By Starrla Cray
HOWARD LAKE, MN When it comes to horses, Lowell Schrupp of Howard Lake likes living in the fast lane.
He’s been breeding racehorses since the early 1980s, and his quarter horses have been wildly successful in both track and barrel racing.
Schrupp’s passion for the magnificent four-legged creatures began when was at a horse auction in middle school. He saw a starving colt and felt sorry for it, so he purchased it for $20.
“I just liked them as a kid, and kept on ever since,” Schrupp said.
About 20 years ago, Schrupp purchased a horse named Tiny Jetaranda for a broodmare. Fourteen of her 15 foals were starters on the track, 13 were winners, and three were stakes winners.
Schrupp said when he went to the Red Horse Ranch Arena in Fergus Falls, he watched six of Tiny’s foals running against each other.
Schrupp still enjoys raising and selling racehorses, usually caring for about 10 at a time on his property, The Little Bit Ranch.
“I’ve always tried to have quality,” he said. “Ten is about the most I have at one time.”
Schrupp currently has three brood mares, a few of their offspring, and a stud named Within Range that he got from Tuscon, AZ.
Within Range has a speed index of about 104.
“That’s about as fast as they go,” Schrupp said.
The horses are all very tame, Schrupp said, explaining that although they have a lot of energy for racing, they do have good temperaments.
Typically, Schrupp’s horses roam in the pastures of The Little Bit Ranch until it is time for them to be trained. Then, a trainer will come and get the horses into shape about three months before the race. The trainer picks the jockey who will ride, Schrupp said.
Horses typically race on the track until about age three or four. Then, they are often used for barrel racing until they are 15 to 20.
At first, selling the horses was a challenge for Schrupp, but he has gotten used to it.
“When I started, I probably fell in love too close,” he said.
When a horse dies, however, it is always hard to get over it. Schrupp’s last stud had to be put to sleep at age 27.
“That’s bound to hurt,” he said.
Schrupp said he doesn’t ride the horses, but enjoys taking care of them.
“I don’t ride at all anymore,” he said. “I used to ride anything and everything.”
Many of the horses have been named after Schrupp’s children and grandchildren.
His daughter Sue resides in Maple Lake, Jessie lives in Waverly, and Connie has a home in the Twin Cities. Schrupp also has eight grandchildren.
When Schrupp’s children were younger, they all enjoyed horseback riding, he said.
Schrupp said he used to show horses at the Wright County Fair.
“I started running at county fairs,” he said, adding that he was on the Wright County Fair board for 23 years.
Schrupp has traveled to arenas throughout the midwest, and has enjoyed seeing his horses succeed in many races. He’s won several awards for horse breeding, as well.
Inside Schrupp’s house, the horse theme is prevalent, with horses decorating the curtains, pot holders, towels, and other accessories.
Schrupp even has a camera screen in his house so that he can monitor the horses while he is inside.
“Everything is horse around here,” he said.
Before he retired, Schrupp worked for Munson Lakes Nutrition in Howard Lake for 40 years, mostly in the sales department. Schrupp was also homecoming king at Howard Lake High School.