Equine Superstars & Everyday Heroes – Rowdy Dan

“Rowdy Dan” a big bay gelding, used on the popular television series “Yellowstone,” has found a new home in Texas with owner Donna Wells. (Photo by Janis Blackwell)

By Janis Blackwell

This month Equine Superstars and Everyday Heroes explores a whole new area of talented equine, one which until now, I have only encountered in the rodeo arena by way of a contract act.

That talented individual is a big bay gelding known as Rowdy Dan. Rowdy Dan’s new owner is Donna Wells, a name familiar to many who have been around horse activities in the Wichita Falls and surrounding area for many years. Donna is a long-time barrel racer, inactive in that sport for the past 27 years after handing her good horse off to her daughter. Recently desiring to return to it motivated her to look for a horse again.

However, before we can tell Rowdy’s story, we have to discuss what drew her to him. That would be the horse she owned and ran barrels on years ago and the one she handed down to daughter Lacy.

In her youth, Donna and husband Ronnie Wells (well-known farrier) trained race horses. One of those horses with which they had success was a big bay gelding known as “Whatacookiebar,” Cookie for short. Cookie was by “What Luck” by “Bold Ruler” and out of a “Three Bars” mare.

Cookie ran fourth in the Rainbow Futurity trials as a colt. According to his jockey, he should have loped across the finish line to an easy win, but chipped a bone in his knee about half way through the race, which caused him to drop from winning first to fourth.

After a year’s rehab, he returned to racing, but never had the same ability that he had shown going into the Rainbow trials. For a while, Donna’s need for speed was satisfied by breezing the racing colts.

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