Doug’s Background
Doug grew up in the mountains of western Colorado and was riding before he could walk. Horses were prevalent in every aspect of his life.  He even rode a horse to school as a youngster and by the age of four, he was helping his father move cattle from summer to winter range.  Doug came into the horse industry thanks in part to the support of his father, who had strong passion for horses and a life-long interest towards improving horsemanship.  As he worked his way up through the business, Doug was blessed to learn from some of the best horsemen to ever swing a leg over a saddle.  Family friend Ray Hall took him to his first horse show.  Monte Foreman and some of the old “Greats” such as Sunny Jim Orr, Stanley Glover, and Leroy Webb were also inspiring influences for Doug.  As he developed his skills as a horse trainer, he also gained experience from more modern legends, such as fellow NRHA Hall of Famer Bob Loomis.

It was in the 1980’s that Doug first garnered attention, thanks to his numerous AQHA World Championships.  He won his first title in 1982 when he won the AQHA Sr Working Cowhorse World Championship.  A year later, Doug captured both the Jr and Sr Reining AQHA World Championships.  He then followed that feat with yet another World Championship and a Reserve World Championship in Working Cowhorse in 1984.  Doug coached three AQHA Amateur World Championships as well.

In NRHA competition, Doug had a similar success.  In 1982, he rode How D Mae Bee to a 14th place finish at the Open HRHA Futurity.  The next spring, he rode the gray stallion to the 1983 NRHA Open Derby Championship and the AQHA World Championship in the Jr Reining. Also in 1983, Doug won the AQHA World Championship Senior Reining on Cee Bee Command.  The following year, the duo won the 1984 AQHA Sr Reining World Championship.  Starting in 1982, Doug has made the NRHA Open Futurity Finals a phenomenal number of times.

Training out of his facility in Nebraska, he developed and won on a list of horses that reads like a who’s who of the reining world.  In 1984, he was 5th on Forest Cabin Moon.  In 1986, he was 5th on Cool Change Cody and a year later, 4th on Topsail Skeets.  Then in 1988, he rode a famous buckskin mare he raised by the name of Rest Stop to capture the NRHA Open Futurity Reserve Championship for new owner Marc Wagman.  Rest Stop has since been inducted into the NRHA Hall of Fame and proved to be a tremendous producer.  A year later in 1989, he was 3rd on another outstanding mare, Eyed Be A Princess, the dam of one of the all time leading NRHA producing mares Princess In Diamonds.

It was in 1990 that Doug stood in the finals night spotlight when he rode Silver Anniversary to the NRHA Open Futurity Championship.  Silver Anniversary was an orphaned filly that Doug had previously placed 6th on at the All American Congress earlier that fall.  Doug and the big-hearted mare actually missed making the finals by a single point.  However, the duo made history when they won the Consolation Futurity and a last chance slot on finals night.  They had to go first but their score held up against all the remaining finalists and they made history by winning the reining industry’s most prestigious event, the Futurity.

Doug continued his winning ways, garnering the 1991 NRHA Open Futurity Reserve Championship on Denim Jac.  That year Doug made the Open Finals top ten on all three of his horses also placing 4th on Bees Honey Jac and 6th on Top Slider.  Bees Honey Jac went on to produce 1996 NRHA Open Futurity Champion Whizard Jac.  Doug again won the NRHA Open Futurity Reserve Championship in 1992 on Fancy Jac, a great mare owned by the late Sally Brown.  Doug and Fancy Jac also won the Open Freestyle at the 1993 Congress and NRHA Futurity.  In 1993, Doug found his business at a crossroads when he was confined to the indoor arena for all but six weeks during a long Nebraska winter.  Figuring that he needed to ride outside on the track more in order to stay competitive, Doug moved his operation to Purcell, Oklahoma in the fall of 1994.

Through those commitments as well as apprenticeships, he has proudly helped many up-and-coming trainers.  He has been a mentor to talented riders such as Casey Deary, Jordan Larson, Thiago Boechat, Franco Bertolaini, Jarvis Anderson, Dave Zimmerman, Sue Waskowiak-Zimmerman, Drake Johnson, Jamie Bissel, Andy Sherrerd, Steve Ross, Ben Baldus, Mike Davis, Rich and Flis Sassella, Mary Woolsey, Eduardo Ribeiro and Jango Salgado to name a few.  Doug has continued to develop and train top reining horses, many of which have gone on to long a successful careers – both with Doug and other open and non pro riders.  He has trained standouts such as Dateline OKC, Commandalena, As Smart As Charlie, Smart Paul Olena, Whata Chic Magnet, Genuine Shinola, Shiners Shinest, Sailing Smart, Melonkali Jac, Sunrise Enterprise, Listo Pillito Lena, Durante Doc, Barflit Fritz, Catalyst Too, Catalyst Command, CB Command, A Special T, Shining Salute, Genes German Melody and many others.  You can learn more about these horse by visiting the Superstars page.

Reining is a family endeavor at Milholland Ranch, where Doug’s wife Valerie is integral in the daily operations of the business.  Doug and Valerie have been married over 45 years.  Their son Luke Milholland is an accomplished reiner and his credits include NRHA Non Pro Futurity Finalist finishes and the Tulsa Classic Intermediate Non Pro Futurity Championship.

In 2011, Luke returned to the show pen after a seven year hiatus, making the NRHA Futurity Intermediate Non Pro Finals riding Wimpysplatinumblond, a talented mare by NRHA $9 Million sire Wimpys Little Step and out of the Milholland’s super producing mare, Im Not Blonde, who has produced earners in excess of $262,000.
Daughter Brook Culwell showed reiners as a youth and has returned to the showpen after 17 years.  Brooke’s daughter Lauren continues to show in cutting with her dad, Steve Oehlhof.


Pictured above left to right: Truman, Whitney, Lauren, Brooke, David, Peyton, Weston, Jax (front), Doug, Taylor, Valerie holding Rayna, Luke, Jamie, Cully, Claire, & Christian

A Top Caliber Breeding Program

The Milholland’s are excited about the growth the reining industry is experiencing and have been building up a successful breeding program that has produced AQHA World Champions, NRHA Futurity & Derby Champions and NRHA World Champions.  Please visit the Breeding page to learn more.  Doug and Valerie extend a warm invitation to stop by if you are ever in the area.  Whether you are looking for a new horse, wish to look over the facility or discuss your future reining goals, they would love to visit with you.

On a daily basis, the Milholland’s follow this simple philosophy:
“Sometimes you need to just stop and be thankful….
For Heaven and Hope, Family and Friends, Sunshine and Rain, and Reining Horses!”