Tony Diaz ~ is 81 today (2014) and lives at Vacaville, California. He still trains horses, makes bits, and teaches horsemanship to family and others. The sliding stops that are so popular today started with the Spanish techniques of some great horsemen in California and gradually moved across the world. Tony was in the middle of that early movement.
Tony was one of the early Spanish reinsmen who won a lot of the high dollar Futurities and Championship Stock Horse Events in Santa Barbara, the Cow Palace, the California State Fair, etc. Tony managed Fame Farms of Clements, CA for Fame LeSage. Tony frequented the Warren Shoemaker and Hank Wiescamp herds. Mr. LeSage had the money to buy stuff that wasn't normally for sale. At one time Fame Farms purchased the whole Shoemaker filly crop. The Shoemaker mares with Wiescamp stallions was a great performance and halter blend.
Tony was a master reinsman in the fifties and sixties. His soft hands with a snaffle bit and hackamore were amazing. Once he decided to find a straight Thoroughbred and make a western stock horse out of him. He went to Kentucky and felt the mouths of yearlings and selected a "good" mouth dark bay later named Fame We Will. He was by I Will by Roman. With Tony's easy hands he made reining runs on this long tall smooth riding stallion that were music in motion. He raised a son, Fame We Willie who won halter classes as well as reining futurities all over the west coast. One of the horses Tony trained to perfection winning the big shows was Joe Queen. After Tony trained him he was part of a Disney special on Quarter Horses ridden by his new owner, actor Audie Murphy.
This photo is Tony and one of his favorite bits.
Tony bought Skips Count from Wiescamp and later my Dad (Frank) and I bought Skips Count and all his brood mare band.
Author: Darol Dickinson