I grew up in the Detroit area in a neighborhood with horse crazy kids. Although I didn't have a horse of my own, I always had a horse available when I had time away from swimming meets and dancing. Coincidently, most of those horses were Arabians. My love for the horse rubbed off on my children and my second of five boys and 1 girl wanted a horse. I promised we would allow him one when he was ten. He didn't forget so we purchased one for him. It didn't take long before he realized it wasn't fun riding by yourself. We purchased two more. My oldest son wanted to raise a foal. We thought that would be fun so we purchased a pregnant half-arabian riding horse. When this foal was born we thought she was the most wonderful, intelligent, curious animal we had ever seen and she was somehow unique among foals.
Now many years later, and dozens and dozens of foals later, I know all Arabian foals are like that and I appreciate each one for those qualities. We started to show this filly at halter in the Michigan shows. She was undefeated. I went to the U.S.Nationals and saw one trainer continually winning with his horses. I called him and asked him if he was in the area to give me an opinion as to her potential beyond Michigan. He was from Minnesota and within two weeks he was at our farm to see her. He liked her and wanted her in his show string. He showed her and she remained undefeated. We sure got the bug. Dave, my husband, decided we should look into getting purebreds. So in 1983, the story of Grand Arabian began. It continues to evolve in ways that keep me energized and eager for more. In this business you can never stand still, and we're very excited about the new directions we've taken and the milestones we've passed recently.
Everyone who becomes involved with horses experiences the wonderful highs of watching new foals, bonding with a special horse or perhaps attaining show ring success. Likewise, no one is spared the profound lows that also occur, when hopes are dashed or when our dearest horses are lost. Individuals who can ride the highs and lows and retain a sense of balance and composure, while still enjoying the adventure, are the stayers in this business. That's what we we have aspired to be.
Currently, Grand Arabian is home to 20 horses split between two farms. For many years, we stood 2 National winning stallions at Stud. Joy Hatten who has been with me 31 years and we did all the breeding ourselves. We sold their semen and their offspring all over the World. After taking courses at Colorado State in reproduction and learning how to freeze and inseminate and ship, the Arabian Horse Association rules changed to enable breeders to ship frozen semen. Because of those classes we were ready and was the first farm in the United States to open a semen depot in Europe. We had foals born there and neighboring countries. We have sold horses as far away as New Zealand, Dubai, Argentina to name a few. Dave and I were lucky enough to visit them too.
First and foremost I am a breeder. Everyone of the foals we have are carefully planned, and for me, the anticipation of those foals and foaling process itself is the most exciting part of the business. I am unbending as to the criteria I've established for my breeding stock. Pretty first, is absolutely necessary. Performance ability is also a must, as are good legs. And I love big eyes, ears that are well placed, small muzzles, and long necks that have shape and come out of a laid back shoulder. Good motion although not necessarily extreme elevation is also important to me and of course disposition. Nothing excites me more than to see amateurs fall in love with their horse and are able to handle them. The key "couldn't function-without " persons in all this activity are Joy Hatten, who signed on in April 1988, Kris Keech for 25 years, and Cindy Angus for 21 years. We have added Jacoba Miller, Alicia Rider, Ruby Fuentes, and Brittany Budd. My family is a big part of Grand Arabian. Dave keeps my attention to the books and the boys and grandchildren are always available to help out if needed.