping. “I played football too and had a full ride in both football and rodeo.”
The Talsma family operates the Tall T Ranch out of Springfield, South Dakota and the Trails End Ranch out of Verdigre, Nebraska. Ty eventually took it upon himself to commercialize his family’s horse training prospects. “My dad had it going pretty good too, and I decided to go for it.” He spends half of his year in Arizona, selling horses that he mainly gathers from Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana to snowbirds spending their winter team roping. “The team roping scene down there is huge – everybody is down there – and it’s great to be out of South Dakota in the winter.”
Selling around 100 head of horses a year, Ty says he always has 30 or 40 at all times, and keeps about 10 to 15 with him in Arizona. His Uncle Pete Talsma helps with the operations while he winters and works with horses in the south. They also hire a few interns in the summer to learn the ropes and assist with training.
“I didn’t really go out expecting to do it this way. There’s always been a demand, and I’ve always enjoyed the lifestyle. Riding horses, ranching, rodeoing, it all goes together,” explained Ty. While Ty says the larger market is the lower number roper, cow horse or team roping horses, he still has many rodeo cowboys as customers. “There’s a good market for the steer wrestling horses too – I train half a dozen or more a year.”
Times have changed when it comes to methods of selling horses. Ty relies on repeat customers, word of mouth and social media for contacts to buy his horses. “Early in my career I put horses on pretty much every major sale in the country. Ninety percent of my sales are private now. A lot of people contact us through Facebook,” said Ty.
Ty’s wife, Kristin, helps as much as she can with riding and training barrel horses, but she keeps very busy with homeschooling their three kids, Terran-12, Treyvan-10, and Gianna-5. “They like to rope and ride, I guess they kind of have to if they’re going to be out there with me. I think they’ll start junior rodeoing soon,” remarked Ty.
Ty tries to make it to as many pro rodeos as he can each year, he makes between 30 or 40 and hopes one year to hit the road and try to make it to the NFR. “One of these years I’m going to dedicate myself and do it.” He has made the Circuit Finals a dozen times in both steer wrestling and team roping.
In regards to the future of the business, Ty hopes to get back to basics when it comes to where his horses are coming from. He currently owns a couple of studs and mares but would like to expand. “Starting off, my dad always had a bunch of brood mares and a stud around. If I could sell ranch raised and ranch trained horses, started and finished by me, that would be best by me.”