Very Special Memories of Very Special Horses!

After 25 years in the breeding business, standing 15 stunning stallions at stud through the years, and breeding over 500 outside mares, we have retired to a quieter life on our beloved North Dakota ranch of 160 rolling acres and a pastoral setting with incredible views. As one might guess, after 25 years with some wonderful horses and meeting so many fabulous has a number of stories to share of joys and sorrows and everything in between. We'd like to share a few of those with you of the following horses and how they immeasurably impacted our lives.

Both of the above photos of National Champion Hi-Fashion Imperial+++ were taken by us at our place after his rescue. Many more can be seen in old issues of The Arabian Horse the issues around l976. He was 25 years of age at the time these photos were taken.

Hi Fashion Imperial+++

"We found this National Champion at a killer sale!"

Certainly one of our favorite memories and likely the most touching, was rescuing the beautiful National Champion stallion, Hi Fashion Imperial+++, from a killer sale! Sometimes luck, sometimes it is perhaps the intervention of God, one finds themselves at the right place at the right time. We had arrived at the horse sale late in the afternoon looking for a pony mare for our "teaser" pony stallion. Killer horses always sell in the morning and we never attend that sad event as often they are injured or very old and one can't do much about most of it. As we walked the "cat walk" late that warm March afternoon trying to spot a pony mare or two for our "teaser pony stallion", we saw the most unreal sight off in the distance. There was a regal white image with neck arched and tail held high as he protected himself in a very small muddy pen with between 20 to 30 horses, kicking and squealing. About that time, a close friend of ours came running up and said she had heard that a local outfit which had moved horses in from California (some 250 of them) to a local ranch had run a number of them through the killer sale that morning. We ran home quickly to look in some of the old Arabian Horse magazines as we thought the white horse we had seen might be the stallion, Hi Fashion Imperial+++, as we were aware of a number of stallions and who they were that had arrived at that Ranch. The books confirmed that it was highly likely that the horse we had spotted was the National Champion Ferzon son, now age 24, that had once been syndicated and managed out in CA. Literally dozens of pictures confirmed that we were right! We must have exceeded the speed limit by quite a bit...but we had a mission. As we arrived back at the sales barn, the killer horses were already being loaded into semi trailers. We were so afraid we had missed the stallion. We ran in a panic to the office and they agreed to page the killer buyer that had purchased the white stallion. He actually appeared and with quick negotiations, we offered him $100 more than he had paid for the horse. For $320 the man cut out the stallion and handed him over to us covered in mud. When my husband approached him, the stallion buried his face in his chest and nickered to him as if to say..".take me out of here, I don't belong!" The tears still flow when I remember that picture. We took him home and bathed his ragged coat and bedded him down in a warm, safe stall. He was so starved and thin we could see every bone. Then, we were unsure what to do with him or how to find his owner. We knew he has once stood at stud at Marathon Farms, but, of course, none of those phone numbers worked after nearly 15 years. Finally after talking with The Arabian Horse Registry we were able to contact his actual owner who was then retired in Florida. The owner turned out to be Sam Groome, a former football player for the Green Bay Packers, who also had owned the US National Res. Champion stallion, Zarr Hussain. It was an interesting conversation and at first he thought I was some crazy lady who wanted money or who knows what. He truly did not believe us as he had been told the horse was dead. I gave him enough information about the outfit that had brought the horses in from California that finally he asked me to shave down the horse's markings and send photos to him. We did that and, needless to say, when he got those photos he did confirm that this was indeed his HiFashion Imperial+++ who had been syndicated in CA for $750,000! To say that he was mad was an understatement! I offered to send the stallion to him but after much consideration, he called me back. He asked if we would be interested in caring for the stallion as he was afraid if he boarded him somewhere, he might again be mistreated. He finally said that since we had cared enough to rescue the stallion, he was likely in the right hands and he would agree to sign any registration forms if we would like to use him for breeding in trade for his care. The kindest disposition we have ever seen in a stallion, this wonderful creature lived with us until age 28 when he quietly went to meet his maker having left behind an addtional legacy of 24 purebred and partbred foals. In his last moments he pawed at his stall door and asked to go out one last time. We turned him loose without a halter. He made the rounds to all the mares, talking softly to each, then returned to his stall and laid down in the soft bedding and quietly breathed his last. We like to think he now is the lead horse for Elijah's chariot which would be a fitting life in eternity for such a magnificent horse.


"Our first (and only) premature foal. Hey! you're not supposed to be here yet! "

By far the cutest foal we have ever seen! Right from the beginning he had a perfect topline, an upright carriage, and a tail sprouted from this backend like a fountain. This little guy, sired by the Regional Champion stallion, Chamus, and out of our Magic Dream daughter, entered this world as a premature foal a full 6 weeks early. No one told us that these seldom make it and if they do the legs are bad as the bone is so soft that they basically cave in. We did recognize immediately that he had no sucking instinct so we would milk the mare and sort of pour it down his throat. Like the Bedouins whose horses lived in the tent with them, we decided we needed to live with this colt and his mom. Thus into the stall we moved, sleeping bags and all. Little "Chester" as we began calling him, was so tiny that we made a divider 1 straw bale high which was too high for him to go over just to give him a safe spot. We had no baby blanket small enough for this colt, so when he would lay down, which was most of the time, we wrapped him snugly in a big soft "people" blanket. When he needed to get up to eat or do his duty, we held him up. By two weeks, he was finally making it on his own...which when we look back at it, was still nearly a month before he should have arrived. His story continues, but is not yet over! He is now a champion, with perfect legs and he is simply as gorgeous and correct as his breeding says he should be. His first foals are arriving this year. His new owner now calls him "Sparky" because of his energetic attitude and he is now being readied for a future reining career. Watch for him again in the show ring in performance!

"Little Orphan Annie"

Our first orphan foal!

Sired by our gorgeous LF Austin and out of a Champion RhoKheem daughter, nearly everyone we talked to, when this little gal was born, said "put her down, they never amount to anything"....including our trainer at the time. We couldn't imagine doing that, so we went on a mission to figure out what to do. We also had watched others lose their orphans either due to the death of the mare or in another case the mare refusing the foal. In both cases, the foals had died from ulceration of the colon...too many acids with nothing to digest. Our filly had gotten the necessary colostrum as we did not lose the mare, but the mare had developed, with 24 hours of the birth, an infection that became so painful that she could not nurse her foal. We were told that treating the mare would cause her to dry up and at that point, we could not milk the mare, anyway, due to her pain. We had to come up with some solution and quickly if we were to save this baby. Nowhere in the entire city of Bismarck, did anyone have any foal milk replacer! And....we had called everywhere....the best we could do until we could overnight express in the product, was put the foal on lambs milk replacer. That turned out to be awful. It contained too much fat content and we struggled for the next day with loose bowel movements and colic. Finally the foal replacement milk arrived and we thought we had everything handled, however, now she was being given a third formula to which she had to adjust. We still worked to stop her problems by feeding her every two hours with a baby bottle. We had watched numerous foals with their moms over the years and knew that unlike calves, they eat sometimes as often as every 20 minutes. We had to come up with something to free choice this foal. My creative husband devised a wonderful wall feeder where we could put three large plastic bottles with a lambs nipple on the end angled downward. We drilled a hole in the back of each and filled from the top as needed with a funnel. We could now let this filly free choice as much as she needed, when she needed. The results were extraordinary. This foal thrived and certainly did not lose one bit of growth (though we estimated it cost us $700 for the "Foal Lac" to get her to 3 months). Annie grew to be a full 15.2h and has gone on to produced her own lovely babies. Since then we have helped numerous people save their orphans. Our vet clinic has started referring people to us. When we have been called and asked for help with their orphan foal. They would all tell us that the vet said "Call the Robinsons...they know how to save them!" Our feeder has now been on the walls of numerous stalls with wonderful results and not a single healthy orphan foal has been lost!


"Our filly born with severe contracted tendons"

The arrival of this long awaited pinto National Show Horse filly turned rapidly from what we had expected to be a celebration to one of desperation. The mare had waxed 6 days earlier and just never seemed to get to the foaling part. All the vets said..."oh, don't worry", but we were worried! This did not seem normal to us after having foaled out nearly 100 mares over the years. We were right...this was not a good sign. The mare finally foaled and as we toweled off the beautiful little filly, we first noticed blood shot red eyes. Then we saw that her front knees were the size of small foot balls and she could not stand no mater how she tried. She had a huge hernia the size of a baseball and you could feel the opening in the tummy area. The pasterns were quite bent over, but even if they had not been too bad, those knees were going to be a problem. We had been through this once before and had gotten vet assistance but the final results were, quite frankly, awful....even though we had saved the colt. They had put stilts on the front legs from elbow to pastern. Then they had given a drug to relax the tendons so the front legs would straighten out. The problem that created was that the tendons relaxed on all four legs and the end result was that the colt could not get himself up at all. The stilts on the front made it impossible for the colt to raise himself and the back legs were so weak from the tendon relaxer that they also were too weak for him to raise himself. For three weeks we had to lift him up and down. The final result was a cowhocked horse who was never sound and would go lame with any running about. This time we decided to figure it out for ourselves. Though everything we read offers us a great number of explanations as to why these foals are born this way, from too big for the womb to dozens of other ideas, we have actually come to believe it is some kind of infection in the womb. Instead of those horrible stilts from elbow to knee, we designed braces for only the pasterns with a short piece of PCV pipe, two rolls of gauze and duct tape. The gauze fit in the pastern area below the joint and then right above the joint. We then padded the pastern with cotton and wrapped the entire joint and brace with vet wrap. The final touch was duct tape which we taped to the actual hoof and then up the entire area of vet wrap and brace. This attachment to the hoof kept the brace from moving and causing damage to the skin. This was redone every other day with the addition of talcum powder to keep the leg dry under the wrap. The result of this was that the filly immediately got up and walked on those folded over knees! However she could not stand for very long periods of time, so we had to milk the mare and feed her from a bottle or hold her up. We then, being convinced that this is some kind of infection, put the filly on a twice a day routine of the anti-biotic "naxel". Within 3 days, the hernia was nearly gone and by a week it was completely gone (we have used this on another colt born with a hernia and had the same surgery!!!) The other problem we did run into, however, was that the filly was so weak, that she could still not stand for long periods of time. We had to milk the mare each time. The problem with people milking mares is that the mare's brain does not respond correctly by releasing the oxytocin to increase milk production as does natural nursing by the foal. Therefore, by day 4 we were not getting much from the mare and she was drying up. Nor could this crippled filly get around outside and keep up with the mare (who had been patient, but by day 4 really wanted out of that stall). Having had experiences raising bottle babies, we knew how to do that so the decision was made. We would raise her as a bottle baby. We set up the now much used feeder and took turns for the next week getting up every two hours to hold her up to the feeder. By a week and a half, she was getting up on her own...we'd made it. She would butt us out of the way in her stall and hourly make rounds, leaning against the wall when she was tired. Somehow, instinct let her know, that she had to walk or she would die. Slowly the swelling in the knees had gone down along with the hernia healing and by the third week, we could take off one brace at a time and let her walk as far as the end of the alleyway by her stall. By two months, those legs were coming along beautifully and she could run and buck. We would clap for her and cheer and she would show off her legs. She is now age 3, measures 15.3h and will to this day show off her legs when we clap and cheer for her! She is absolutely sound with, as our farriar says, better legs than a lot of normal horses he has seen. She won our hearts with her amazing will to survive.


"To the stars through adversity!"

Through the terrible tragedy of losing our first champion Strike son to colic at the age of only 2 years, we took up the challenge of finding a replacement of breeding age. We flew to California to meet with Brad Gallun and literally looked at every available Srike son that fit our criteria of being halter quality and of breeding age, either by video or in person. None quite came up to our standard, so at the end of a few days, Brad suggested we at least come out into the barn to look an imported Polish stallion that was now up for sale, not a Strike son, but with some of the bloodlines in which we had expressed an interest. That horse, though very nice as well, again just did not "do it" for us. Dejectedly we admitted defeat and were headed back to the office quite sad that we were having to fly out the next day for home with no stallion replacement. We walked by the stall of a young weanling colt silhouetted against the stall window. With the sun just setting, we saw this gorgeous archy neck, beautiful head, and level topline. We both took two steps back and said in unison....."WHO IS THAT?" Brad replied, that he was indeed a Strike son, but only a baby so did not fit our criteria. My husband has always maintained that a boy horse is just a boy horse, but a stallion should be something so powerful that even people in a hurry will stop and back up three steps and ask, "Who is that?" We had just done that and our criteria which had been age 2 or up, had just changed. We had to have this colt! Negotiations began in earnest and thus, LF Austin came into our lives as an unshown but breath taking 7 month old colt who moved like magic on four legs. He was shown at Scottsdale in an unequaled class of 67 of the finest colts in the country. He placed 3rd on the judges cards for his first "Scottsdale top 10". He went on to win many more Championships, another Scottsdale top 10, "Most Classic" titles, "Most Classic Head" titles and performance championships in Western Pleasure. He produced National Champion, RCK Austintatious, numerous Champions who also received Regional and Scottsdale titles such as his sons, Steel Magnolia and Savor the Moment. One of his lovely fillies, Soliloquy, who was named Junior Champion the first time as a weanling was later exported to Mexico.Another of his gorgeous sons won the Dakota Classic Championship and money in a class of 27! Too numerous to mention, many of Austin's sons and grandsons stand at stud producing winning offspring and his daughters are prized as broodmares in the hands of those who use them for breeding. Our memories of this magnificent stallion and his get will live with us forever.


"The first syndicated Arabian in the state!"

Patek Phillipe, our exciting son of the fabulous *Aladdinn and out of a *Bask daughter, was the first syndicated Arabian ever to stand at stud in North Dakota. We bought this gorgeous 2 year old colt in the early l980's, just before the show season up here was about to start. *Aladdinn was a hot number having just produced numerous National Champions son's and daughters. This young colt was considered "the golden cross", a proven cross of *Aladdinn on *Bask daughters. He had an incredibly stiff price on him and so visiting with friends, we decided to make him the first syndicated Arabian in the Dakotas. We jumped through the necessary hoops of state law, got him approved, and by the time he arrived in North Dakota, his shares were nearly sold out. One of his first large shows was the largest show held in our state at the time, The North Dakota State Fair. Richard Schrake was the judge and we all paced just a bit before Patek headed to the show ring. As he went in, he displayed what would become his classic entry form of his gorgeous tail thrown over his back, head high and a parky trot that just took your breath away. He immediately won his 2 year old class, then was named Junior Champion. He took the "Most Classic Title" and was named Grand Champion Stallion (the Senior stallion class of 9 that year actually contained two stallions who had won National top 10 titles!) Judge Richard Schrake also named him Supreme Show Champion over all the Champions! Whew....our investment was a good one and you can bet we all did celebrate! He was owned by numerous Arabian enthusiats for a number of years and shown to many additional Championships. His offspring had his "look at me" attitude and many purebreds and partbreds went on to win numerous championship. His beautiful pinto filly, RCK Country Lace, has received National top 10 honors in performance and is still carrying her young riders to victory! In l994 Patek Phillipe was exported to Mexico where he continues to pass on his legacy for the Ordenez family.

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