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Colorful Twins make their debut at Charlie Daniels’ Twin Pines Ranch

FORT WORTH, Texas— After devoting more than 25 years to raising quality Paints and advancing the American Paint Horse breed, country-rock legend Charlie Daniels recently received the prize of a lifetime at his Twin Pines Ranch—a set of healthy, twin Paint fillies.

The now spunky and vivacious twins, sired by ranch stallion HLF Smokin Ace and out of Ms Paseos County AQHA, were born in the fields of the Lebanon, Tenn., ranch during the morning hours of April 23.

According to the American Paint Horse Association’s (APHA’s) database, which contains the names of nearly 1 million American Paint Horses, only 323 twins have been registered by the association since its inception in 1962.

While it is unusual for a mare to give birth to twins and even more rare for both foals to be healthy, the twins known as “Okie” and “Rose” around the ranch seem to be like any normal young Paints. The health and vitality of the foals can be attributed to Twin Pine’s Ranch Manager Thurman Mullins, who has been caring for them around the clock. When the twin Paints were first born, Mullins, like any dedicated horse owner, was concerned that they would be weak and unhealthy.

“We were real tickled when we first realized we had twin Paint foals,” said Mullins. “Then all the negatives I’ve heard about twin foals started jumping around in my head, but so far we have been very blessed.”

Since their birth, the twins have been under the constant supervision of either Mullins or two of the other long-time ranch hands, Leroy Crawford and his son Derrick. One of his main priorities has been making sure each foal receives enough milk from the dam and that she accepts both foals. When Mullins observed that one of the foals was starting to look weaker than the other during their first week, he decided to step in. Through careful observation, a little innovation and a lot of patience, he bottle-fed the healthier foal to distract her from her mother, allowing the weaker foal to drink the mare’s milk. It’s been that kind of dedication and intuitiveness over the past several decades as a breeder and rancher that have earned Mullins the steadfast respect of Charlie Daniels.

“Within a week I discontinued the bottle and then I felt comfortable enough to ask Charlie [Daniels] what we were going to name them,” said Mullins.

All in the name

As the foals continue to grow and get stronger, and the crew at Twins Pines Ranch is busy caring for and registering the many foals being born at the ranch. Because the twins are a special addition to the ranch, Daniels has decided to register the fillies as Twin Pines Okie and Twin Pines Rose for his wife, Hazel.

“But Hazel doesn’t know it yet,” said Mullins. “She’s from Oklahoma and loves to be outside gardening so Charlie decided he wanted to name Okie and Rose after the volcanic rock formations in Oklahoma known as Okie Rose’s.”

With such special names and being the first twins born at Twin Pines, the ranch doesn’t anticipate selling them anytime soon.

Ambassadors for the breed

Ever since the beginning of Twin Pines Ranch nearly 30 years ago, Daniels has wanted one thing—a working operation. He has always said, “I’ve got friends who have cows they’ve never seen and horses they’ve never sat on. I want cows I can work and horses I can ride.”

With that philosophy in mind, Twin Pines became the first breeder of Corriente cattle east of the Mississippi and has owned Paint Horses from the start. In fact, one of Daniels’ all-time favorite horses and the reason his ranch continues to own Paint Horses is Rialtos Lady, whose dam was one of the first registered American Paint Horses.

Daniels is a well-known ambassador for APHA and has been involved in a myriad of community outreach projects over the years, mostly centered on helping children. He has donated many prized Paint foals to help raise additional funds for a variety of causes and has even gone so far as helping pay for the new owners’ APHA membership fees and registration transfer fee.

Two years ago, APHA awarded Daniels its Legendary Achievement Award for his work over the past 25 years in breeding American Paint Horses and spotlighting their beauty, versatility and athletic talents. APHA also issued him a lifetime membership certificate.

A modest Daniels said it ranked among his top honors. That put APHA in prestigious company, considering Daniels was recently inducted into the Grand Ole Opry and owns a long list of awards and honors from the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music.

Now the twins of Twin Pines become part of Daniels’ colorful legacy.

“As Charlie would say himself, the reason he has all these Paints is simply because he likes driving from his house to the road, looking out into the pasture and seeing all the color,” said Mullins.

More about APHA

Currently, American Paint Horses are being registered at APHA’s Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters at a rate of about 35,000 horses each year. APHA has registered nearly 928,000 horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded 46 years ago, and now serves approximately 93,000 active members around the world. Among its many activities, APHA works to preserve bloodlines and maintain the outstanding characteristics of the American Paint Horse breed.

For more information about APHA, contact the association at (817) 834-2742, or visit apha.com.


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