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Morgan Barn Tour Kicks Off 2006 AMHA Convention Just Right

by Leeann Mione

More than 50 Morgan enthusiasts boarded a chartered bus Wednesday, Feb. 15 in Lexington, Ky for a much-anticipated tour of several top Morgan barns. Dragonsmeade, Paradise Morgans, PlayMor Farm and Saralin Farm, had everything in tip-top shape for the large group and every stop provided a terrific display of horseflesh.

Dragonsmeade Farm was the first stop, and the tour group was greeted by farm owner Susan Fu and farm manager Jan Banks. The beautiful 285 acre facility has become a major player in the Morgan horse breeding industry and everyone was anxious to see the lineup of stallions.

An incredible spread of breakfast foods, hot cider and coffee awaited, and everyone took time to eat and walk through the barn to visit with the horses. One of the most popular stalls in the barn housed Black Tie Debutante (High-Y Black Tie x Ran-Cal Fancee M) and her 10-day-old filly sired by Beethoven.

Beethoven himself was the man of the hour when he was led out to show off for the appreciative group. Sired by Noble Flaire and out of MyBlue Heaven, he looked every inch the proven sire that he is. He was then turned loose in the paddock and as his fan club gathered along the fence, he kicked up his heels and showed off his athletic abilities.

Next it was multiple world champion performance horse And The Beat Goes On. He posed for the group and drew lots of attention. Sired by Simply Maserati and out of JLS Deer Sal, the gorgeous black stallion really drew raves when he was turned loose to kick up his heels in the paddock. He seemed to float over the ground as he trotted along the fence in pass after pass. He also made it clear he was having a great time playing as it took several people to convince him when it was time to come in.

              And The Beat Goes On loved showing off for the group in the paddock.

A beautiful weanling filly sired by Mizrahi and out of HVK Firefly, one of the Fu family’s most beloved broodmares, was the final member of the trio to put on a show for the crowd. The filly was wide-eyed at all the attention and was a shining example of the Dragonsmeade breeding program.

PlayMor Farm was the next stop on the tour and as the bus rolled in, the group was greeted by the Hazen family. Sammi Hazen welcomed the group and again, with plenty of food and drink for everyone, encouraged them to look around the recently remodeled barn.

When it was time to see the stallions, the group moved into the arena which was a recent addition to the barn. In fact, because the arena was so new, the footing of two inches of sand and an inch of shredded rubber hadn’t had a chance yet to settle and was still very deep. It did, however, draw raves from the group.

Sammi Hazen introduced Glenn Bouvier, John Hufferd, and Dean Scott to the group as the first stallion was brought out. Bouvier, Hufferd, and Scott assisted Hazen with the presentations. MSV Shooting Star (Liberation First Star x Ryan’s Pure Silk Lady) was the first stallion on display for the group. The four-year-old will be standing his first season at PlayMor Farm this year.

The youngster had no trouble with the footing and showed why he holds so much promise in the breeding shed.

Next was The Last Don. The well-known son of HVK Noble Obsession is also the last foal of his dam MyBlue Heaven. He also turned in an impressive display for the crowd.

The PlayMor trump card, however, was the next stallion on the list. As Jennifer Hazen spoke to the crowd about why the Hazens were so happy to have their next stallion at the farm, the anticipation and excitement grew.

                  Mizrahi(HVK Bell Flaire x Schiaparelli) arrived at PlayMor from 
                  Blackridge in
, just the week the convention. He looked 
                 every inch at home when Glenn Bouvier presented him to the group.

When Glenn Bouvier and Mizrahi came trotting down the aisle on their way to the arena, there was an audible gasp from many in the group. Mizrahi loved every minute of it and the longer he went, the higher he went.    

Having only arrived at PlayMor Farm from Blackridge in California, the week before, Mizrahi looked right at home as he marched down the rail in the big arena. The deep footing seemed harder for Bouvier to navigate than the stunning Mizrahi.

With a few more minutes spent admiring the horses and talking to the Hazens, Bouvier and Hufferd, the group had to move on with the tour and again boarded the bus.

Running behind schedule due to an earlier mechanical problem with the bus, the group took a vote about whether or not they would be opposed to eliminating the visit to Keeneland, one of the scheduled stops for the day.

Electing not to visit the famous facility in favor of more time with Morgan horses, the bus headed instead to Saralin Farm. Sally Longenecker and three very happy Newfoundlands greeted the group and once again, plenty of food and drink were offered and enjoyed.

Longenecker gave the group a tour of the barn, which had originally been a Thoroughbred nursery, and told the group that she felt it was important for horses to be seen in their stalls as well as on parade. At stall after stall, Longenecker spoke of the individuals that contribute so greatly to the Saralin breeding program and encouraged questions from the group.

In addition to presenting the stallions of Saralin, many of the broodmares - some very heavy with foal - were also brought out. The stallions, however, were first on the agenda, and Great Joy started the stallion parade with Luman Wadhams.

John Hufferd presented the next stallion, HVK Navigator (Carlyle Command x Nobelle) from the Kohler Stables breeding program. Bri B Bell Fury (HVK Bell Flaire x X-T-C Nine Charmaine) and Phil Fountain made their way in front of the group for the next presentation. They were followed by Liberation Me First and Luman Wadhams. John Hufferd and Mine took their turn and the final stallion, Simply Maserati, (Dancity Sojourn x Sioux’s Hot Tamale) drew lots of applause with presenter Wadhams. All six stallions were great examples of the depth and scope of the Saralin Farm breeding program, and all were in fine form for their presentation to the appreciative group.

                   Saralin Farm was proud to have the handsome Mine back in Kentucky 
                                             as he was presented by John Hufferd.

Next it was time for the broodmares. Wild Blue Yonder was the first mare to show off for the crowd with Wadhams presenting. With her third foal due at the end of March, Saralin is looking forward to a new Morgan baby to hit the ground but also the debut this season of her first foal Blues Brother.

The next mare was presented by John Hufferd and is in foal to Stonecroft Byzantine. Saralin’s In Excess, in foal to The Last Don, will deliver a full sibling to Gotti and she was next in the display of mares.

Hyland Acres Obsession was then presented to the crowd by Hufferd and was followed by Audrey Hepburn and Wadhams. 2000 World Champion Mare RWF Noelle by Tara’s Cherokee, made her appearance with Hufferd.

The next mare, Absolut Joy, was obviously very special to Longenecker as she warrrented a kiss before heading back to the comfort of her stall after being on display for the group.

Venus Rising, under lights and due to be bred soon, was brought out by Hufferd to continue the parade of mares. Eaton’s Starstruck and Wadhams and HVK Madonna with Hufferd were the final two mares to highlight the broodmares residing at Saralin.

With very comfortable weather and such a gorgeous lineup of Morgans to view, the stop at Saralin more than made up for missing the stop at Keeneland and the group made their appreciation to Longenecker and her staff obvious.

Chris and Janet Morris’s Paradise Morgans was the final stop on the tour and provided a fitting conclusion for a terrific day.

Farm manager Michael Adams, assistant farm manager Alex Kingston, Nancy McConnell and Cheryl Weatherell met the group and got right to it, presenting the 200 acre farm’s foundation broodmare UVM Christine (Hillock Showson x UVM Paradox) to the group. The mare, now 12 years old, looked terrific with Adams on the lead, and it was obvious why she had earned the title of foundation mare.

Kingston presented her son Summitry (sired by Noble Flaire) to the group, and he drew lots of favorable comments from the group as well.

Foundation sire UVM Springfield then stood before the group and put on a great show. One of six stallions at Paradise Morgans, the son of UVM Elite and UVM Graceful, looked deserving of his title.

                 UVM Springfield is the Paradise Morgans foundation stallion.

The stallion Masque N Black was bandaged but moving just fine when he came before the group with Adams. Expected to make full recovery after some rambunctious play out in the field, the young, black stallion seemed completely unaffected by all the attention.

Opinionated, a gorgeous two-year-old colt, was then brought out to much applause from the crowd. Sired by Simply Maserati and out of Futurity’s Velvet Vicki, Opinionated was one of the first foals born on the farm following its purchase by Chris and Janet Morris. Adams coached Chris Morris through the early parts of delivery by phone until he could get there and assist in person.

After the presentation, Adams led the group on a tour of the farm including the wellness barn where horses are kept for rehabilitation. Beautiful pastures filled with mares and babies, yearlings and broodmares had most in the group lingering to enjoy the beautiful afternoon. A terrific buffet of food was then offered before the group had to reluctantly board the bus for the trip back to the hotel.

Four incredible farms and an amazing display of graciousness and hospitality made for a great day. The generosity of those involved in putting together the tour and making it such an overwhelming success was a true testament to the popularity of the Morgan breed and a great way to kick off a successful 2006 AMHA Convention.

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