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Featuring the Area’s Finest Stallions

Reviving The Equine Dream to Virginia’s Youth Before It’s Too Late

Jousting The Real Sport of Kings

Oh Crap! Fecal Exams

A Diagnostic Technique Who’s Time Has Returned





A Virginia native, Pam Talley Stoneburner has always loved horses, capturing their beauty in portraits done in pastels, pencil, pen & ink sketches, oils, sculptures and now photography. Since graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in Animal Science, Pam has specialized in creating life-like portraits of horses and other animals. Her originals and reproductions are displayed in homes across America and abroad. Breyer Animal Creations and Red Mill Manufacturing Company commissioned Pam to do original sculptures for their model horses. Southern States Feeds and Augusta Cooperative Farm Bureau have used Pam’s artwork for their feed bags. Over the years, many t-shirt designs, greeting cards, magazine covers and decorative flags have featured the drawings and logos done by Pam. Her photos and artwork have been published in Western Horseman Magazine, several books by Tom Moates and “Starting and Running Your Own Horse Business” by Mary A. McDonald. Most recently, one of Pam’s photos was featured on the cover of Warmbloods Today magazine.

In 1985 Rob and Pam rode horses to their wedding, and horses continue to be a part of their family today. Daughters Kelly and Melody ride and train young horses, compete in endurance rides and have given riding lessons to beginners. Kelly is finishing her 4th year of Vet School at Virginia Tech. Son Paul is a Marine, and prefers deer hunting to riding horses, but occasionally trail rides in the mountains with the family. Rob’s company, Virginia Frame Builders in Fishersville constructs quality horse barns and sells building supplies and fencing materials. Pam also volunteers as an instructor for Ride With Pride Therapeutic Riding Program in Staunton and has coached the Augusta County 4-H Horse Judging Teams. With the children getting older, Pam now has a little more time to put into her artwork and photography. Currently, Pam teaches horseback riding lessons to beginner riders. Contact Pam at 540-476-3246 or email portrait@ To view or order photos taken at events online go to Pam’s Exposure Manager.


In our Last issue we missed a couple photo credits from the Maye Show Ponies Ads Ethan Maye ( E-Shots) provided the head shots and Meghan Benge the driving picture. Thanks to all the great photographers who help us present the outstanding equine of Virginia!!


The Amazing

By Emily Chetkowski

Newfoundland Ponies As long as there have been Newfoundlanders, ponies have been assisting them in their labors. As people have struggled to survive inhospitable weather, harsh conditions and a changing society, ponies have struggled to adapt to changes brought on by a modern, mechanized world. The Newfoundland settlers brought ponies over to Newfoundland that primarily influenced the development of the Newfoundland pony. These breeds were primarily the Exmoor, the Dartmoor, and the New Forest Ponies; although there was also a significant influence from the Galloway, Connemara, Welsh Mountain and Highland Ponies. The Newfoundland Pony is a landrace breed. This means that it is a localized variety of animal that forms on its own by adapting to its environment. Over 400 years, the pony adapted, learned to survive and evolved into a distinct local breed. The resultant genetically and physically diverse Newfoundland Pony can bear a resemblance to any one or more of these ancestors. Landraces are unlike modern formal breeds that are selected for certain traits to meet purebred standards set by humans, not nature. Most formal breeds originated from landraces, but due to crossbreeding, and attempts to make landraces fit formal purebred standards, few true landraces like the Newfoundland Pony, exist today. Each individual pony can bear a resemblance to one or more of their ancestors. Newfoundland Ponies are perfectly suited for the rough environment; they reflect the historical needs for an allaround, multi-purpose work animal. These hard working, and loyal ponies hauled firewood, timber, kelp and rocks for their human counterparts. They also helped to transport their owners by cart, sleigh, saddle and wagon in times before the car. These ponies have an exceptionally good temperament, a very high intelligence and the ability to survive even the harshest of winters. The ponies stand between 11 and 14.2 hands in height, can weigh from 400-900 pounds and will vary in their frames from fine, to very heavy, almost draft-like. They can come in almost every color, but bay is the most common followed by black, brown, chestnut, grey, dun and roan. Some of the roans experience what is known as “radical color changing.” This means that they can change hues every season, sometimes getting lighter and then darker and even changing color all together. They have a very thick coat, mane, and tail which is set low to block the wind. White markings are generally minimal, but some roans and chestnuts have flaxen manes and tails. There is usually a slight feathering at the fetlocks,


with relatively small, flint hard hooves. Typically the head is pony-like with deep jowls, a narrow muzzle, intelligent eyes and short, hairy ears. Newfoundland Ponies are particularly sure footed and have an ingrained “pony sense.” They are easy keepers and make excellent mounts for both children and adults. These ponies have been seen in all disciplines, often excelling under harness, working with the disabled and have been known to soar over four foot fences! In 1935, it was estimated that there were just over 9,000 Newfoundland Ponies in the island of Newfoundland. In the 1960’s the ponies were replaced by ATVs, tractors, snowmobiles and other mechanical equipment.

continued on page 10


Oh Crap! “Getting up close and personal with your horse’s manure probably isn’t your idea of a good time. But when it comes to natural equine care, regular fecal tests should be part of the regimen.” If you’re like most riders, you’re probably not terribly enthusiastic about picking through your horse’s latest gift of road apples. But like it or not, any natural horsekeeping or deworming program should include regular fecal tests. This simple test can save you money and improve your horse’s health by ensuring you don’t bomard his system with unnecessary chemicals. Fecal tests are typically not routinely recommended by local veterinarians, so it’s no surprise that many riders do not understand what this test is and what it does. 8

By Dr. Dan Moore The Natural Vet

To help us understand why this test is so important, we talked with veterinarian Dan Moore. VHL: How often should riders have a fecal test done on a healthy horse? DM: This depends on the age and condition of the horse, as well as prior fecal results. Older horses generally have fewer issues, due to a natural worm resistance that has developed over time. Young horses, especially those under three years of age, need more frequent testing. Quite often, we will deworm a young horse that appears wormy (poor hair coat, pot belly) even if no parasites are seen on the fecal exam.

As a rule of thumb, we suggest fecals be done a minimum of four times a year for adult horses. If a horse is under three, every other month is best. This schedule should be followed until there are no parasites, or until very low numbers are seen on a few consecutive samples. Then, and only then, can the time between samples be increased. It is not uncommon, even in a herd situation, to find many horses that are always negative, or almost always negative, in their worm counts. Such horses have either developed a resistant immunity, or are simply no longer being exposed to the worms. If no or very low numbers are consistently seen on fecals, you can increase the length of time between testing. Conversely, if you consistently find positive results in a horse, then test more often and consider boosting the immune system.

VHL: Are there any factors that can affect the test’s accuracy? DM: The factor with the most negative impact would be a dried out sample. If such are received at our lab, we ask for new samples to be sent. Improper labeling can also be an issue. Occasionally we will receive a “group sample”, where samples from multiple horses in the same herd were mixed together to be tested. These we refuse to test – just because there are worms present in some horses, doesn’t mean all the horses in the herd are positive. Such thinking completely disregards individual immunity and resistance. For the most part, all horses are exposed to parasites on a regular basis, but that does not mean they should be dewormed “just because”, any more than we should be treated with antibiotics every time we are exposed to the flu.


VHL: Will my veterinarian collect a sample during a routine visit or annual exam? DM: Many veterinarians will not even do fecals on horses. Unfortunately, they have bought into the misunderstanding that all horses have worms all the time. They will frequently tell their clients that fecal tests are ineffective and it is best to simply deworm on a calendar basis. This practice has led to a resistance issue, and what I refer to as “super worms”. Fortunately, this is changing, and the need and recommendation to do fecals is trickling down from parasitologists to vet schools, and finally reaching veterinarians in the field.

Understand that no test is 100% accurate, and common sense should always be used. Veterinarians and riders in general have got into the habit of deworming because the calendar says it’s time to do so, without considering the negative consequences. Resistant “super worms” are being created by such practices, and the immune system and general health of the horse may be threatened. All one has to do is listen to a pharmaceutical commercial on TV to remember that all drugs have some consequence. This common sense seems to have been forgotten when it comes to traditional deworming recommendations. VHL: How should one go about collecting a fecal sample from a horse? DM: Collecting a sample is as simple as picking up a small amount of fecal material and putting it in a sealed bag. Ziploc type bags work well, and even work as a glove if turned inside out while picking up the sample. Properly label the bag with your horse’s name, your name, address, and date of collection. The sooner you get the sample to your veterinarian, the better. However, we frequently have samples mailed from as far away as Hawaii. These may take a week or more to arrive by first class mail. As long as the sample has been sealed properly and has not dried out, we can get great results.

VHL: What process does a fecal test typically follow? DM: At our practice, we do a fecal flotation test that concentrates any eggs. We have a veterinary microbiologist review the samples – it is important to have someone who frequently does fecal exams to do the testing. Equine samples are much more difficult to read than dog or cat fecals. VHL: What worms, if any, may not be visible in a sample? DM: Tapeworms, bots, and parasites that are migrating through tissue (encysted larvae) may not show up.


Oh Crap! Continued from page 09 VHL: How do you interpret test results? DM: A positive test indicates that worms are present. Generally, if we find more than two or three eggs per slide, we suggest deworming. Of course, we suggest a more natural approach over chemical dewormers. VHL: If a worm overload is discovered, and the horse is dewormed, should he have another fecal test done afterwards? DM: Yes. I would suggest a follow-up in three to four weeks. Any deworming program, whether chemical, natural or combined, should include regular fecal tests for each individual horse. These tests are easily done and relatively inexpensive. Best of all, they can Newfoundland Ponies Continued from page 06 Healthy numbers existed well into the 1970’s and early 1980’s. After that, the population dropped dramatically due to a number of factors; mechanization, by-laws restricting free roaming and the encouragement of gelding. As

a result, thousands of unwanted Newfoundland Ponies went to the meat trade, unbeknownst to their owners who often believed that they went to loving homes. As of June 2005, there were 307 Newfoundland Ponies registered with the Newfoundland Pony Society. The Newfoundland Pony Society was founded in 1979 and incorporated in 1981; they have worked hard for the preservation of the pony in a few ways. 1. Established a registry to record Newfoundland Ponies. 2. Distribute information and publications. 3. Promoted the Heritage Animals Act of Newfoundland and Labrador and was eventually recognized as the organization to oversee the Newfoundland Pony. Since being recognized as the overseer of the breed, the society is authorized to: 1. Define those characteristics that identify the Newfoundland Pony 2. Maintain the legal registry. 3. To advise governments regarding the future of the pony. 4. To be involved in the restriction of pony exports for non-legitimate purposes. 5. Generally support the needs of the pony. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador passed the


save you money in unnecessary deworming products, and enhance your horse’s health and longevity. Heritage Animals Act to support the work of the NPS and to recognize the Newfoundland Pony as an important part of the heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador. The pony was the first animal recognized under the act and it stands alone as the foremost symbol of the settlers’ struggle to survive a history of hard work and barren landscapes. The story of the Newfoundland is the story of Newfoundlanders; they evolved together. The NPS continues to work with the Newfoundland and Labrador departments of agriculture as well as pony owners to protect and preserve the breed. Currently, the pony is being bred across Canada and there are also a small number of ponies in the United States. About 53% of the registered ponies reside in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Pony is recognized as critically endangered by Rare Breeds Canada, The American Livestock and Breed Conservancy and Equus Survival Trust. Too few ponies are being born annually and the population is divided. The majority of the ponies outside of Newfoundland and Labrador are located in Nova Scotia and Ontario. The NPS is firmly committed to strengthening the numbers in order to secure a future for this historical equine, while being aware that the conservation of this genetically diverse, distinct, landrace pony, as is, can help secure the future of the species. If you would like to find out more about these wonderful ponies check out for the Newfoundland Pony Society, for Villi Poni Farm, a Newfoundland Pony Sanctuary. Keep your eyes out for the Newfoundland Pony at the Rare Breeds Shows, they may be few in numbers, but they definitely make an impression, once you have met one!

Southern Equine Expo Presented by Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment

February 14-16, 2014

Tennessee Miller Coliseum, Murfreesboro, Tennessee 2014 Southern Equine Expo Line-up

Chris Cox

Dick Pieper

Michael Jack Tami Brainard Crawford Tokaruk

Liz Johnson

Miranda Lyon

Lisa Wysocky

Mark Lyon

Joe Harper

Chase Dodd

Heather Johnson

Charlene Carter

Carrie Martin

2014 Highlights Large Variety of Vendors Live Demonstrations Youth Ranch Challenge Blacksmithing Competitions Educational Seminars Parade of Breeds

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When I was in elementary school, our librarian, Mrs. Douglas, had Morgans, which she drove in carriage competitions. One of the high points of my young life was being invited to be her groom, riding on the back of the carriage and heading the horse while it was being judged. I wore old-fashion breeches and boots, a tweed hacking jacket and a derby hat that was about 2 sizes too big. To make it fit, Mrs. Douglas loaned me one of her wigs. By the time I was in high school, I had a couple of after-school jobs with various trainers, working afternoons and weekends in exchange for lessons. This was by no means a rarity (well, maybe except for the wig). It seems that during my youth, (back in the Dark Ages before video games, cell phones and the need for multi-million dollar liability insurance coverage), “barn rats” were as common as $1.50 bales of good hay. I’m not talking about unwelcome gray rodents, but rather the kids who swarmed to barns by the thousands to muck, clean tack, hot walk and do any other tedious task in exchange for lessons, riding time, or just the privilege of working around horses. Laura Batts, former hunter barn owner and now children’s book author and equine environmental educator, shared her experience when asked if she was a barn rat growing up. “YES, after school everyday, dropped off at 8 and stayed ’til 5 every weekend. Some weekends even spending the night with friends in an extra stall.”

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Alison Head, president of Virginia Dressage Association and owner of Looking Glass Farm in Hamilton, VA, had a different experience growing up, but she still found a way to become involved with horses. “ No I was not really a barn rat growing up. I lived in Manhattan, had parents that didn’t like horses much and so did the best I could to spend time, but never enough. I did go to horse camp from 12 - 15, and by the time I was 16 I had a trainer in NJ and would take the bus and often spend weekends at the barn and staying with whoever


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would have me. I worked at the barn when I could, and learned to braid for money to pay my show fees.”

Though our individual experiences varied, we had one thing in common - we all had “The Dream”. The Dream may have been as different for each of us as our fingerprints, but it always revolved around one thing - horses. Riding horses, showing horses, grooming horses, cleaning up after horses, petting horses or just watching horses - as long as horses were the central focus, we were living The Dream. Now, leaders of Pony Club, 4-H and other equine youth groups are worried about declining numbers. Lori Pickett, Regional Supervisor for the Old Dominion Region of the United States Pony Club shares statistics for her Region. “In 2009 we had 250 members in the region with 18 clubs and one Riding Center.


We have had a steady decline since 2010. This year we had around 169 members and are down to 12 clubs and 1 Riding Center (a different Riding Center from the one in 2009 as the other one closed). So since 2009 we have discontinued 6 clubs.” Batts saw the same trend in the Virginia 4-H program. “I recently did a book signing at the VA State 4-H finals. The show’s numbers were way down. I spoke to some club leaders and they reported that clubs have as few as 4-5 members and that some clubs have had to combine to keep it viable.” Show entries have fallen and barn aisles are quieter. Where have all these kids gone? Have they lost The Dream? If so, what can we do to help them revive it? Where are the kids, and why aren’t they at the barn? To answer the where and why questions, all you need to do is look around. Here are some of the things you may notice (in no particular order): ◆ Soccer games - and flute lessons, ballet lessons, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, rock climbing walls, miniature golf - you get the point. There are innumerable activities competing for the time and attention of kids today. ◆ Busy parents - There is only so much time, energy and money to spend on kids’ activities when your own day may include a long commute, 8 − 12 hours of work and your own soccer games and rock climbing. After, of course, you finish the grocery shopping, bill paying, laundry and yard work. ◆ Accessibility - Not all kids have a stable within a reasonable distance. Farm land is shrinking and our culture is shifting away from rural lifestyles and the activities that go with that lifestyle. ◆ Money - The elephant in the room. Horse sports are not cheap. ◆ Liability - The other elephant in the room, perhaps an offspring of the money elephant. Between the cost of taxes, Worker’s Comp and multimillion dollar liability policies, it’s incredibly expensive for barns to legitimately hire teens or have barn rats hanging out after school and on weekends. And if you think insurance is expensive, you certainly don’t want to calculate the costs of a lawsuit. ◆ Digital life - video games, cell phones, You-


Tube, texting, friending and following. As we all connect digitally, we tend to disconnect in reality. Lets break it down - first up, busy kids. Kids have more activities available to them today than 40, or even 10 years ago. A visit to has listings such as “Teens - 23 Cool Places!” and “Grade Schoolers - 20 Cool Places!” These links take you to the sites for such diverse activities as year round snow boarding, water parks, art tours, motor sports, space flight adventure camp, and indoor blacklight mini golf. Head agrees. “I do think that there is a lot more competing for kids’ time and parents’ money - all the other sports and activities that they seem to feel must be on the resume or they won’t get into college. I don’t remember any of that growing up - I did one thing only - horses - and still managed to get into a good college and law school. I think it’s unfortunate that kids are not allowed to get really good at one thing that they love.” The sentiment is echoed by Pickett. “I have seen a trend for many years now for kids to be involved in many different activities. Instead of doing one or two things well they are trying to do too many things and cannot do any of them well as they cannot devote enough time to do any of them well so then they eventually lose interest if they cannot keep up with their peers.” Busy parents - The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies has some sobering statistics: Currently, 71.3 percent of women with children are in the labor force. Along with that, the number of single parent families in the US doubled between 1970 and 1990. Between jobs, the multitude of activities required to keep a household - especially one with children, running smoothly, and any bits of free time carved out for themselves; parents often can’t entertain the idea of taking their offspring to the local stable. Batts comments, “I think if kids are forced to choose they will choose an activity that they know their parents can support both financially and physically (time).” Accessibility - Even when parents do find the time to taxi kids to the barn, it’s getting harder in a lot of communities to find a barn. Although Virginia is

listed as 12th highest among states in horse population, the human population is gravitating more toward suburban and urban living, and farmland is shrinking. In the Cool Places pages, unless you count the petting zoos and a few colonial life centers, there are no horse activities to be found. Many of those waterparks and mini golf places are built where farms used to exist. Pickett agrees. “Lack of equestrian facilities and pasture land due to development which equals less opportunities for kids to be involved in equestrian sport.” Money - When parents or older kids are able to find a barn close enough to visit regularly, the cost of participation in horse sports can be prohibitive. Regular lessons can cost as much as a car payment; and board, combined with the other expenses associated with horse ownership, make this dream out of reach for many families. Parents who are also concerned about college costs have yet another reason to avoid horse activities. Pickett notes, “Non-horsey parents would rather their child participate in a sport where they might be able to get a college scholarship.”



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For barn owners, the expenses are also huge. Rent or mortgage, feed, vet and blacksmith bills, maintenance, marketing and labor costs all add up. And then there’s the issue of insurance - workers’ comp, property and liability. Liability - In our litigious society, things that were once considered part of a normal childhood are now fodder for lawsuits. Ads for personal injury lawyers pepper our local TV channels and radio stations.


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Despite liability laws designed to protect barn owners

from frivolous lawsuits, the cost of insurance can be very high. In the past, barns often traded labor for reduced board costs, lessons, or just time in the saddle. If you want to try that now, you’d better check with a good tax attorney first. Deciding to limit your coverage or take shortcuts with your employment records could mean the loss of your farm. Either way, it’s an expensive proposition. Digital life - If the litigious nature of our culture has a lot to do with limiting opportunities, then the digital entertainment options have a lot to do with limiting desire. Market research by the NPD Group indicates that 91% of kids ages 2 − 17 play video games, and the fastest growth of gamers is in the 2 − 5 year old population. When kids aren’t gaming, they may be tweeting, texting, friending, following or even looking for horse related apps for their smart phones. We are a technologically connected world, and kids are logging in at an amazing pace. How can we help them revive The Dream? While it may not be possible to change the direction the world is headed in terms of working parents, economic instability and shrinking farmland; we do have some options. One of the most useful for individuals, horse businesses and organizations to embrace is better marketing. I’m not necessarily talking slick glossy ads or new apps, (although they have their place), but a more organic, grassroots approach. Pickett sees the lack of effective marketing directly affecting the decisions of parents. “We don’t do a very good job of extolling the benefits of the sport. The mission statement of USPC is ‘The United States Pony Clubs, Inc., develops character, leadership, confidence and a sense of community in youth through a program that teaches the care of horses and ponies, riding and mounted sports.’ It is not just about riding but about creating confident, responsible leaders. The lessons they learn in the stable and in the saddle will help them be better problem solvers, better team players, better communicators. I have seen this happen with my pony clubbers time and time again but we just don’t market these benefits very well. Pony Club is the best youth equestrian organization in the world and if the parents only realized that they were not just giving them a leg up in the saddle but a leg up in life by offering them this experience then we might start seeing a rise rather then a decline in membership… Parents are all about giving their kids an advantage in life and helping them to succeed.” Marketing equine involvement can take many forms. For barn owners and other equine professionals - host an open barn day. There is often free advertising to be had in the


form of Public Service Announcements on local radio and TV stations. Work with your local Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop or reach out to home schooling families. From Pickett: “Work harder with the public and private school systems to recognize equestrian athletes. Continue to try and preserve our rural lands and educate the public about the benefits of conservation.” Head suggests: “Get them to top events to watch to see what is possible. I know growing up in NYC I would sneak into the National Horse Show and watch the riders like Rodney Jenkins schooling and I was hooked. Big posters on my walls, the whole thing. I think they need good role models (and good teachers) so they progress. Being good at something makes you more likely to stick with it.” Head’s suggestion is great for individuals who want to encourage a few kids, but may not have the means to actually get them in the saddle. Invite a family you know to a horse show at a local barn, or take them to watch a couple of riding lessons. Involve the parents so they can see first hand the rewards of horse activities for their kids. Speak with the leaders of your local 4-H, United States Pony Club or other organization and see what outreach materials there are for the community. Building the future together Dedi Spradlin, Youth Committee Chair of the Virginia Horse Council, sums it up nicely, “Whether there are 200 or 20000 youth, the task of educating the next generation is a serious one…What we, as the senior equestrians of the Commonwealth can do to encourage Virginia’s youth is be willing to take the time and accept the responsibility of acting as representatives of the horse industry in Virginia. We need to be role models for the next generation, to

become familiar with different aspects of the industry, from riding to driving, from showing to trail riding, from veterinary care to nutrition, from barn construction to pasture establishment and be willing to share our knowledge with the Commonwealth’s youth.” The future of kids’ involvement with horses ultimately rests with us, the parents, instructors, 4-H and Pony Club leaders and friends of those kids. Our days are already full, but the few minutes it might take to answer a question or let someone pet your horse could just be the key that opens the door to a lifetime of horses. Find a few minutes today, share your dream, and build the future. Together, we can revive The Dream.

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By Amanda Micciche 20

The Real Sport Of Kings

What do you consider to be the true “sport of kings�? Many in today’s day and age consider horse racing to be the sport of kings. However, throughout the Middle Ages jousting changed the path of history. This event conjures images of knights in shining armor, fair ladies and above all else, the joust. Ordinary citizens attended jousting tournaments to get away from the everyday struggles that they face. Meanwhile, royalty used the joust as a way of displaying the power of their kingdom through their knights, or sometimes themselves. For most of the participants, this was a way to relax, compete and hone their skills for war. Like every sport, jousting went through many changes. It began as nothing more than a brawl in open fields with no rules or regulations. Slowly, throughout the years, the joust became an organized tournament with rules and regulations, making it a main attraction. No one is really sure of when the first jousting tournament took place, but it is believed that it may have taken place in approximately 842 between Louis the German and Charles the Bald. Since there are no earlier accounts have been found, these games, called the Horsemanship Games, are recognized as the first tournament that ever occurred. The earliest tournaments were primitive, no rules, often completely destroying the area in which it occurred. Formal areas were later established to keep towns from getting demolished.


As the sport grew in the 1100’s the Catholic Church took notice and they did not approve of the new sport. They viewed it as brutal and bloodthirsty, even as rules were created and it became more civilized. In an attempt to discourage participation, they threatened knights with excommunication and denial of Christian burial if they were killed in a tournament. The threat was not strictly enforced and knights who died in tournaments were often given a burial. However, in the event that it was enforced it often left the family pleading with the church to get their dead family member a proper burial. The church would generally give in as long as the rest of the family swore to never participate in the tournaments again. Many times throughout the growth of the sport, the pope issued a ban on jousting which could lead to a knight or a king getting excommunicated. However, kings would often issue permits allowing tournaments to take place. During the renaissance, there were two spectator sports; archery and jousting. These sports were basically created by using original weapons of war. During the 100 years war, the French and English would actually call temporary truces to hold jousting tournaments. During one of these tournaments, over 60 knights died, which was not supposed to happen. The sport continued to grow and eventually spread to England. The first tournament appeared under the reign of King Stephen, who was known for not having control over his kingdom. Under the reign of Henry I and Henry II, jousting was banned and it forced knights who wanted to participate in the joust to go overseas to France. When King Stephen took the throne in 1135 the ban was still in effect, but since King Stephen had little to no control over the kingdom, knights held tournaments all over England. The first casualty of these tournaments was Hugh Mortimer in 1140. The ban continued until 1194 when King Edward enacted a law giving the government control over the


tournaments. His primary goal was to make money. Your fee to participate was based on your rank in society; the higher your rank, the higher the price to participate. In order to regulate these tournaments, he created five places where they were allowed to occur and banned all other areas. This new regulation allowed the tournament to flourish in England. Jousting was used in warfare until the 1480’s with the invention of the Pike. The Pike was basically a long pole approximately 18 feet long with a metal spear-head on the end that was used to defend infantry from cavalry. It would kill the horse or the rider before the jouster could even get close enough to drop his lance. Pikes were used by foot soldiers well into the 1700s. There is a lot of equipment involved with jousting. Since we have already said that spectator sports developed out of weapons of war,

Sir Barchan

then much of the equipment used would also be used on the battlefield. The most basic piece of equipment is the lance. The lance is essentially a piece of straight, smooth wood that is pointed at the end. It could be made out of any type of wood, but soft woods were and still are more common so it would be easier to break and score points. In order to increase the participants’ safety in the 14th century, a vamplate was added to protect the users arm. Early jousters used standard battlefield armor, which was a chainmail shirt. It was not until the beginning of the 13th century that plate armor started to be used, and is still used today. Horses were not armored until the third quarter of the 13th century, but trappings, or kingdom colors were common earlier. The 14th century started to bring specialized equipment for jousting. The first armor made specifically for jousting was made in 1391 for Sir Bartholomew Burghersh. This armor was much more protective than battlefield armor, but it did hamper movement much more than the battlefield armor. This is really not an issue for jousting, because movement is not a major ability needed during the joust itself. By 1330, jousters no longer used blunted lances, instead, lances were tipped with coronals which are blunt metal tips used to increase safety. Shields had developed to be flat and triangular with the knight’s heraldry (or colors) on the front as well as matching surcoats and trappings. The arena in which the joust took place also underwent changes as the tournament continued to evolve. The first jousting arenas had few defined boundaries and were often just an open field. Over time, official areas for the joust were created, partially due to the buildings that were becoming necessary and the preparation now needed. There was now a need for spectator seating, galleries for lords and ladies as well as feasting halls which are expensive to continuously rebuild. The ground would have to have a thick layer of sand to soften the fall of the knights if they were dismounted. There was also protection for the spectators created to prevent the horses from jumping over it and into the audience. There was also a barrier, called a

tilt, which was added between the two jousters in the 1400s to help prevent the horses from colliding into each other while the knights were charging. So how do you train for the joust? Even today, knights use some of the same training methods and games. The two most popular were the quintain and running at the rings. Each focused on the skills that the knights used in order to win a tournament. There were two different types of quintain; the pell quintain and the spinning quintain. The pell quintain focused on perfecting the knight’s aim, ability to stay steady in the saddle after impact and discarding a broken lance properly. The spinning quintain would actually punish the player if they did not hit the target correctly by hitting the knight in the back. Running at the ring was a later practice method that was created to perfect other essential jousting skills. The objective is to run at the ring and grab the ring with the end of the lance. . This helped the knight practice their precision with hitting targets. Obviously, the ability to aim and hit targets is a very important skill for a knight to have during a joust.

continued on page 25


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Jousting, The Real Sport of Kings continued from page 23 Some present day sayings that came from jousting: • Full tilt-when a knight would drop his lance into “full tilt” it meant he was running at full speed and his lance was pointed straight out at the other knight. • Free-lance-a knight was always accompanied by his entourage, or lance, which was loyal to his king and if the king or liege died, he was considered to be “Free-lance.” • Crestfallen-knights wore crests on their helmets during ground fighting and when the crest would fall during battle, they were “crestfallen.” • Chivalry-although commonly thought that chivalry means gentlemanly, it really means nothing more than “on horseback” not on the ground. By the 1600s when the Americas were founded, jousting was passé, mostly due to the rise of firearms. As tactics changed in warfare, so did the sport. Jousting at rings was very popular to raise money for soldiers at war. In the 1800s there were a few attempts at tournaments and then again in the 1900s. It was not until

1920 that there was a jousting tournament held in Bruxelles. This was a historical tournament because it marked the beginning of modern jousting. You can actually see some of the footage on YouTube here: When we talk about modern jousting, there are two different types. There is theatrical jousting which is meant to just put on a good show, and then there is combat jousting, where participants can be knocked off the horse. In the 1960s there was a demand for jousting at a renaissance fair, so the Hanlon-Lees Circus Troup started jousting. The Hanlon-Lees Circus Troup was the dominant force in jousting throughout the 1970’s. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the emergence of full-contact, full armor, knock off the horse jousting came into the public eye. In 1988 the first full-armor, full-contact jousting tournament was held. As of 1991, jousting in Renaissance festivals became full contact combat jousting. By 1993, there was a circuit of competitive tournaments in Loxahatchee, TX, Annapolis, MD and Canada. Tennessee has taken over the spot of Texas, but there is still a competitive circuit.

continued on page 30


Through The Lens of

Jillian Chilson



Trainer’s Corner

Elise Bishop By Amanda Micciche

USDF Bronze Medalist “The foundations of Dressage are great because they focus on building rider and horse balance.”

“Every milestone and every small goal is important; it’s how the student progresses that is important.”

“It is extremely cool when [the horse] knows the plan and becomes a partner not just a mount.”



or the second Trainer’s corner I chose to highlight my current trainer. For our first issue, I highlighted a former trainer of mine. I am currently making my transition from the hunter/ jumper world into the eventing world. I have done cross country and I have done show jumping, my one weak spot is the dressage. When I was looking for a trainer to work with, I found Elise by accident. As with most horse people, I am “horse poor.” I saw an advertisement on a Facebook forum for a working student, and I answered the ad. Elise was the trainer I met with and now work for and train with. Elise’s mom rode dressage on and off when she was young and like most young girls I fell in love. The visions of a horse dancing on front of you as a child can be entrancing, a rider and horse in perfect harmony. Elise’s mom finally let her start riding at age 10 and put her in dressage lessons. She was hooked. As a young rider, she worked her way up, working in Colorado, California, New York, Florida and finally, Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Enduring long 12-15 hour days under some trainer’s watchful eye, Elise has definitely paid her dues. She has studied with some of the very best trainers in the world, including Eric Chalamet and Jean Francois Favier, both from the elite Cadre De Noir in France. Elise has her USDF Bronze Medal and is working toward her Silver Medal, going for the Gold. Every trainer has their view of the “perfect” mount, or “perfect horse.” In her eyes the most rewarding part of training/riding is feeling your horse build confidence and trust through the work. “It is extremely cool when [the horse] knows the plan and

becomes a partner not just a mount.� Elise loves working with her students, of all ages and levels to achieve their goals, that is what she finds most rewarding about teaching dressage, whether it is a big goal or a small goal. Every milestone and every small goal is important; it’s how the student progresses that is important. Elise hit a huge milestone last December; the farm she now trains at Castle Farm Andalusians finished their brand new facility. They are now up and running with a beautiful indoor ring and sixteen stalls. Since she is new to the area, she has had the challenge of building a good word of mouth and building a client base. Elise has had a great start and now has a great base of clients along with a supportive farm/barn owner. She focuses on the importance of being balance and having effective aides, no matter the style of riding. Elise teaches hunter/jumper riders, eventers, jumpers and strictly dressage riders and she focuses on the basics with all of them. In her free time, she is playing with her puppies (both rescues) or relaxing on the beach. continued on the next page


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Elise suggests that anyone looking to get into dressage should look around to see who is in their area and go sit in on a lesson. She thinks dressage can help everyone in any discipline. “The foundations of Dressage are great because they focus on building rider and horse balance.” So she definitely encourage everyone to give it a try (many farms even offer western dressage, so don’t let that stop you). If you are interested in finding out more, Castle Farm is a full service boarding facility. They breed and sell PRE Andalusians. Their focus is on dressage and providing and upscale facility with a relaxed fun learning environment. As of right now, they don’t have any events planned and are still settling into the new facility. We do plan on having clinics and shows on a regular basis so check out their website at and their Facebook page Castle Farm Andalusians for updates on upcoming events. should look around to see who is in their area and go sit in on a lesson. She thinks dressage can help everyone in any discipline. The foundations are great because it focuses on building rider and horse balance. So she definitely encourage everyone to give it a try (many farms even offer western dressage, so don’t let that stop you). If you are interested in finding out more, Castle Farm is a full service boarding facility. They breed and sell PRE Andalusians. Their focus is on dressage and providing and upscale facility with a relaxed fun learning environment. As of right now, they don’t have any events planned and are still settling into the new facility. We do plan on having clinics and shows on a regular basis so check out their website at and their Facebook page Castle Farm Andalusians for updates on upcoming events.

The Real Sport of Kings continued from page 25 I was very lucky to sit down with Sir Barchan, an amateur jouster who is the oldest combat jouster on the circuit at 63 years young. Barchan participates in about two tournaments per year in Maryland and Tennessee. He was able to answer all of my questions and then more. For example, there are two different types of jousting practiced today. There is actual combat jousting seen at renaissance and Celtic festivals in the United States, and then there is the type that the Europeans practice, which is more about pageantry and re-creating history. The Europeans use a three foot

long balsa wood tip that is about ¾ inch thick which breaks easier, breaks flat and is less expensive to replace. This makes the jousting less painful, less war like and the jouster will not be unseated. Barchan told me that he participated in a tournament in Europe and “couldn’t even feel the lance break” which is due to the balsa wood tip. He prefers the U.S. style of combat jousting, even if it means he might be unseated or walk away with bumps, bruises, cuts and scratches. Here are some of the basic rules of modern combat jousting: • Your reins are always held in your left hand and your lance in your right. • You are allowed four

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passes. • You can fall off, but you must get back on within two minutes. • Lances are made of solid pine or fir of approximately 1.25” in diameter. • You always drop your reins when you drop your lance to avoid pulling your horse down. • You get points in a tournament for breaking your lance, striking the opposing knight in his grand guard (the shoulder plate that is on the knight’s left shoulder), or for any direct strike that unseats your opponent. • Points are deducted if a knight hits another knight low or in the head, if any action is aimed to injure the horse or for any unsportsmanlike conduct. • When preparing hold lance upright and when charging, drop gradually. How do you learn to joust? Well, it starts with a basic knowledge of western riding, encouraging a deep seat and the reins in the left hand. Reverie Stables in Pasadena, MD has trained a majority of the knights of the

Maryland Renaissance Festival. Once you have the riding down, the rest is just “details.” Details like the 90-100+ pounds of armor that you have to wear, being able to control a lance about 12 feet long and riding a horse at the same time. Sounds easy right? Barchan became interested in jousting in college at the University of Maryland when he joined the fencing club. His club engaged in Medieval Reenactments and had a Medieval Militia. When he did a reenactment of the Battle of Hastings, he took an interest in the renaissance period. The university club grew and split into three areas of interest, Viking Ship, Stick Fighting and Equestrian. Barchan went the equestrian route. He learned to ride in 1982, by 1984 he bought his own horse and by 1988 he was jousting at Renaissance fairs with professionals. Barchan has been a judge at the world championships, twice, he was involved with the show Full Metal Jousting (apparently there is a drinking game called “Spot Barchan.”), and was knighted for his horse jumping stunts, in which a horse jumps over an upside down Barchan.


When It’s Time to Say Goodbye


ooner or later anyone that owns or cares for horses is confronted with the issue of euthanasia. In our fantasies, horses grow old and one day lie down in their green pasture take a nap and never wake up. Unfortunately, reality is usually VERY different. Death is very hard for most of us to accept and can be even more heart wrenching when you have to become involved in the decision process. Often medical, behavioral or economic issues come into play. The decision to euthanize a horse shouldn’t be taken lightly. Each case is individual and should be considered by owner and veterinarian very carefully. It is a decision that I personally have had to make several times as a horse owner. It can be emotionally exhausting and never easy to say goodbye to your friend and partner. Hopefully this can provide a guide to making an agonizing decision a little less painful. Four situations where you and your veterinarian may consider euthanasia are: *Chronic disease or an incurable injury *Hopeless prognosis for recovery i.e.: inoperable colic or development of a disease such as encephalitis, equine infectious anemia or rabies *Behavioral issues that make a horse dangerous to other animals and people *A horse that will require pain medication for the remainder of life to alleviate suffering


Most horses as they age begin to require more specialized care, often more feed, veterinary care, specialized shoeing and other additional maintenance. Sometimes, there are incredible burdens of time and money taking care of an old or infirm animal especially a 1000-1500 pound one. Often well-meaning but uneducated people let some care slide for their senior citizen. Even a young horse can sustain a catastrophic injury or become irreparably ill. Economics often play into the decision. Expensive surgeries and lengthy rehab isn’t financially possible for everyone or every horse, sometimes for reasons of economics or logistics euthanasia can be a humane alternative. No one likes to believe that it can happen, but it does every day all the time. A young healthy horse falls and breaks his leg, severely colic or contracts an untreatable disease. Despite careful management and regular veterinary care accidents DO happen. Often euthanasia is the only option in some of these cases. In many instances it is the only choice. Every horse owner needs to have a plan for catastrophic injury. Do you have the financial resources to operate? Do you have the time and an appropriate place to rehab afterward? If the 26 year old retiree colic, is surgery an option? Knowing the answer to these questions makes decision making a little easier if something does occur. Euthanasia can be an appropriate choice for an un-

By Rebecca Pizmoht

manageable or dangerous animal. Simply put, there are some horses that have dangerous behaviors, or have been mistreated and are unable to be rehabilitated. If you are unable to provide a safe and stable environment it is kinder to humanely dispose of these animals before they get passed from person to person and possibly end up bound for slaughter or in an abusive or neglectful situation. Even after professional training some behavioral issues can remain that make a horse dangerous to himself and his handlers. Most times the decision isn’t quite so clear. When you deal with an equine senior citizen, the lines are often blurry. Even if you have a strong relationship with your veterinarian, you can seek their advice, but ultimately the decision rests on you as the owner or caretaker. You have to ask yourself the important question; am I prolonging my horse’s suffering because I don’t want to let go? Anytime a horse suffers from a chronic condition that impairs motion and effects quality of life euthanasia is a possibility. If a horse is struggling with getting up and down, has trouble passing manure or urine or has stopped eating or drinking these are all clues as to the animals overall wellbeing that may hint that the time has come. After you have made the decision, there are a few important considerations to take care of. You need to plan for disposal of your horse’s body. Burial, com-

posting, cremation and pick up by a renderer or zoo are all possible options. If you choose burial, first make sure that it is a viable option in your municipality. Some towns require a permit. Regardless, if you choose this option you must have enough space where the body can be buried at least four feet deep and away from electric, gas lines well or septic. Also you will need to have access to backhoe (and a backhoe operator). For composting, a large compost pile is necessary as well as access to a backhoe or large tractor. You simply cannot compost a body as large as a horse in the neighbors leaf pile. Some townships actually provide access to large compost heaps for disposal of livestock. Cremation is another option. It typically costs between $600- $2000 per animal, dependent on their size. For this option, you need to arrange transport which can add to the expense. In many areas, rendering plants will pick up carcass of horses and other livestock. The bodies are used for production of ingredients used in soap, glue, solvents and fertilizers. These plants will pick up deceased animals for a fee, usually between $50-$300. Zoos or kennels will sometimes take a horses body, but with a few stipulations.


The horse cannot have been receiving medications and has to be euthanized with a gun or captive bolt as the barbiturate compounds for lethal injection would make the meat toxic. That said, it is imperative to have the body taken care of as soon as possible. Both domestic and wild animals will often nibble at a horse’s carcass. If the horse has been euthanized by injection that can often prove fatal. There have been cases of dogs being poisoned by just licking blood around a euthanized horse.(I actually owned one lucky dog…she spent 2 days in an afterhours emergency clinic , and lived for another 9 years! ) If your horse has a transmittable disease, disposal options can be limited. A rendering plant might not take them and burial should be far away from other livestock. Plan your goodbyes ahead of time. If you are uncertain about whether or not to be there, arrange for a horse knowledgeable friend to help. Horses can react differently to euthanasia drugs and have been known to run off or fall suddenly. It is therefore important to have an experienced handler who is able to move quickly. If your horse is insured, the company might have very


specific guidelines. Insurance companies often require a second veterinary opinion. Make sure that you have spoken with your agent and are clear on the company policy. Some will deny a claim if all protocol isn’t followed to the letter of the law. Deciding to part with a trusted partner and friend isn’t easy. It may be one of the most difficult choices that a responsible owner or caretaker faces. Proper preparation can ease some unnecessary pain and heartache. As with almost any horse ownership decision, a little bit of forethought and planning will prevent some ghoulish and horrifying pitfalls. The decision to end a treasured companion’s life is probably one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. Sometimes it is one of the kindest and most responsible decisions that you will make. Authors note: No matter how many times you have been through this, some part of you is never ready to say goodbye. Just recently, my husband and I discussed the possibility of euthanasia for our 29 year old gelding. We were planning a lengthy move into a colder climate and weren’t sure whether Pickle would be up to the trip or a major change in living accommodations. We went back and forth about whether he would or wouldn’t be comfortable and happy. Our veterinarian worked along with us as we debated the idea. As we were making our plans, another of our horses sustained a catastrophic injury in the pasture at the same time our moving plans fell through. While I had become somewhat prepared for “life after Pickle”, I was totally unprepared to face the possibility of losing Dennis. Despite the fact that Dennis was younger and totally healthy, he sustained an unfixable tendon injury. We decided that the very slight chance of recovery after prolonged stall rest was not a fair gamble for a horse that hated being cooped up. Dennis was euthanized in late October and buried with a few of his old pasture buddies. Because we ended up not moving very far, Pickle continues to hang with his equally geriatric pals and enjoy his hot mushy food three times a day. Someone up there was looking out for me because I don’t think I could have dealt with losing both of them at the same time.


By Rebecca Pizmoht

Tad Coffin Performance Saddlery Tad Coffin is a horseman first and a saddle maker second. The Olympic gold medalist has taken his passion for horses and adapted it into a career as a premier saddle maker. In the mid 1970’s Coffin and Bally Cor achieved remarkable success, winning both individual and team gold medals at the1975 Pan American Games in Mexico and the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. After Montreal, he developed a teaching and training business. His interest in saddle design was sparked when Miller’s Harness asked him to design and endorse an all-purpose saddle for event riders, the Crosby Lexington TC. Later in the 1980’s he again teamed up with Miller’s and Crosby to produce a close contact saddle, the Crosby Equilibrium. Fascinated with the concept of saddles and performance, Coffin researched and carefully developed his own product and company. Today, his business, Tad Coffin Performance Saddlery of Ruckersville is on the cutting edge of English saddle design.


Tad Coffin Performance Saddlery is a unique business; the saddle manufacture and design is housed in one part of a stable. Coffin has been at this location since 1992. Research and manufacture takes place at one end but at the other end of the barn are Tad’s testers, a group of horses who are ”quite average” but sensitive. The horses receive top notch care and regular riding from Coffin. Every potential change, no matter how small is tested by trial on the five horses while Coffin carefully notes details in their manner and performance. For the past thirty years, Coffin has made an effort to treat the saddle as equipment in the same way that athletes in other Olympic disciplines treat their gear. Virtually every year improvements are made in running shoes or ski equipment that effect performance.

Tad Coffin founded his business on the belief that the saddle is the key to improving horse/rider relationships and that improvements in design will help horses and riders perform at a higher level. Until Tad Coffin, the art of saddle making had remained much the same since ancient times. Coffin has taken his core ideas and modeled his saddle and business on these beliefs. He has taken the drive and determination that produced an Olympic gold to chase his ideals of function and comfort in saddles. He focuses on” the effort of discovery” and truly believes in his vision to “bring joy to the horse and rider relationship in an authentic way.” The four core beliefs that have spurred the research and development of Tad Coffin Performance Saddles are: 1. The saddle has the most untapped potential to improve components of equine performance, relaxation, rhythm, freedom, style, soundness and longevity. 2. All horses backs are conformed differently but horses that are “going well” have a commonality of motion and gesture that is universal across disciplines. 3. If you have a saddle that can accommodate these gestures and motion than you can use it on many different horses. 4. When the horse’s back is accommodated, the effect on proper riding (equitation) is equally profound. The rider will have better feel, timing and balance. Tad Coffin saddles differ from

most traditional saddles in the materials and construction of the tree. The exterior looks like almost any other, but the tree is made up differently. The current models, the A5 SR and the TC2 are made with French leather flaps and seats. The Smart Ride tree is made of carbon fiber reinforced acrylic with nine different structures that allow flexion along eighteen axes of rotation. The panels are filled with high performance materials, layered for greater shock absorbency. There is nothing static about a Tad Coffin Performance Saddle. Owners of older models send their saddles back to get the updates, much like you upgrade your phones or computers to keep up with the times. Even though a saddle manufactured in 1992 looks nearly identical to one manufactured today, there are many subtle changes to the tree. Many of the famous equestrians that use TCP saddles regularly send them back for upgrades. The testing and tweaking of his saddles is constant, he acknowledges that there have been at least 1200 changes in the past twenty one years, a far cry from the norm of about twenty or one per year of most saddle manufacturers. While the majority of his saddles are of the close contact variety, it is possible to get dressage saddles with his technology as well. Coffin has also recently developed an exercise saddle for Thoroughbred racehorses. No matter what the discipline, his passion shines through. Tad Coffin is determined to make a saddle that is the most comfortable possible for horse and rider. He is determined to see the end goal of a more harmonious relationship between riders and

horses and the “endless possibilities for improved athleticism”. For more information about Tad Coffin Performance Saddlery, contact Tad Coffin at 888-827-2335, email or Justin Kenney 888-557-2335 , email You can also visit the company website


The Real Sport of Kings conclusion What about the horses? During medieval times, the most common types of horses were similar to today’s Andalusians. In Europe, the Andalusian and Lusitano horses are still popular for jousting, but in the US, many jousters prefer drafts or draft crosses. Some of the most popular breeds are Percherons, Shires and Belgians. The horses are almost always 16 hands or more and are capable of carrying up to 700 lbs. of weight. Before any horse can be trained to joust and used in an actual joust, two very important things must occur. The very first thing is that the horse must be well trained enough to walk, trot, canter, turn, stop and back up with little or no effort. Second, jousters must be skilled enough to cue the horse to do all these things using one hand, their seat and their legs without having to think about it for a long period of time. The jouster must be able to concentrate on controlling his or her lance and targeting his or her opponent. In order to protect the horse from the lance, they wear a shield on their head called a shaffron or camfron.

Many of the horses get very excited and love the rush of jousting. There was a mare in Texas named Plum who famously would pin her ears, snake her neck and even snap at the opposing horses as she passed them. She made more than one horse shy away at an inopportune moment, distracting its rider and causing the lance to go off target. Plum is an unregistered horse whose exact breeding is unknown, but she was a great jousting mare.

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NANCY LOWEY NAMED TO TRF POST Orange, VA, Montpelier Farm- Nancy M. Lowey of Orange, VA has been named the new Development Director for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, based at Montpelier Farm, the former home of James and Dolly Madison and Marion DuPont Scott. Montpelier Farm has been the re-training and safe haven for thoroughbred racehorses that have had track careers and need new opportunities since 2003. A graduate of Keuka College in Keuka Park, NYLowey comes to the TRF at Montpelier after a long career in education and in the horse world as volunteer, horse show manager, dressage show judge and fundraiser for a variety of horse related organizations. Lowey will bring her experience to help identify new donors, business donors and partnership

bases, develop TRF at Montpelier’s horse sponsorship, adoption and fostering efforts, manage events and communicate with other TRF fundraising personnel within the national organization. The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) is the largest equine rescue organization of its kind, devoted to the rescue, retirement, rehabilitation and retraining of Thoroughbred race horses no longer able to compete on the track. For many horses Montpelier Farm is their final home and safe haven because some racing injuries do not allow a second career. For additional information go to or call Kim Wilkins, Farm Manager, 540.748.7199.Visit our Facebook page-Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at Montpelier.


BREEDING OR BUYING FOR SPORT HORSE PERFORMANCE By Emmett Turner Over the past 20 years, I have operated a breeding program focused in the Hanoverian and Oldenburg registries. Based on experience from many conversations, I think answers to a few key questions can assist people to choose between breeding and buying with more confidence and a greater chance of success. What is a warmblood? The term warmblood generally applies to horses from European Sport Horse registries such as Hanoverian, Oldenburg, or Dutch warmblood. These horses are the produce of breeding programs that evolved rapidly after World War II when there was little remaining market for horses for agricultural use. The modern sport horse type was developed by crossing native European mares primarily with thoroughbred and Arabian stallions. Since we have many thoroughbred mares in this country, it makes sense to reverse the European model and breed these mares to European Sport Horse stallions. To register the resulting foals in counterpart American registries, these mares must secure breed registry approvals. The most successful warmblood competition horses often descend from a small number of great stallions. For example, more than 20 dressage horses nominated for the London Olympic Games by several countries and representing several registries were descendants of the Oldenburg stallion Donnerhall. European breeders also place great importance on mare lines. In some cases, information on mare lines has been recorded for hundreds of years. It is fairly common in the U.S. to seek to produce sport horses by crossing thoroughbred mares with draft horse stallions. Some breeders vigorously promote the first and second generation produce of such crosses for the sport horse market. While examples of success can be identified, it is relatively unlikely that such crosses will measure up to the standards of breeds with 60 plus years of selective breeding for sport.


ISR Oldenburg NA mare and foal inspection with La Chanteuse, a Champion filly and has since been approved as a Premium Mare at her breeding inspection as a 3-year old. La Chanteuse if a full sister to Le Cavalier. The picture is from Stacy Lynne Photography.

What is the difference between a breed and a breed registry? Americans are most familiar with the thoroughbred breeding model. Thoroughbreds are a pure breed registry managed by the Jockey Club. Any horse with pure bloodlines may be used in breeding programs. Advancements in breed type are achieved solely through selection within the registry. Most European Sport Horse registries have been developed on a breeding model based on rigorous inspections and performance testing. Out-crossing among breeds is allowed to best achieve stated breed standards. Thoroughbred and Arabian bloodlines are used to promote refinement and athleticism while maintaining the elasticity and elegance in gaits that are the hallmark of the European breeds. There are European sport horse breeds, Friesians are an example, that breed under strict standards for type and within a closed registry. What is the difference between registration and breeding approval?

European sport horse foals normally are registered during their first year. Registration enters the foaling date, identifies the sire and dam, and records other information maintained in the registry records. Blood or hair sample tests may be required to prove parentage. In some cases, numeric values are given for conformation, gaits, and breed type to distinguish premium foals. Breeding approval is based on a separate inspection process. Mares and stallions may be inspected at age 3 or later. The approval process is more rigorous for stallions since their ability to breed many mares gives them a greater breeding influence. The breed registries are generally open—meaning that mares and stallions from other registries may be approved for breeding if they are deemed to conform to and promote the standards of the breed registry. It is essential to understand that a stallion may have been registered as a foal, but does not thereby gain breeding approval. Why not a thoroughbred? The thoroughbred has been the sport horse of choice in the United States for many years and will continue to experience varying degrees of success. Horses sold off from racing provide many opportunities for identifying sport horse prospects at low cost. However, European breed registry horses have proven records of greater success over a variety of sport disciplines in recent years. Suitability to become a sport horse does not enter the decision process when most potential thoroughbred breeding matches are considered. During at least the first half of the past century, thoroughbred breeding was dominated by a few wealthy families that bred to race. Stallions and mares were expected to prove soundness and suitability for breeding in campaigns lasting several years. Horses also raced over greater distances and raced more frequently. Most modern thoroughbreds are bred to be sold for racing as 2-year olds. Early speed is the primary breed value in this market. These horses race shorter distances, less frequently, and rely on drugs not allowed in other countries. It should be noted that a small number of breeders do breed thoroughbreds specifically for sport, mostly for Eventing. Eventing prospects also are more likely to be found among bloodlines that have proven success

in steeplechase racing or have European bloodlines where most racing is on grass tracks, contested over longer distances, and subject to more stringent drug regulation. How do I secure a sport horse breeding approval for my thoroughbred mare? Mares must be presented at a breed registry inspection. An inspection will include a verification of parentage and an evaluation of conformation and basic gaits. Some registries also require a free jumping performance and performance under saddle. You must contact breed registry associations to learn specific approval requirements and dates and locations for inspections. There is some hierarchy of standards. The services of a professional may guide you in selecting a registry most suitable for your mare. You may present your horse yourself. However, most inspections have professional handlers to assist in obtaining the best possible scores. A single point could be the difference between full approval, entry in a mare book for horses of lower standards, or outright rejection. Unless you are a skilled handler of horses from the ground, it is worth the relatively nominal cost of hiring a handler. Similarly, if an under saddle test is required, it may be best to engage a rider with experience in riding mare performance tests. Examiners will explain to all in attendance both the good points that lead to acceptance of some mares and the deficiencies that lead to rejection of others. You should view the examiners evaluation as an opportunity to learn about the good and bad points of your mare. Remember, the true objective is to produce a quality foal, not just to breed the mare. You should learn the scoring standards of the presentation registry. Should your mare pass with a minimal score, you may want to set a higher threshold as the minimum at which you will proceed with breeding. Should I present my mare for inspection before breeding or breed the mare and present the mare and foal together for approval? There is no sure-fire answer to this question. A mare that has been in work will be better conditioned and is likely to look and perform better than a mare that has just endured the rigors of birthing a foal.


On the other hand, it is hard to ignore the influence of a beautiful foal. A mare that has some faults may stand a better chance of approval if she has produced a foal that does not demonstrate the same faults and proves that the mare is capable of producing better than herself. But, if this plan does not work, the foal will not be accepted for registration. The registry may offer a certificate of pedigree, but this is not the same as acceptance into the registry. This is yet another case for seeking professional counsel. The most assuredly qualified counsel would be to seek advice from someone on the USEF list of licensed sport horse breeding judges. Some of these judges are also approved and experienced in judging at breed registry inspections. How do I decide between breeding or buying an already approved sport horse? Breeding and raising a foal is expensive and there is no assurance that breeding will save you money in the long run. Moreover, by breeding you take what you get. By buying you can select what you like. Attending breed inspections and sport horse breeding shows will increase your breeding knowledge and provide opportunity to identify and purchase young horses while the cost is still relatively low. Overall, there is agreement among breed registry inspectors and experienced breeders that we too often breed mares for purely emotional reasons in this country.

process or one for a person lacking experience in handling foals. Can my gelding participate in a breed registry evaluation? It is expected that many colts will have been gelded prior to their foal inspections. They will be evaluated on the same basis as all other foals in the inspection. In addition, some registries and inspection sites may hold “futurity” classes for yearlings and 2-year olds. Expect such classes to be open to geldings registered in the breed registry sponsoring the inspection. In recent years, breeders often have been unable to sell young horses not yet under saddle. This has created interest in measuring the performance ability of geldings against established breed standards. Some registries will allow geldings with foal papers from that registry to participate in one-day mare performance tests. Due to the time and expense involved and the lack of any demonstrated need, it is not likely that geldings will ever be allowed in stallion performance tests.

Contributor, Emmett Turner has been involved in the horse industry for more than 60 years. He first worked with his father who was a thoroughbred racing trainer. Mr. Turner has been an organizer of USEF recognized dressage shows and eventing competitions over the last 35 years and a breeder of EuroYou are well advised to think of stallions as starter pean Sport Horses for the last 25 years. Embuttons and mares as copy machines. If your mare mett is the breeder of Le Cavalier, licensed has flaws in conformation, gaits, or character that for breeding in six sport horse registries folyou don’t want to see again, Don’t breed her! Mares provide half of the genetic DNA and all of the genetic lowing his 2002 stallion testing and of SyncoRNA—if you are not versed in these terms, look them pation RK, Dressage at Devon Champion in up. People who select a stallion hoping to correct a the 4-year old young dressage horse division fault in a mare often are disappointed. A better strate- in 2012. He was among the founders of the gy may be to select the stallion most likely to enhance Commonwealth Dressage and Combined your mare’s good qualities. Training Association in Virginia and continues to serve on its Board of Directors. Mr. The character of the mare is the single greatest influTurner is shown with La Chanteuse at her ence on character in raising the foal. I had a friend that bred a talented but timid mare that produced a ISR Oldenburg NA foal inspection where she foal well on his way to becoming a bully. The owner was fillly Champion. had to take on the task of providing discipline that was not provided by the mare. It was not an easy


Pepto’s My Dad, was one of the most successful cutting horse stallions for five straight years.

Eye on Business continued from page 00

J Bar C Ranch Be lieve it or not…Jim McDonough hasn’t always been involved with cutting horses. Growing up on the family dairy farm outside Buffalo, NY, his start in riding was with hunters before he switched over to Western Pleasure. As a professional he dabbled in Hunt Seat, Western pleasure, reining and natural horsemanship before transitioning to training cutting horses. He has certainly found his niche, with several horses in his barn in the top ten on the East Coast in money earned this year. His NCHA Earnings are $142,344.95 and one horse, Spotshots Moneytalks is currently second leading four year old in the region. McDonough and his wife Cassie have operated the large facility out of their Culpeper J Bar C Ranch for the past twelve years. Jim keeps fifty to sixty horses and about one hundred plus cows at his facility at all times. At all times there are at least thirty horses in training. The farm operates strictly as a training facility with Jim doing most of the training and teaching and Cassie overseeing care and management of the horses and cattle. Their daughters also are involved with the horses as well, competing at cutting competitions and barrel racing on the local rodeo circuit. The McDonoughs have their own stallions and occasionally have a foal or two. The couple used to deal with the breeding business but now send the stallions to an area breeding facility for collection. One J Bar C Ranch stallion,

Jim McDonough has been atop the NCHA leader board for quite a few years in part to his training philosophy. He looks to keep a “happy horse and a happy customer”. There are horses at all levels in the barn from seasoned 100,000 winners to horses that haven’t competed but they all share the same attitude. McDonough believes in continuing as long as the horse is “happy and trying”. “If they are not it’s time for a career change. If the horse and rider are trying to learn you can keep making progress. “ Because of his beliefs, the horses are fresh and happy. Customers are successful and happy so they stay for a long time too. Even the cattle stay fresh, with the McDonoughs buying 400 weight cows and selling when they are 600 pounds. The J Bar C Ranch has indoor and outdoor arenas, wash stalls and hot walkers. The property has all board fencing and access to trails. Jim offers lessons and training to anyone from novice cutters to experienced competitors. Along with his regular training business, Jim McDonough has been working with the Wounded Warrior Regiment. Three times a year the McDonoughs work with a group of wounded Marines. The Marines are taught the basics of riding and horsemanship then from there learn cutting, team penning, calf branding and games. After, the Marines are able to participate in the Wounded Warrior Cowboy Challenge, an event designed to showcase their newly acquired “cowboy” skills. After the competition there is an awards ceremony followed by dinner and dancing. The competitions are open to Marines in the Jinx Mc Cain horsemanship program. The program is a recovery through sport program for Marines injured in the line of duty. The Cowboy Challenge is free to spectators but donations to the Wounded Warrior Project are welcomed. Mc Donough says, “It is great to see how these Marines overcome injuries and utilize the horses as therapy.”

For more information about Jim McDonough or the J Bar C Ranch call (540) 547-9297 or visit Jim McDonough Cutting Horses on Facebook.



VPBA YOUNG PONIES UNDER SADDLE WINNERS FINALIZED Ethan Maye of Fairfield, and his Falling Moon Cosmo finished atop the standings for the VPBA Young Ponies Under Saddle division, and in so doing captured the $480 first place check from the Virginia Horse Industry Board’s grant for their 2013 “Virginia Bred Program”. The four year old bay gelding is by the Welsh stallion *Telynau Royal Anthem x Claire by Hidden Creek’s Rain Fox and was bred by Lynn Keifer. Earning the $300 second place check was Sid The Kid, owned and bred by Sandie Finnean of Midland. This four year old chestnut gelding is also by *Telynau Royal Anthem x *Telynau Fiesta x Laithehill Allegro. Third place and a check for $240 went to Gary Baker’s Shenanigans. Bred by Trisha Phoenix, this four year old bay gelding is by the Welsh stallion Land’s End Posiedon x Sinful. Nguyen Star First Edition placed fourth and received a check for $180. Bred and owned by Kym Smith of Gordonsville, this four year old black filly is by the crossbred stallion Meadowbrook’s Special Edition x Brandy. These top four finishers received their ribbons along with their checks at the VPBA Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon, to be held on November 3rd at the Fredericksburg Country Club. 2013 VPBA Pony Breeding & Performance Year End Awards A special “Thank You” to English Riding Supply and Southern States, Purcellville for sponsoring our Year End Awards Pony Broodmare 1T. Brookside Make Believe (*Duntarvie Janus x *Penucha Martina by Gorsty Firefly) owned by Jessie Sarver, bred by Sandra Costanzo-O’Brien & Gene O’Brien 1T. Yardley Mint Julip (Blue Fox x Slew Sally Slew by Ocala Slew) owner/breeder Elizabeth Meehan


Pony Foal 1. Wisewood Maybe It’s Maybelline (*Romany River Talisman x Farolina by Tiemtolino) owner/breeder Pat Wise Yearling, Colt/Gelding 1. Rosecroft The Monarch (Land’s End Monarch x GF What a Joy by Chloe Olympic Joy) owner/breeder Gary W. Baker 2. Ideal Candidate (Wellen Red Rock x Infomercial by Statesmanship) owner/breeder Alicia Z. Kline 3. Mystic Hat Trick (*Menai Mister Mostyn x Perfect Replica) owner/breeder Holly Veber 4. Shenandoah Nabisco (Farnley Triton x Shenandoah Praline by Arlen Royal Banner) owner/breeder Hetty M-S. Abeles Yearling, Filly 1. Clandestine (Crossgates Larasan x Shelby Secret by Farnley Belshazzar) owned by Stewart Kohler, bred by Richard M. Taylor 2. Naughty Or Nice (Crossgates Larasan x Foxy by Welsh Hills) owned by M/M R. Taylor, bred by Richard M. Taylor 3. Stanmore’s Let’s Pretend (Bold and Blue x Little Winkel by Mt. Ruritania) owner/breeder Melinda Collie 4. Foxlore Exclamation Point (KlineWellen Gold Point x Longacre Lilac by Longacre Spinoff) owned by Ethan Maye, bred by Alicia Z. Two Year Old, Colt 1. Stanmore’s Best Yet (Bold And Blue x Little Winkel by Mt. Ruritania ) owner/breeder Melinda Collie 2. Kenley Trademark (Pajon’s Buccaneer x Overjoyed by Don Alfredo) owner/breeder Terry Holmes

3. Foxmor Power Play (*Empire’s Power x Foxmor Fanfair by *Telynau Flight Of Fancy) owned by Rachel Spencer and Karen Williams, bred by Karen Williams 4. Ideal Game Plan (*Telynau Gallant x Infomercial by Statesmanship) owned by Cheryl and Paul Maye, bred by Alicia Z. Kline Two Year Old, Filly 1. Julia (Land’s End Monarch x Indeego Girl by Indeego) owned by Stewart E. Kohler, bred by Richard M. Taylor 2. Miami (Markus x Loafer’s Lodge Hot Pink by Rosmel’s Dressed In Scarlet) owner/breeder Leslie Malone 3. Ledinjadon Supposed 2 Be Blonde (*Telynau Royal Anthem x Ledinjadon Modunit Again by Ledinjadon Major Motion) owner/breeder Lela Shaneberger 4. Dress Code (Rollingwoods Top Drawer x Grand Bell) owner/breeder Barbara Chappell Three Year Old 1. Empire’s Empress (*Empire’s Power x Shenandoah Watercolor by Farnley Prelude) owned by Cynthia Deibert, bred by Patrica Landes 2. Falling Moon Cabana (*Telynau Royal Anthem x Claire by Hidden Creek’s Rain Fox) owned by Thora Pollak, bred by Lynn Kiefer 3. Rebel Yell (Meadow Brook’s Special Edition x Chelsea’s Renaissance by Witty Boy) owner/breeder Thora Pollak 4. Final Say (*Menai Mister Mostyn x Tralee by Duke of Reva) owner/breeder Oliver Brown MEMBER-BREEDER OF HIGH SCORE IN HAND PONY: Richard Taylor for Clandestine VPBA Young Ponies Under Saddle Thanks to a Virginia Horse Industry Board grant, $1,200 was awarded to owners of the top four 2013 year-end award winners in the Registered Young Ponies Under Saddle classes. Awards distributed $480, $300, $240, $180. 1. Falling Moon Cosmo (*Telynau Royal Anthem x Claire by Hidden Creek’s Rain Fox) owned by Ethan Maye, bred by Lynn Kiefer 2. Sid the Kid (*Telynau Royal Anthem x *Telynau Fiesta by Laithehill Allegro) owner/breeder Sandie Finnegan 3. Shenanigans (Land’s End Poseidon x Sinful) owned by

Gary Baker, bred by Trisha Phoenix 4T. Nguyen Star First Edition (Meadowbrooks Special Edition x Brandy) owner/breeder Kym Smith 4T. Penny Power (*Empire’s Power x DDWP Miss Money Penny by Holly Hill Bartholomew) owned by Gwinn G. Kent, bred by Patricia Worth Kirkland 6. Final Say (*Menai Mister Mostyn x Tralee by Duke Of Reva) owner/breeder Oliver Brown Registered Virginia Bred Performance Division The VPBA awarded $1,000 to owners of the top four year-end award winners in the Registered Virginia Bred Performance division. Awards distributed $400, $250, $200, $150. 1. Roaring Run Fascination (Farnley Belshazzar x Latin Wings by Winged Brook) owned by Gillian Morrissey, bred by Brooks Arrington 2. Wellen Gold Medal (Kerrymor Madison x Good As Gold by Al Marah Lord Elope) owned by Grace Anne Owens, bred by Gayle R. Presson & Susanna Rowe 3. Superstitious (Lakeview Pickpocket x Lakeview Natasha by *Rhoson Agano) owner/breeder Lisa Hammerschmidt 4. Farnley Fancy (Alra Abmber Classic x Farnley Erin by T.F. Count Bisbee) owned by Peyton Ruddy, bred by Mrs. J.H. Dunning 5. Shenanigans (Land’s End Poseidon x Sinful) owner/ breeder Gary Baker 6. Fenway Armani (Pengwyn x Glamour Perfect by Verification) owner/breeder Beth Watson

Ponies Registered with the Virginia Pony Breeders Association are Worth More! Join the VPBA Today and Register your Virginia Bred Ponies


CFC Farm and Home Center Eye On Virginia Equine Business continued from page 43 Formed originally in the Great Depression of the 1930’s as a means for the local farmers to survive, the Culpeper Farmers Cooperative has always been a different kind of farm store. In 1932 Culpeper area farmers pooled their resources to buy seed machinery and farm supplies. Starting in the 1950’s more retail stores were added eventually becoming the five branches that are CFC today; Culpeper, Rappahannock, Morrisville Warrenton and Marshall. In 2005, the stores changed name to become CFC Farm and Home Centers Today after over eighty years, the business still reflects its local heritage and commitment to area farms and ranches. Today, the retail outlets sell tack, appliances and home and garden products as well as seed, feed and farm supplies. According to marketing director, Ed Dunphy horse farms and horse owners account for the largest growth segment of CFC’s business. To accommodate this fast growing segment of the market, CFC has launched a new line of PaceMaker feeds. PaceMaker feed has been assisted by Kentucky Equine Research in developing feed that is not only providing bal-


anced vitamin and mineral ratios but a sugar starch balance as well. PaceMaker feed is also only one of two companies in Virginia that produce feed in safe/ feed safe food mills. This means that your horse’s feed is never processed or stored where there is a chance of antibiotic contamination. Feed for cattle and other livestock often contains medications that are toxic and potentially fatal to horses. There is no chance of that with PaceMaker feed. Another distinguishing feature is that all grain components are purchased from local farmers. This makes PaceMaker the only feed to carry the Virginia Grown logo. So besides the opportunity to shop local, why go to CFC or use PaceMaker? The Culpeper Farmer’s Cooperative is making a great effort to provide service that is often unavailable with bigger chains. There are several new tools to help horse owners and barn managers decide proper feed and rations for every horse. Many companies have equine specialists that can help

a barn determine what feed or feeds to use. CFC takes it a few steps further. Specialists are available to consult with anyone, from a single horse owner to a barn manager with fifty horses in his care. Dunphy stresses that educated representatives are available at every store to answer questions. But better yet, CFC has gone high tech. Every bag of feed contains a scannable link to the companies ration wizard, an interactive program designed to help select a proper feed for your horse. With your tablet or smart phone the QP code walks you through the process of feed selection and then through a process of devising a proper amount. A horse owner needs only a few basic points, such as breed, amount of work, age, sex and body condition to make the program work. If the person is uncertain or confused there is an e-mail sent to a specialist to help fine tune the process. The guaranteed safe facilities used to manufacture PaceMaker feeds and the interactive ration wizard program have helped expand the territory in which this once regional product is available . Dunphy says that feeds are now sold in varying locations throughout the state and his office fields inquiries from dealers all over Virginia that would like to sell PaceMaker products. The co-op also is hosting a couple of special events for equine customers. For more information about PaceMaker feeds or the CFC Farm and Home Center stores visit the company website


Cutting Back on Your Sugar Intake Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet is one small adjustment you can make that has the ability to improve your long-term health, support your energy levels, improve your mood and focus, and help you manage your weight. As competitive equestrians, traveling from one show to the next, food options are limited and there are usually sugary temptations all over the showgrounds. The following are some strategies that may support you in your effort to cut back on sugar: 1. Eliminate temptation: Remove sweets from your home and don’t keep a hidden stash of peppermints, cookies or snack packs in your the bottom of your tack trunk. 2. Stay hydrated: Sip on water to see if maybe you are just a little dehydrated from the activities at the show. Avoid sports drinks and juices because they are usually loaded with sugar. Instead, you can add lemon, fruit, or herbs for extra flavor and additional nutrients. Herbal teas can be delicious and satisfying too. 3. Balance your meals: Make sure that you are getting enough protein, carbs, and healthy fats at your meals to help balance your blood sugar and fuel your body. 4. Prepare: When sugar cravings hit, have some fruit on hand or share some carrots with your horse.


Along with the naturally occurring sugars, you will also consume the fiber that will help slow down blood sugar spikes, plus you can receive additional nutritional benefits. 5. Get enough rest: Most people need about 7-9 hours of sleep. This will help to avoid hormone disruption which could result in changes in mood, appetite and cravings. 6. Read your labels: It is important to look past the marketing claims and read the actual nutrition facts, serving size, and ingredients labels in order to gauge whether a particular food is actually loaded with sugar. 7. Indulge wisely: if you want to enjoy a sweet treat, really take the time to appreciate it. Sit down and savor each bite – eating mindfully, chewing thoroughly, and noticing the sensations you experience. Knowing the strategies that can help you avoid sugar will allow you to make food choices that will support your health and energy levels so you can focus on riding your best at the shows. The Equestrian Health Coach was founded by Kimball Willson and is a service offered to riders nation-wide. Learn more about One-on-one Programs, Group Cleanses, and Workshops at

Royal Knight Shires is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Bedford County, Virginia. The eighty acre property is a mix of pasture and hayfields that was originally a cattle operation. Geryl’s family bought the property in 1972 and operated a beef production business. Missy and Geryl moved to the property in 2006 after Geryl’s father passed away. They modified the barns, built fences and built an additional draft horse friendly barn and their house. The first horses arrived on the property in 2007 and eventually moved the entire operation there in 2012. Before that, they had horses in two locations and would bring the bred mares to their house to foal.

Royal Knight Shires Geryl and Missy Wade’s love for the Shire began in an unusual way. Although Missy grew up with horses, Geryl was more familiar with cattle and believed that “horses were nothing but hay burners”. Missy says “ Our daughter really wanted a horse so in 2005 we adopted some PMU horses from Canada. I made sure one was a Spotted Draft, reasoning that she was a work horse and that Geryl would accept her because she could do more than “burn hay”. Thank goodness I was right, we raised her and a friend taught her and us how to harness and drive.” Then the Spotted Draft needed a teammate. A trip to an auction resulted in the purchase of a Shire crossbred and after spending time with the horse, the Wades grew to appreciate the breed’s intelligence, trainability and gentleness. Missy and Geryl contacted the seller and arranged to buy a Shire stallion, the foundation of the Royal Knight breeding program.

Missy says, ” we chose the Shire breed because of their trainability and dispositions they are also so large and impressive.” She says that the fact that the Shire breed is on the Livestock Conservency’s list of endangered breeds and the Wade family roots are in England factored into the decision as well. The Wades felt that helping to preserve this breed of gentle giants was important. They currently promote the breed by traveling to shows and events like Equine Extravaganza. As ambassadors for the breed, the Wades often surprise spectators with the breed’s tractability and gentleness by using Royal View Sensational Thomas, their stallion, as an exhibit of the breed. In addition to Royal View Sensational Thomas, Missy and Geryl have Passage Creek Poetry Man, a two year old “junior” stallion prospect that they hope to breed to their mares who are by “Thomas”. Shire production


Eye on Va Buysiness continued from page 49 is a slow process. Shires mature a bit later than many other breeds, often growing and still developing as late as six. Missy says that she and Geryl are “ careful not to let the mares have a foal before they are done developing themselves”. The Wades produce a small foal crop every year. They strive to produce “quality not quantity” in their three or four foals with emphasis on good conformation and disposition. Missy and Geryl imprint train the foals and handle them everyday. When it is time, their young horses are trained to drive singly and in pairs. The Wades make an effort to expose their young horses to a variety of sights and sounds making them safe and fun to be around. As well as breeding Shires, Royal Knight offers driving and natural horsemanship training. They often have hitching and driving clinics at the farm. The Royal Knight team and wagon are also available for special events. For more information about Royal Knight Shires contact Missy at 540 330-5481 or Geryl at 540 330-5480 or view their website,

Tell about your equine related operation for consideration for an “Eye On Virginia Equine Business” interview in an upcoming issue. Write us at or call Bonnie at 860-618-2992




Virginia horse lovers january issue  

Virginia horse lovers january issue

Virginia horse lovers january issue  

Virginia horse lovers january issue