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A Horseman’s Salute: KC Branscomb to Chromatic BF’s Caregiver Pepe Rodriguez

From Chromatic BF’s first day and to his last, groom Porfirio “Pepe” Rodriguez Brisceno was by his side. For 13 years, Rodriguez cared for Chromatic and saw the U.S.-bred Oldenburg rise to the top of showjumping. The black gelding had just jumped to a podium finish in the second round of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup Final in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with rider Jill Humphrey – sitting in fifth place overall in the standings – before unexpectedly collapsing back in the stabling area. In the midst of such tragedy, breeder and owner KC Branscomb of Branscomb Farm LLC in Half Moon Bay, California, penned a tribute to Rodriguez on social media. HorseGrooms wanted to share her words honoring Rodriguez as they exemplify the respect employers should have towards their longtime grooms. Below are her words.

His is a story that deserves to be told: Pepe is all around the best horseman I have ever known. Full stop. He became my partner and mentor in caring for my horses over 30 years ago when he just magically appeared at my side to untangle a horse that had gotten hung up in my trailer. At maybe 16 or 17 years old, he was already a horse genius and amazingly generous and kind person. 

He, like so many others in that era had traveled north from Mexico barely more than a child with limited formal education,  to earn a living for his family back in Jalisco. Today he is a permanent resident here, highly respected in his community and with a wonderful family, wife Luce, two daughters Alondra and Ivana, and two rambunctious grand daughters.  

At Branscomb Farm, he manages and trains our young stallions, starts young horses along with another key employee Santos De Jesus Garcia, participates in breeding and foaling, rides our competition horses on the off days at shows, and mentors and supports a sizeable team of experienced grooming professionals as the de facto “Patron” of Branscomb Farm.  

At Branscomb Farm LLC, Pepe Rodriguez takes care of the foals to the top showjumpers and everything in between. Photos courtesy of KC Branscomb.

There are no words that can express the respect and admiration I have for this man who has built a life for himself and his family here in the USA and shown us all what true horsemanship can and should be. He loved Chromatic like a son and more importantly, Chromatic loved him unconditionally. They were inseparable from the day the colt foaled to 13 years later at the pinnacle of success he inexplicably seizured and collapsed reaching for Pepe’s strong hands to hold him up as he passed. I was there. 

When Jill and Rudi and I all escorted Pepe to the airport a few hours ago to start his very long and lonely journey home, I recognized in him the model of how we all should carry the pain of this loss: with dignity and strong resolve to accept the choices God makes and to celebrate with deep gratitude the time we were all allowed with that extraordinary animal. Regardless of how great his competition rider(s) were, Chromatic BF would never have achieved what he did without the skill and love that Pepe poured into him over his 13 years of life. Bravo mi hermano!

April 21, 2024


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