The following is an article I wrote for the U.K. magazine The Feathered World:
That sounds like a good title for a western movie. But this is not about the fellow riding the Arizona desert on
his faithful steed chasing cattle thieves. It is about thieves however--the Scottish Horseman Thief Pouter. I
am working on replicating the Horseman here in the desert. I started this project a little over a year ago. I
have cross bred a couple of breeds in the quest for my goal. From crosses of Norwich Croppers with Racing
Homers, and Norwich Croppers with Czech Ice Pouters, I am starting to get birds that are almost reaching the
type for the Horseman.
There are three things I am working on: 1) Type. 2) Getting rid of the white markings, and 3) Thieving
ability. A few of the second generation youngsters are approaching the body shape and globe size that I'm
looking for, but I've lost some of the Racing Homer "feel". So I will be crossing these back to some of the 1/2
Norwich, 1/2 Racing Homer birds. I am being pretty strict with the white marking. So out of the thirty or so
individuals I have raised, I have about 10 without white markings that I will continue the project with. As for
thieving ability, only time will tell. I do have some of the 1st generation youngsters out flying. The cocks do a
lot of wing clapping and chasing the girls. I am planning to cross in some Spanish Thief Pouters to help with
I am using several colors in these crosses. Eventually I will have Horseman Pouters in the following colors:
Brown, blue, and ash red in barless, bar, check, and t-pattern, dominant opal, indigo, spread, ice, white
grizzle, grizzle, faded, recessive red, dilute, almond, and reduced. Many of these colors are also being put
into Norwich Croppers. Some of the young are serving a dual purpose. So the white markings are not
necessarily a bad thing for me. If a bird with white markings has the right genetic make-up, I continue to use
them in my Norwich color projects.
I would like to thank all the doo fliers in Scotland for their help and encouragement. Donald Renwick and
Graeme Boyd have been especially helpful. And through Donald, I have had several communications with
Jimmy Dolier. I have read all I could find about the Horseman and plan on getting Jimmy Dolier's book. I am
also working on making a trip to Scotland to get a look and feel for the real thing. Hopefully I can accomplish
this next year. There are also a few people over here that are still hoping to import a few. Joe Powers and
Tim Hume are the main movers in getting this accomplished. Importing livestock is getting more complicated
all the time, so in the mean time I will continue with my projects and when we do get some birds imported, I will
have quite a few colors ready.
My interest in the Horseman is due to my interest in all things Scottish. And this comes from hearing stories of
my great-great grandfather Ebeneezer Bryce. He came from Scotland as a 12 year old boy and with the
western pioneer spirit joined the wagon trains heading west. He is probably best known for discovering the
Bryce Canyon in southern Utah. And probably his most famous quote about that canyon was "this is a hell of
a place to raise a cow". I don't know that he ever flew the doos, but in my mind he did. So who knows, when I
do make my trip to Scotland I might even be able to play the "pipes".
Good luck to all the doo flyers everywhere, and I am trying to "keep the doos flying" in Arizona.