Source: Text by Corrine S. Borton • Photos by Elizabeth Jakovich
John and Kathy Yarnelle, as a newly married couple on their honeymoon, at the American Paint Horse Association’s World Championship Show 30 years ago, asked Bill and Susie Yarnelle to purchase their first stallion, Paint Me Zippo. Sired by the legendary Quarter Horse stallion Zippo Pine Bar, Paint Me Zippo produced 30 World Champions during his extensive career.
“We have been breeding for almost 30 years now and we have always strived to bring the AQHA bloodlines to the Paints,” Kathy said.
Today, the Yarnelles are continuing in that mission at their farm in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with two of the industry’s most exciting sires: Special Invitation, a 1998 bay tobiano sired by Invitation Only; and CR Good Machine, a 2011 sorrel overo sired by A Good Machine.
Special Invitation had an impressive show career, recording over 125 Western Pleasure points with limited showing and claiming the 2001 NSBA High Point Color Horse title. But his power as a sire has been remarkable. Now a multiple World and Reserve World Champion sire year after year, Special is currently third on the APHA Performance Leading Sires list.
There have been numerous show horses sired by Special including multiple APHA and PtHA World and Reserve World Champion Western Pleasure stallion, John Simon; multiple World and Reserve World Champion and Reichert Color Classic 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure Champion, Endless Invitation; World Champion, Sum Beach; Reserve World Champion with over 590 APHA points, Invite Matthew; multiple Reserve World Champion and Reserve Reichert Color Classic 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure Stakes Champion, In Stores Only; and APHA Fall World Show Sweepstakes Reserve World Champion, Invite Tanner.
“Special Invitation had another successful year at the 2015 APHA World Show. His foals were World and Reserve World Champions in Western Riding and Trail and of course you can’t forget the great John Simon who won the Classic Amateur Senior Western Pleasure,” John said.
So between the success of Paint Me Zippo foals and Special Invitation offspring, John Yarnelle had come to appreciate raw talent. That’s why when he first spotted CR Good Machine, a 2005 sorrel overo stallion by multiple World Champion producer, A Good Machine (AQHA), showing as a 2-year-old it was clear to him that the youngster would some day make a great stallion.
“We tried to buy him then but just couldn’t get it done,” John said.
CR Good Machine went on to build an impressive show record, earning over 170 Western Pleasure points.
Four years later in 2011 the Yarnelles did get the chance to purchase CR Good Machine. At that point he only had four foals on the ground. Of the four was Agent Dinozzo, unanimous champion in the Farnam 2-Year-Old Western Pleasure at the APHA World Show, as well as 2-Year-Old Non-Pro Western Pleasure Champion. Another was R Kid Rock, earner of over 200 APHA points in a variety of events. At around the same time, the Yarnelles also bought CR Midnight Machine, the only CR Good Machine foal born in 2011.
“She was so big and pretty we didn’t keep her long,” John said. “Terry and Holly Schultz from Nebraska bought her and had great success at the Color Breed Congress.”
CR Good Machine’s first substantial breeding season was in 2011 and the resulting foals are just now getting to the show pen but they are doing it in a big way.
At the 2015 APHA World Championship Show, Hesa Love Machine was the Breeder’s Futurity Gold Yearling Longe Line Champion and Sheza Special Machine claimed a World Championship title in Open Yearling Longe Line. Sheza Dancin Machine placed Top 10 in the 3-Year-Old Western Pleasure.
In 2015 CR Good Machine foals logged over $50,000 in Premier Paint Sires earnings and he is now number nine on the APHA Leading Sires List.
“Many of his get haven’t even been shown by youth or amateur exhibitors yet,” John said. “He only has 104 total foals, the fewest of the horses on the leading sire’s list. It has been a dream come true for us. It’s also nice to see others realize the potential of this great stallion.”
Yarnelle Farms is also standing two other up-and-coming stallions this year. Guaranteed is a 2010 homozygous bay tobiano stallion by Special Invitation and out of a granddaughter of Paint Me Zippo. An injury kept Guaranteed from the show arena but the Yarnelles believe he has a bright future as a sire.
“Guaranteed’s babies are just now 3-year-olds and there are only six of them,” John said. “We are just getting rolling with him and his get are already looking very promising.”
Big Money Impulse joins the lineup this year. The 2011 sorrel overo stallion is sired by multiple World Champion sire, A Scenic Impulse, and out of Sensational Zippo, a World Champion producing mare with $51,701 in NSBA earnings.
All four stallions are enrolled in the Breeders Trust and Special Invitation, CR Good Machine and Guaranteed are in the Premier Paint Sires program.
Situated on over 100 acres, Yarnelle Farms has a state-of-the-art breeding facility. With a total of 83 stalls in five barns, they offer year-round mare care and their foaling barns include 24-hour foaling cameras. The facility also has a full-service breeding lab capable of preparing semen to be shipped out to mares throughout the country.
In addition, they are one of the only private farms to offer the “sperm vision” breeding system. This system better enables them to accurately assess the stallions’ sperm whether it is fresh, chilled or even frozen.
“We take pride in taking care of our customers and working with them on a daily basis,” said John. “We want their mares to get in foal as badly as they do so we want people to know our customer service is a top priority.”
When they are not busy with the actual breeding operation the Yarnelles spend a considerable amount of time at shows supporting the offspring of the stallions they stand.
“The World Show is always a big deal for us,” Kathy said. “We enjoy watching our customers take titles with their Yarnelle-bred offspring. We would definitely like to continue to be on the Leading Sire’s List.”
Both John and Kathy say they think it’s very important to keep an eye out for the next best thing.
“We try to stay up with the new bloodlines that win consistently in the show pen,” John said. “We tend to look to AQHA for guidance as far as what crosses are working best and what lines to breed in the future, always keeping the focus on quality.”
Besides maintaining a busy horse operation, John and Kathy are deeply involved in family. They have three girls, Hannah and husband Travis Mullendore, Sarah, and Brooke Yarnelle. They also have three boys: Luke, Eli, and the late Seth Yarnelle, all adopted from Guatemala. Last year they welcomed their second grandchild, Micah, who joined big sister, Shiloh. They also feel extremely fortunate to have John’s parents, Bill and Susie, so close by and always supporting them in any way possible.
“Because the horses are our way of making a living it’s easy to forget just how much joy they bring to our lives,” Kathy said. “We recently took a trip to the Rocky Mountains where we were able to do some trail riding as a family. It was great just to get back to basics and fall in love with horses all over again.”
For additional information on breeding, training or sales contact Yarnelle Farms at (260) 410-7925. You can also visit Yarnelle Farms on the web at www.yarnellefarms.com.