Appaloosa Territory


Tai-Pan of AA

by Mike and Kathy Shaffer. This article was originally published in the ICAA Report.
See also A Tribute to Tai Pan of AA.

In 1973, beginning Appaloosa breeders bought Tai-Pan of AA sight unseen. Luck was with them, as he turned out to be a tremendous producer and a great individual.
My thanks to the Shaffers for sharing their story of Tai Pan of AA and their photographs.


Tai Pan at age 25

Double A Ranch

In March of 1966 an Appaloosa stud colt was born on the Double A Ranch in Rapid City, South Dakota that was destined to make his mark not only in the west but the east as well. This foal was sired by the well known stallion, Whistle Britches. His dam was a daughter of the old foundation horse Dan Patches, with a splash of Arabian on her dam's side from the well respected Arabian sire Dur Manne. Laura Boggio, owner of the Double A, was reading the soon to be famous book, Tai-Pan, on the night this colt was born. Thus he acquired his name, Tai-Pan of AA.

Woodland Acres

Tai-Pan lived a normal horse life until the age of two when he was sold to Ken Knudsen, owner of Woodland Acres in Vining, Minnesota. Ken recognized the potential in the rough colt, and sent him to trainer Dale Odden for discipline. Over the next two years, Dale tempered Tai-Pan's exuberance and channeled it. Tai-Pan's level headedness, speed and agility soon put him in the arena.

He excelled in Roping and Trail, ending 1970 as the CON High Point Trail Horse and RRVIAHC High Point Roping Horse. He also consistently placed in Western Pleasure, reining and Halter. While he was doing his duty as a show horse, he was also used as a cutting horse on Dale's ranch. He often spent his weekdays as a ranch horse, then loading up on weekends to go to shows.


Tai-Pan Of AA advertised for sale in the Appaloosa News

His first foals hit the ground in 1969 and included Woodlands TP Ginger, Wissota Champion 1969 mare. In the ensuing years Tai-Pan sired many foals that placed in halter as well as performance events. Horses like Woodland's Fire Whistle, North Dakota Reserve Champion Colt in 1974, and Woodlands Cherokee Whistler, a multiple champion in poles, barrels, reining and western pleasure.

Shaffers Appaloosas

In 1973 Ken decided it was time for Tai-Pan to move on and advertised him for sale in the Appaloosa News. A young couple saw the ad and bought Tai-Pan sight unseen over the telephone. With no money, (Ken had to finance the sale through his bank), no experience (Tai-Pan was their first horse), and lots of dreams, Mike and Kathy Shaffer of Indiana acquired Tai-Pan.

Realizing they were not capable of showing him, the Shaffer's turned him over to an experienced amateur, Dottie Benjamin. Dottie was thirteen years old, and had been riding since she was four. Tai-Pan gave her the opportunity she had been looking for. She wanted a jumping horse, so Tai-Pan's show career took a different turn. Under the eye of a local dressage trainer, Dottie and Tai-Pan started jumping and dressage training.


With three months of jumper training, he entered the Indiana Appaloosa show circuit. But he didn't just jump, he entered English Pleasure, Western Pleasure, Aged Stallions and Reining classes. At the end of 1974 he ended up with Year End Awards in the IAA in Jumping and Aged Stallion, having been in 13 shows, and never placing less than fourth in any class he entered. In 1975 he was "officially" retired from the show ring, although he did show after that in a few local open shows winning in barrels and reining. From then on his job was just daily riding by Kathy and siring foals.

Tai-Pan sired many foals in Indiana, including consistent performance winners such as Tai-Pan's Cherokee, a 4-H and State Fair winner in Versatility, Jumping and Western Riding; TP's Little Bit, four time versatility champion; TP's Generosity; and SA Werking Girl, who was sold to Massachusetts.

He sired over 95% fillies, so in 1978 the Shaffer's bought a second stallion to cross on their Tai-Pan daughters. They realized they wouldn't be able to have two stallions with their limited facilities, but the bond between them and Tai-Pan was too strong to consider selling him. He was leased to Mike and Kathy Gallick of Raindrop Acres, Greene, New York in 1983.


Ad from 1977 Appaloosa News.


Full page ad from 1977 Appaloosa News.


Ad from 1981 Appaloosa News.

Raindrop Acres


Sport Tai Plaudit

Tai-Pan was 18 at the time and ready to start the third leg of his journey through life. Mike used him for shoeing demonstrations at schools and Tai-Pan enjoyed the leisure he deserved. He sired several New York State champions including Sport Tai Plaudit, New York Breeders Futurity winner in Western and English Pleasure.

Back Home

In 1993, the Shaffer's decided to bring him home. Tai-Pan was now an old man, 27, but still full of vinegar and a love of life. He stood to five mares that year, settling all of them. On July 7 at 11:40 AM his life ended in a freak accident.

So ends the story of my best friend. Whatever he did, he gave everything he had. Every horse person has that one horse in their life that can never be replaced. Tai-Pan was that horse for me. What I cherish the most are not the ribbons or the foals, but those days we rode out together. Tai-Pan, with his head up looking for adventure, and me knowing that whatever adventure we found, he would take care of me. I remember the long all day rides to town and back; I remember the time we encountered drunken drivers along the road who tried to steal Tai-Pan; and I remember the "blizzard of '78" when there was twenty-two inches of snow and we rode down the middle of State Highway 9 at a dead gallop.

I still own a 19 year old gelding son of Tai-Pan who shares his sire's love of adventure and performance ability. His legacy lives on in Toni-Pan Hoss, his last foal, a leopard mare born the year after he died. She is owned by Alpha Appaloosas, Plainfield, Illinois.

Tai-Pan of AA sired 69 registered foals, spanning from 1969 to 1993.

Partial List of Offspring


Woodland's TP Ginger


Woodland's Cherokee Whistler


SA Werking Girl 220256, Tai Pan's first foal in Indiana

woodlands firewhhistle

Woodland's Fire Whistle


Tai Pan's Little Bit 238744


Ravat 482604


Tai's Mini Skirt


Nez Tai Warrior


Woodland's TP Clancy.
Clancy was Grand Champion stallion at the Red River Valley Fair 1972-1974.


name unknown 1984 colt, dam: Prince's Ginger II


SA Tai Roan Power


TP's Generosity

Pedigree of Tai Pan of AA

Dr Howard JC
Mansfield Comanche F-3096
Double Six Domino F-2646
Mansfield Comanche F-3096
Whistle Britches F-4292
One Eyed Waggoner
Cooterville Chicken T-498
Freckles H F-2319 CRHA nr
Dixon's Dunnie AQ
Rusty (Appaloosa per allbreed)
Dan Patches 8537
(Bobby, black leopard per allbreed)
Lady (KNN 1023? per allbreed)
(Fine, brown leopard per allbreed)
Speckled Trout 18969
Gayf (Arabian)
Feza ID 4387
Beza (Arabian)

Anyone who can furnish information about Tai Pan's get are invited to do so. It will be a benefit to all who love the Appaloosa to accumulate this information.

References: Appaloosa News 1-76:219, 2-76:169, 1-75:237, 2-75:223, 3-75:157, 4-75:136, 5-75:110, 6-75:125, 7-75:115, 8-75:123, 11-75:152, 12-75:114, 4-73:52*, 9-73:50*,90*; 7-77:122*, 7-76:111*, 8-76:85, 1-78:144*, 12-78:98*; ICAA Report spr99?