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Blue Willow Brigade Youth Club News

This summer at Blue Willow Farm has been an eventful one of growth and change. The farm’s newly-formed youth club, the Blue Willow Brigade, is a productive new link between the
Lexington community and the American Saddlebred industry. Led by instructor Andrea Steponaitis, the club is made up of several active members between ages 8-17, from both the lesson and training programs. On June 26, Blue Willow and its Brigade hosted six foster children accompanied by a news crew from Lexington’s LEX 18 news channel.

The beautiful Rigby’s Green Farm was the background for LEX 18’s “Thursday’s Child,” a weekly news feature which spotlights Kentucky foster children in need of adoption. The children are chosen through the Special Needs Adoption Program, or SNAP, an entity of the Department of Community Based Services that focuses on older children with mental or physical handicaps.

While at the barn, the kids were filmed interacting with the horses as well as being interviewed by news personality Dia Davidson about their interests and desires for a permanent family. The five boys and one girl worked with youth club members to learn how to brush, lead, wash and give treats to a variety of lesson horses, including two Saddlebreds and a Belgian. One young boy got a ride behind a road pony and a brother and sister pair was introduced to a broodmare and foal.

Julie Kaufman, manager and instructor, was glad to take part in the program. “It was a wonderful, unique opportunity to bring together the American Saddlebred and a group of children who had never been exposed to horses before. To see the looks on their faces was eye-opening,” she said. The episodes will air at
12 p.m. on LEX 18 beginning July 13, continuing every Thursday for four weeks: June 20 and 27 and August 3 and 10.

That same day, the Gateway Gaiters Youth Club of West Palm Beach Florida was scheduled to tour Blue Willow Farm as a destination on their weeklong tour of Kentucky. Trainer Chad Graham exhibited the celebrated road pony Power Of Attorney, as well as the father-and-son pair of handsome breeding stud Royal Revival and one of his exciting two-year-old colts. The group was given driving and riding lessons after their tour of the farm.

These were two of the last events to happen at the current site as Blue Willow operations will move to owner Ann Fitzpatrick’s brand new facility a few miles away after the Lexington Junior League Horse Show. No matter the location, the youth of Blue Willow Farm plan to make a difference.

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