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Blue Willow Farm Visits Monnington Morgans in England


submitted by Jill Lowry

Right before the holidays, Julie Kaufman, owner of Blue Willow Farm at Rigby's Green in Versailles, Ky., and friend, Jill Lowry, were impressed by the beauty and hospitality they experienced at Monnington Morgans, near Hereford, England. Greeted by John and Angela Bulmer, they were invited to stay the night in their 400-year-old home on the farm surrounded by a cider-producing apple orchard established by Bulmer's grandfather. The invitation was eagerly accepted despite winks and stories of late night hauntings!

Joined by Monnington's renowned trainer Lionel Ferreira, daughter Georgia Bulmer and farm manager, Trudy Connolly, the group assembled in a favorite room of the Bulmers’ home nicknamed, “The Snug” before dining in Weobley, one of the famous “black and white” villages dating back to the Middle Ages. The meal was excellent, contrary to cautionary tales the travelers had been told about cuisine in England.

On a partly sunny morning, the visitors from Blue Willow enjoyed a breakfast of fresh eggs, admired the lake, ancient chapel and sculpture garden before heading to the barn. Ferreira and his staff dazzled their guests with a youngster in lines snorting at the Morgans in the adjacent pasture. He continued with an impressive display of some of South Africa's best Saddlebreds exported to Monnington. He showed a variety of horses capable of igniting the passions of any Saddlebred lover. Ferreira finished the exhibition with his handsome stallion and what a morning it had been.

Next, John Bulmer delighted his guests with a carriage ride around the orchard and farm pulled by a newly-combined pair of Monnington Overture and a young gelding, Vision, purchased from Judy Whitney Harris. These two showed great promise for upcoming British Driving Society competition. The lush scenery included the Welsh mountains, which were visible that morning, as well as mistletoe growing in the apple trees.  Ferreira explained that pair driving was not in his background before coming to Monnington.  He started by sitting next to John in the carriage “reading the manual!”

It is perhaps this type of spirit that impresses Monnington visitors the most. The whole enterprise has a jovial, caring culture. While the members of this team are undoubtedly supportive, they have a way of keeping one another's aspirations in check with humor and wit-and they are, of course, true animal lovers.

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