Appaloosa Territory

Appaloosa History
Dick Foster, One of the last real ranchers

This article about Dick Foster was originally published in the ICAA Report, January-March 1997. It was put together through notes received from Mr. Foster and from a phone interview I conducted.

Who Is Dick Foster?

Dick Foster

Dick Foster

Dick Foster had been a rancher all his life -- raising cattle and using horses for his operation. He was born in a sod house in 1918. His father owned a quarter section of railroad land. From that beginning, he developed the Foster Ranch now consisting of 4000 acres.

Dick has owned and ridden Appaloosas all his life. He chose to use Appaloosas because they were a good, tough horse that would go all day. Their tails would not pick up burrs, brush or barbed wire. Their manes were thin enough not to get in the way if he needed to pick up the reins in a hurry, and on top of all that, they were pretty!

His neighbor, Charlie Kasselder, had the first Appaloosa stallion in that section of Nebraska about 75 years ago. The stallion was Spotted Sam, whom Charlie had bought off the country doctor (Doc Covey) who had used him to pull his buggy. Quite a few mares were bred to Spotted Sam. Dick owned a granddaughter of Spotted Sam.

Foster Ranch Stallions

Dick's first stallion was purchased from Richard and Berneta Casteel. He was Tumbleweed Tom ApHC #18464 foaled in 1961. His sire was Barrendo Buckshot #T18431 and his dam was a black mare. The breeder of Tumbleweed Tom was W.M. McAdams of Brewster, Nebraska.

Tumbleweed Tom

Tumbleweed Tom, #18464, with Berneta Casteel February 1968

Dick's second stallion was Winning Chance #T187780 by Spotted Chance #T89902 out of WW Poly Busher #T151122. Spotted Chance was out of JB Spotted Fawn who was a crop out. Winning Chance had running blood behind him. Dick used him three to four years when the stallion broke his shoulder in a fight with another stallion and had to be put down.

Wining Chance

Winning Chance, T187780, by Spotted Chance, T89902, out of WW Poly Busher T156122.
Photo by Dick Foster

Another stallion Dick purchased was CharEds Tuff Tony #254124 by Double Tough #127164 out of Tony's Blue Starlight #T78279. His sire, Double Tough was bought as a colt by a Larry Kelly. Double Tough was never trained because he lost an eye at an early age, but he had a good disposition. Dick bought him as a three year old .The breeder of Tuff Tony is Ed Seamann who has been breeding Appaloosas since 1958 and is now semi-retired. Ed and his wife Charlotte, of CharEd's Appaloosas are just now getting back into breeding a few Appaloosas again. His son, Wally broke Tuff Tony and used him for quite some time. He had a great natural athletic ability and Ed said "I've never seen a smoother going horse - he seemed to float over rough ground. He also had a lot if endurance - I don't think you could wear him out." Dick used Tony until he was fifteen, at which point he had so many daughters and granddaughters of Tony that he sold him back.

CharEd's Tuff Tony

CharEd's Tuff Tony

Dick's brother had the stallion Hafabuck M #T3981 sired by Silver Dollar #T826 out of Pepper M #T1842. Hafabuck was a grandson of May's Surprise T-3 He was an old horse at the time so Dick only used him for about three years. Some of his present day herd still carries the blood of Hafabuck M. [No photo available]

More recently, Dick purchased the stallion Deacon's Bonanza #T365703 from Mr. Robert Hundt of McCook, Nebraska. He was used on the Foster ranch mares, many of them now descendants of CharEds Tuff Tony and Hafabuck M. Bonanza got his leg caught in a steel gate. The Fosters tried to save him, but it was a losing battle and they finally had to put him down. They still have a son named Deacon's Dude #558548/ICAA F2-1574. Deacon's Dude is the sire of the majority of Mr. Foster's 1998 colt crop. There are eight foals, half fillies.

Deacon's Dude

Deacon's Dude, son of Deacon's Bonanza

Another stallion that Dick Foster raised recently is Tuff Comanche out of CharEds Tuff Tony and the mare Bright Surprise. This stallion was used until sold to John Judson of Gunnison, Colorado.

Tuff Commanche

Tuff Comanche


When the Fosters first got an Appaloosa stallion, they only had Quarter horse mares. Dick started picking up Appaloosa mares of strong characteristics. All of his original mares were hand picked. Many of these mares were not registered with the ApHC when purchased. There was some trouble and effort to get the first foals of those original mares registered with the Appaloosa Horse Club.

Foster herd Foster mares

The Foster mares.

Two year old fillies

Foster's two year old fillies. These photos are from the late 90s.

Breeding Philosophy

Dick Foster believes in a good contrast in his Appaloosas. He breeds for dark head and pigment, with contrasting white. He requires certain body characteristics of his Appaloosas. He likes thick hooves that are large enough to carry the weight, sharp withers, a short strong back, muscled but not overly so. They should have the ability to run a mile if they have to, and a good temper and disposition. The Fosters never showed their horses. They bred their horses for use on the ranch, with cattle or with whatever else came along that needed done.

Samples of Foster's ideal Appaloosas.

Recent purchasers such as Holly Robinson, John Judson and Milton Decker are well pleased with their Foster Appaloosas. It is rare today to find a breeder like Dick Foster. One who has believed in the Appaloosa and has not succumbed to the pressures of the last twenty years to out cross to make the horse "modern", have "quality", be "improved" and "marketable."

A colt (Tuff Commanche Twist) and filly (Ms Imperial Bonanza) purchased from Dick Foster by Robinson's Appaloosas.
Here they are as adults:

These two Appaloosas produced Tuff's Ace Of Spades,

Tuff's Ace Of Spades

who in turn produced these foals: (mighty impressive, aren't they?)

Fabio mama's Baby Sugar's baby

Dick Foster's herd and their descendents are a living monument to the Appaloosa breed. It is an incredible treat to the eyes and heart of any Appaloosa lover.

2012 Update: Ms Imperial Bonanza and her daughter Lacy both produced leopard colts. Holly sent these photos:

Ed Seamann says of Dick Foster's breeding program: "I think he has a very good program. He seems determined to keep the real Appaloosa, and has been consistent in that no matter what the current 'fad' in them has been, We are very glad to see him getting some recognition for having stayed true to what he sees as a good Appaloosa. Dick has been around and worked with horses all his life, mostly Appaloosas. He knows about as much as anyone does about them. He's broken and trained them all his life." This comes from a man who has also raised Appaloosas since 1958. He has had bloodlines such as Joker B, Plaudit and other well-known lines. "CharEd's Comanche Smoke [the SeamannŐs first colt] was the first Appaloosa registered from Greeley County, and there have been few since except ours."

Dick's Appaloosas have also been exported to Austria. Friedrich Stocker of Double F Appaloosas visited Dick and purchased a filly from him. This mare (Dude's Tuff Jungle) is now contributing to the foundation Appaloosas of Austria. She produced the first ICAA registered filly in Europe! The Fosters visited Friedrich in Austria as well.

Foster colts

A group of young colts.

For today's breeders, Mr. Foster suggests that the way to go is to stay with the sensible type horse. Forget the frills of the horse show business. Breed for a horse that can work. Dick's veterinarian, Dr. Baker, tells Dick he makes a great living keeping the "show" horses sound enough for the shows, and not to even think about putting them to work. Let's put that in our pipe and smoke it.


Dick Foster passed away in March 2005. He is missed in the Appaloosa community. His horses were disbursed to other breeders/owners. He gave his very last horse, a colt, to Friedrich Stocker. Those who have a Foster Appaloosa know they have a good one.

End of the Dick Foster

The above information is accurate to the best of my knowledge. Bringing any errors or discrepancies to my attention will be appreciated.

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