Somewhere in Time
The Birth of Timeless Farm
by Stephanie Veloff-Histed, March, 2003
"I never once fathomed that just the simple love for my animals
would drive me to create the working show facility it is today."
Initially, I set out to create a typical résumé that listed my accomplishments. Instead, you will see the sequence of events that started in my childhood and resulted in the birth of Timeless Farm. Today, Timeless Farm reflects my effort to give aspiring students an easier path to love and learn from these wonderful animals. And so my story begins…
It’s funny how events in your life help you travel down a path that you never knew existed. How things happen for a reason without ever realizing it. We all know that our experiences shape us as human-beings. Aim us toward certain points in our life that we never notice until we take a step back, to really take a close look at how we got here and to appreciate it.
It seems so long ago. Yet, still fresh in my mind is the fact that even as a toddler, I had to be on a horse. I soon discovered that the dairy farm up the road had a horse and two ponies. They were in desperate need of attention by said horse-crazy toddler and I prepared my speech accordingly. I approached the family and expressed that these horses could not live without my devoted attention and would they mind if I spent all of my waking moments at their farm. Surprisingly enough, they agreed and Johnny, Spook and Smokey became the best friends a horse-crazy kid could ever have.
It was while I was riding Johnny that I met a girl that was out riding her horse. We became great friends and would ride everywhere together. Through farmers' fields, woods and streams. We built cross-country courses and jumped over everything possible. I would even spend the night at her house with Johnny and we would go on midnight trail rides. One morning after a sleepover, we turned the horses out in the pasture. Unbeknownst to us, we failed to shut the far gate. Off the horses went galloping through the fields and streams all the way back to the dairy farm where Johnny lived. It was a few miles away as the crow flies and it was a long hike for us as we ran after them. On the way, we cut through another dairy farm only to notice in a little pen the tiniest, cutest, most perfect little horse I had ever seen!
Her name was Sparky. She was black and white and only 35 inches tall. When she realized we were standing there losing our minds as to how insanely cute she was, she gave the cutest whinny and ran right over to us. It took me no time at all to know that I had to have her. Of course, we had to finish our trek and retrieve Johnny and Torch before I could inquire about what it would take to own the cutest pony ever. We finally caught up with them at the dairy farm, tied twine to their halters and rode them bareback all the way back to my friend’s house.
My parents never knew what hit them. Sparky ended up costing thirteen dollars and spent her first night at her new home in the garage. At least she had a roof over her head! It’s funny how certain things never occur to you as a kid… like the fact that we had no horse food at my house... ...nor any horse fencing. Fortunately, my house was on five acres and it was in the country. So I didn’t just bring a pony into a suburban neighborhood although I would have!
Eventually, we did put up fencing and even built a little barn. And so the horse collection began. Next came Lady -- my first normal sized horse. Then my little sister Julie, who was very tiny, would ride Sparky. We had tiny tack for her. It was so cute! She even went in the Hunter Over Fences class at the Dane County Fair. The show committee accommodated her by lowering the fences to nine inches. The crowd went wild! Of course, my sister grew eventually and we then got Rose. Even though we were too big to ride Sparky, she was just too cute to not stay in the show ring. We taught her to drive and she ended up being the (State Pony Driving Champion multiple years in a row.
Sparky was definitely a very important part of the family. We would even bring her into the house! It was a sad day when we lost her February 26, 1999. But for every life lost, a new one is gained. Just over a month later, Corenn was born. He is her namesake. “Coruscation” means “to sparkle, to glitter, to gleam.”
Lady and Rose went on to conquer 4-H and open shows and even did their share of rated Events in Combined Training. Realizing they had taken us as far as they could, we started looking for new prospects to pursue avenues in the rated Hunter/Jumper ring. I eventually sold Lady to a friend of mine who loved and cared for her as I did. And Rosie, who was getting on in the years, stayed with us as Sparky’s companion. She actually became my first school horse and started off my lesson program. Everybody loved her. She was dearly missed by all when she passed away on October 26, 2000. Just as I mentioned, for every life lost, a new one is gained. Two weeks later, “ Eagle Rose” walked in the barn as a sale horse and has never left. She was the spitting image of Rosie and had the same name?! Even though I was still in mourning, how could I not recognize that this was meant to be? She instantly became part of the family and picked up where Rose left off. She definitely has “favorite pony” status among her loyal students — including my mother!
Thus far, we had taken lessons from whoever was available. I distinctly remember that I had always felt that I could never know enough. I was always searching for every little tidbit of information any instructor could throw at me. It did not matter what their preferred discipline was. Whether Dressage, Hunters or Arabs, I could always take some little valuable piece of knowledge away with me. Also, I would have my mom videotape my lessons so I could then go home and spend hours scrutinizing myself. I knew that it would only bring me closer to my ultimate goals and aspirations, which were to be the best rider I could possibly be. Even at a young age, I knew that you could never stop learning. You never, ever reach a point that you know everything. These are living, breathing animals just like us. Every time we sit on a horse, they are always being trained or untrained. They are like sponges. Just as we, as humans, are either learning something useful or unlearning bad habits.
Within my quest for knowledge, I worked with whoever I thought would help me achieve my goals. During our 4-H years we tried lessons with several different instructors but worked mostly with Stacy Anderson who was at the time managing and training at a big breeding farm. It was during that period when we all worked together to create the 4-H club “Boots and Bridles” that is still successful today. Because we knew the importance of enlisting the aid of a professional when searching for a competitive show horse, Stacy also assisted us in the purchase of &ldquoThe Fonz”.
Fonzi (a.k.a. Naughty At Night; a.k.a. Smooth Over Everything) was a big, black thoroughbred that had a heart of gold and we could see that he had the potential to jump a house. Fonz and I finished my 4-H career together by being champion in everything at county and multiple championships at state. From there we participated in many rated Combined Training events, Dressage shows and made our way up the ranks in the Hunter/Jumpers. At the height of his career, Fonz was winning at “A” shows in the 3’6” Amateur Owner Hunters as well as the 4’ Jumpers with numerous year end awards. It was so effortless for him. We even played around on 4’9” jumps at home! Unfortunately, I could not afford to keep Fonz when Mink was ready to do the “A” shows. I was very sad the day we sold him but he did move on to live with a family and become a young boy’s jumper and his older sister’s Equitation horse. It's nice to know that Fonzie’s talent and huge heart added to the experiences of the successful riders that Maggie and Charlie Jayne are today.
My sister was eventually in need of a new prospect as well. Stacy had heard of a thoroughbred that was for sale at a new, little Hunter/Jumper farm called Montrose Acres. His name was Chris and he was cute as a button! He was not very broke however. He spent most of his life on the race track and then the next few years in a pasture as a stallion. The barn had started him over fences but he did not quite get it. He jumped with all four feet at the same time! Of course, we could not resist his adorable face and he became the newest addition to our family. We liked the facilities at Montrose so we ended up moving Fonz to live with Chris at that barn.
If you have ever had a horse collection you know it really never ends. I had decided that I wanted to take on a youngster as a project horse and one to be ready to show when Fonz neared retirement age. That was when I met Renee Morgan who just happened to know of a horse for sale that was exactly what I wanted. Her name was Mink and she was a three year-old thoroughbred. She was very green, barely broke but absolutely perfect!
Our stay at Montrose was a short one. Just long enough to do a few “B” rated Hunter/Jumper shows that helped us realize that we aspired to bigger and better things. We knew that the training program there was not going to help us pursue our goals. So shortly after purchasing Mink, we moved them all to a private farm. There we could explore other trainer options that would eventually lead us to the “A” circuit.
Through my experiences, I was very aware of the fact that starting young horses was definitely a fine art. You have such a clean slate to work with. It makes much more sense and is less time consuming in the long run to start them correctly rather than having to fix them later. I wanted to be sure that Mink had a good base of training before I started any work over fences. I began working extensively with Dressage trainers as well as participating in a Charles DeKunffy clinic.
It was in 1992, while we were boarding at Cherrywood Farm, that I realized that I had a desire to create and run horse shows. I approached the owner and asked if she would ever be interested in having one at her farm. She turned me loose to organize it. So off I went to try to put together the best show I could. It was so much fun! I wanted to be sure that it became the culmination of all of my show experiences to date. Ok… I did go a bit overboard. We had an open show in the indoor arena, a dressage show in a paddock and a hunter/jumper show in the outdoor arena. Yes… They each had their own separate judges and all took place at the same time. But it worked! I enlisted the aid of my friends and entire family. We actually recruited sponsors for all of the classes and created advertisement posters for each of them. We were the announcers, office secretaries, jump crew and awards committee, and still managed to ride in all three rings of the show. Oh, to be young again!
Realizing the fact that top-notch care is absolutely essential for these magnificent animals, it seemed that we were continually on a mission to find a place to board that would give the best in personalized care. Needless to say, we moved around a lot over the next few years. Thankfully, we did eventually find an entire barn to rent. It was the old Mane Event facility that became available when their co-op dispersed. It was sad to see the end of an era in the Mane Event but it did prove to be perfect timing for us. At that point in time, we owned six horses and baby Conner was already on the way. They were boarded at three separate places so I went around, scooped them up and plunked them all down together into what then became Timeless Farm.
It was fabulous to have the opportunity after all of these years to finally care for all of my animals myself. To be able to give them the daily care they deserved and all of the pampering they could stand. At that point, I knew that anyone else taking care of my horses would never be good enough. What I did not realize though, was that was the moment that decided the future of Timeless Farm. I never once consciously fathomed that just the simple love for my animals would drive me to create the working show facility it is today. I was very fortunate to have the backing and support of my family and the undying patience of my husband. Poor guy never knew what hit him! Having never been a horse person, it is all still a bit overwhelming for him. Understandably so!
I think the kicker was, in my husband’s acceptance of my horse obsession, the fact that on the warm, misty morning of June 16th, 1998, he was the first human to see baby Conner. After briefly thinking, “How did a deer get into the stall with Fredriqua?” He came running into the house screaming, “There’s a foal in the stall! There’s a foal in the stall!!” He was hooked.
As our horse family grew in size, first with the birth of Conner and the next year Corenn (see also: Corenn when more mature), we knew we needed to start looking for a place to of our own. The rental barn had restrictions on the number of horses it could house and obviously, our numbers were only increasing! We looked everywhere. I must have journeyed to see fifty properties! Not only were we on a very limited budget, I was very specific as to the property I had in mind. We couldn’t afford an existing facility, so it needed to be a fixer-upper with useable land. When I first saw 7431 Village Edge Road, I thought to myself, “This is it!” When I brought my family to see this perfect property the response was, “I don’t see it.” I was so disappointed. I just did not understand why they could not see my vision. I then proceeded to run around and explain how everything would look when it was done. They told me I was nuts. The house was trashed, the old dairy barn had 4 feet of 10 year old goat manure (it was most recently a goat milking establishment), corn fields, corn cribs, broken down buildings and a deceased pick-up truck parked in the lawn. But the land was perfect, the price was right and they must have seen the passion (insanity) in my eyes, so they went along with it. We all spent the next four months single-handedly remodeling everything from replacing the drywall in the house to laying the cement in the barn aisle. The only thing we did not, could not, do ourselves was the fencing and the erection of the indoor arena. The pictures speak for themselves (see below). We had a mile-high junk pile that lived in the back yard until the next spring! But how can you fully appreciate the end result without personally being involved in the difficult process? Timeless Farm officially opened December 1st, 1999.
With all of the hard work that goes along with keeping these critters happy, which of course is rewarding in itself, we are fortunate to have the exciting anticipation of babies to look forward to. Thanks to Stacy Bianchi, who had the amazing inspiration to import such a fabulous stallion as Corrado USA, I have been given the opportunity to breed for future world class prospects. I was very fortunate to have met Stacy in 1997, the year she imported Corrado. I had been looking for a youngster with bloodlines that showed potential for the upper levels in show jumping. It was evident that I would be hard pressed to find something of that caliber already on the ground, so I decided to make my own!
I knew that my beloved Mink (a.k.a. Somewhere In Time, hence "Timeless" Farm), who had shown amazing athleticism thus far, would be the ideal cross with those superb bloodlines. When I first bought Mink as a three year old, no one knew of the talent she possessed. She was actually advertised to me as a low-hunter prospect! That is why I feel so strongly that everything happens for a reason. Had we not moved on and found a trainer that had experience in the upper levels of show jumping, I would have never known that Mink was capable of accomplishing all that she has. In her very first year on the A-circuit in the 3'6" Adult Amateur jumpers, we won the entire Ledges Winter Circuit and then went on to be the Zone 6 Champions that year. We then quickly moved up to the 4'6" Amateur Owner and Modified jumpers. Mink had a spectacular jump and a heart of gold. Since five foot jumps were so effortless for her, we then set our sites on the Grand Prix ring.
I have to pause a moment to mention that, the year after we were Zone Champion, we won Reserve Champion -- second only to my sister and Chris (a.k.a. Nothing But Trouble). I have to mention the wonder horse that Chris eventually became. He had a rough start. Didn’t even become competitive until late in life. But he sure was a whirlwind! Mink and Chris were always champion and reserve at almost every show for a couple seasons. He didn’t have the huge jump that Mink did so when she moved up to the bigger heights of the Amateur Owner and Modified divisions, he had the mission of keeping the Adult Amateur blues in the family. And he did. He was so fast that he would consistently beat the horses that went on to win the national jumper finals! The year that Chris beat Mink for Zone Champion, my sister was really busy with school so I finished the season on him for her. I actually just edged Mink out so I basically beat myself when we got reserve! Like I said, keep the blues in the family! When Chris got older and Julie needed a new show horse, we found Anne. Once again we could not afford to keep them all as pets so Chris went on to be a little girl’s first horse in Harrisburg, PA. And I am sure he continued to make us proud!
Anne (a.k.a. Christal Clear) was a young, green, little mare that was actually just starting out in the hunter ring. She was a bit high strung, so we knew she would have the fire that would give her the edge that we need in the jumpers. She was originally just going to be an interim horse until Julie found a real prospect because she too did not have the jump for the big divisions. Apparently, Anne had other ideas about how long she was going to stick around. Even though she has never shown in the bigger divisions, she has never considered herself anything less than world class. Yes… She has a very high opinion of herself! And she proved it. Her reputation speaks for itself. For two years in a row (2001 and 2002), she qualified for Harrisburg and Washington in the Adult Amateur jumpers placing third at Washington last year. Last summer she won the Washington Adult Jumper Classic and the NAL Adult Jumper Classic at Equifest I and II. She still consistently wins classes against a lot bigger and more expensive horses. But nobody told her she couldn’t! Fortunately, in finally owning a farm and having the space, we now have the opportunity to keep all of our equine pets. Not that they don’t have to earn their keep. Anne earns hers by giving occasional lessons and being partial leased. She gives people the opportunity to learn and compete on an extremely talented animal.
Ok, end pause… I met Stacy at the height of Mink’s career. It was perfect timing because I wanted a baby to be ready to start when Mink neared retirement age. However, I did not want to take Mink out of the show ring so I started looking for a mare with the idea of a surrogate mom for an embryo transfer. Once again, luck was on my side when I found Fredriqua. She was an amazingly nice, young, hunter-type thoroughbred. She was a maiden mare though, so I wanted to breed her first to make sure she was breeding sound. Conner (a.k.a. The Highlander) is more than I could have ever hoped for without even planning on it! He is 17+ hands and a perfect hunter in every way. It’s funny that in my quest for the international jumper ring, I created legendary hunter material in Conner! It just goes to show that the mare has so much more bearing on what the baby will be than most people realize or care to admit.
That was why I knew that I had to have a baby from Mink to be my Olympic hopeful. However in my research, I quickly found that embryo transfers were risky and very expensive. Because I had very limited funds, I made the decision to sacrifice a couple years of Mink’s show career and breed her to Corrado. When Mink went back to work she gave her all to make up for lost time. She was even invited to represent the zone at the Capitol Challenge Horse Show in Washington, D.C.! We were well on track to conquer the Grand Prix ring when she tragically injured her eye on a bolt in a stall at a show. Although she tried hard to please me by still jumping around the huge courses and never saying no, her impaired eyesight severely hindered her ability to get around clean. We started to consistently have a rail or two in every class. It wasn’t so much her depth perception as it was her nervous tension. She became more and more worried, nervous, spooky, upset. I could just tell that, even though she would always try to give me 100%, she just wasn’t happy anymore.
It broke my heart to see her so distressed. After all of the fabulous years she had given me and after all we had accomplished, I had to give her what I knew she wanted: retirement. Even as I write this, it brings a tear to my eye. Our precious partnership in the show ring was over. But what is even more precious is that I know she is finally happy again. Grazing in the pasture, not a care in the world—except for her unborn baby. That’s right. Mink is bred again and her legacy will go on in her future children. Looking back I can safely say she was definitely the happiest when she was caring for Corenn (a.k.a. Coruscation). She is such a wonderful mom. I do have to admit that it suits my agenda as well. The thought of having more babies of such stellar proportions as Corenn is deliciously exciting!
I have to wonder if by now you have checked out the Corrado website and noticed that he is no longer available for breeding? Stacy chose to geld him a couple years ago for personal reasons. Over the years, we had become great friends and she knew that I had always wanted to breed to him again when Mink retired. She made me an incredible offer that I could not refuse. I now own the entire stash of frozen semen, the last remains of Corrado’s breeding career. Stacy knew that it could not go to a better home. She has always wanted to see the offspring go on to be the best they could in the show ring. My sister followed in my footsteps when she bought Corra (a.k.a. Time Honored) from Stacy -- a Corrado daughter of fabulous substance and quality. We’ve had her since she was a weanling so she is just as much part of the family as if she was born here. What an exciting future we have to look forward to!
Hope you enjoyed my story about the birth of Timeless Farm. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. I think one appreciates their life most by periodically considering the events and paths that brought us to where we are. Whatever dreams we have, whatever obsessions consume us, it’s that which molds us as humans. I feel very, very fortunate to have all that I do. Not for lack of hard work, blood, sweat, tears and stress. But these animals make it all worth it. I am also very fortunate to have acquired such amazing people in my students. It’s them that I do this for as well. To try to create a place that I know I would have appreciated all of those years ago. To try to guide and educate from my experience because it’s the mileage that we learn from… and then there’s the wisdom to pass on…