Grated Coconut - The Greatest Bareback Horse of All Time

grated coconut rodeo horse dies, bareback riding horse grated coconut, Stampede Ranch Manager Tyler Kraft

Grate Expectations

By Monique Noble 

There is a deafening silence when a living legend becomes a legend.  

The roar of fandom becomes an echo and the anticipation of a show that only they can deliver will never again radiate through the crowd. 

Such a silence was heard when rodeo icon Grated Coconut — arguably the greatest bareback horse of all time — was laid to rest at his home on the Stampede Ranch in Alberta in January 2024. 

A highly anticipated cross between bucking stock royalty, Grated Coconut was foaled in 1997 as part of the Calgary Stampede’s Born to Buck program. 

Grated Coconut made it clear from the start that he would follow in his parents’ mighty hoofprints. The huge bay stallion with power and grit to spare achieved incredible accolades throughout his career.

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Grated Co

Grated Coconut at his NFR retirement ceremony in 2010. He went on to sire over 45 foals that continue in his hoofprints including 2023 CPRA Saddle Bronc Horse Of The Year, Xplosive Skies. Photo courtesy of PCRA

“Grated,” as he was fondly known, is the most celebrated bareback horse in North America, receiving the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Bareback Horse of the Year award six times. He is also the Leading Bareback Horse in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association as a six-time winner of Bareback Horse of the Year. Among other awards, Grated has been inducted into three Rodeo Halls of Fame — the Canadian Pro Rodeo, The Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame, and the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. 

A champion that created champions, of Grated’s 114 times out of the chute, 25 bareback riders placed first including Davey Shields Jr. Shields had a world record setting a 95-point ride on Grated in 2005, a record that would not be matched for another 18 years. 

Shields fondly remembers his 2005 ride and the horse that made him a world record holder. “When he bucked and kicked, his butt would hit you in the back and want to send you over the front. When I was sitting on him waiting for my turn, he stood there like an old cow not moving, [but] when it became my turn I slid up to my rigging and it was almost like it was a switch for him to say ‘Let’s go!’ He leaves the chute real fast and kicks hard at the start. He was a special horse.” 

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A horse who knew his job, Grated did not waste energy in the chute or the arena, and once that flank strap was removed he knew his job was over and he became a gentleman. Polite to handle with industry professionals and children alike, his intelligence and amiability set him apart. Grated had an innate love of people and was an impossible ham, always happy to charm fans and pose for the camera.  

Grated Coconut Rodeo Horse

A gentle giant, Grated Coconut spent his final days at his home right by the main house at the Calgary Stampede Ranch. He is pictured with ranch manager Tyler Kraft’s daughter, Riata Kraft. Photo courtesy of Tyler Kraft

Grated Coconut spent his last years of retirement not far from Stampede Ranch Manager Tyler Kraft’s house, grazing and enjoying pampering from Tyler’s children. At 27 years old, the stallion passed away peacefully where he was born, having fulfilled his destiny. He forever improved the Born to Buck program and left a lasting legacy of prolific award-winning progeny that will continue to excite rodeo contestants and enthusiasts well into the future. 

Kraft is emphatic about Grated Coconut’s place in Stampede history. “I just don’t think there’s a way you could even measure the gratefulness we have for that stallion, not just with his success in the arena, but the lasting impact that he’s going to have on the Calgary Stampede Born to Buck program. It’s just immeasurable.”

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Main Photo: Grated Coconut and Davey Shields Jr. in their world record 95-point ride at the 2005 Calgary Stampede. Photo courtesy of Calgary Stampede

 

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