Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Project

Well today had its good parts and its bad parts. We had a great crew for our fencing project. Mike, Karin, me and Steven Marchal. We started in the morning before the ground defrosted. Got all the holes dug and started setting the posts, then came the mud. We could not use the skid steer to get the cement and posts close to the holes. We had to carry 60 pound bags of cement down a slippery muddy ravine, then up the other side. If Steven hadn't of shown up we would have quit. He was invaluable, strong and steady as a horse. Karin and I gave up after carrying just a few each, He just kept picking up a 60 pound bag down the hill and up the other side. Karin and I worked on setting the posts in the ground. Mike kept us supplied with cement and poles and finally Karin said something to him about us not being men and carrying the cement was wearing us out. Mike told us it can't be that bad and had Karin load 2 bags on his shoulders. He made it down, up and over to the dug holes, then said, "that about KILLED me!" We burst out laughing. We were short 2 post as we ended up putting more on the long side than we thought we would. Then Mike's truck got stuck in the mud and we had to get the big tractor to pull it out. Everyone was so tired that when we knew we needed chains the thought of walking through the mud to the barn was to awful to comprehend. Mike decided to use the tractor to push the truck out. The tractor still had the bale spear on the loader so he thought he could very gently put the spear into the trailer hitch and push. Good thought but didn't happen, the spear went between the bumper and hitch and punctured his spare tire. That's what happens when we take short cuts. Will we ever learn? All in all it was a good day.

Free Mare

UPDATE: THEY HAVE FOUND A HOME FOR HER, THANK YOU TO ALL WHO WROTE IN. We were contacted by a lady with a black registered paint mare she would like to find a home for. THEY HAVE FOUND A HOME FOR HER~ The mare is 16.1 and was a show horse until in 2006 she contacted West Nile. She is breeding sound, has a current coggins, has great ground manners, and would be a good cross with Raven as she is tall and black. So if anyone out there can give a mare a good home contact us and I'll give you her email. The mare is at their home in Tremont, IL. We will help her find a home for her by giving a discounted breeding of $650.00. This would be a great way to get a valuable Friesian cross big and black without a huge cost and a RAVEN baby always keeps its value. The picture to the left was taken last summer.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Our Farrier

Our farrier, Tyler Joos, was scheduled at the Hanna City farm for the 11 horses we have there today at 11:00am. Tyler is always so prompt that I always plan on being there an hour early. Today I barely had time to get the mud off. It's days like today after an inch of rain that I wonder if we really want all these feathers on our horses. Ribbon was the most important to get done as she is scheduled for the horse fair March 6th, 7th and 8th. Her feathers are so thick and curly that I wanted a hair dryer. I went through almost half my towels on her. The other 2 that are hard to get the mud out of are Sanna and Ylse. Samantha and Jenis are bad but not as bad as the first three. Raven is the easiest to keep clean of the Friesians because he doesn't LIKE to get muddy. Don't get me wrong, he likes to roll as much as the others but most of the time he picks a good spot. Tyler was pleased they were ready and waiting and he made great time. He is also going to be down at the fair giving horse shoeing demonstrations. He is probably going the be the best farrier in the central IL area. I'm so glad he is ours.
We made an appointment for Dr. Hoerr to come out on March 12th, for 2 sonagrams, Clara the Tennessee Walker and Ribbon our vaulting horse. Clara also needs her coggins drawn and Bella, Rachel Sauder's filly needs a health paper drawn as she is leaving for New York.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Auction day

Even though we grow our own hay we are always in the market for more so this very rainy, cold morning I traveled out to Princeville, IL as there was an auction for 350 round bales of hay. It started at 11:00am but I had to take a trip out to the Hanna City farm first to meet the carpenter so instead of getting there at 10:00am I arrived at 10:40am. No problem, I was able to get a good look at the hay and decided what I wanted to bid on. I ended up buying 82 really nice alfalfa grass mix, 3rd cutting, stored inside, big round bales. I still have to get it transported but it is a good feeling knowing that we have enough hay for our herd when we bring them all back to the Hanna City farm. We don't have the equipment to put our own hay up so between what we hire other farmers to do and what we have to buy our hay bill for the year is usually around $11,000.00. Funny how RICH I feel when we have a barn full of good hay!
I have a lady interested in breeding her 2 Brabant mares to Raven in May. This will be the first time we ever crossed Raven with that breed. Should be interesting to see what the cross can produce. I'll have to ask for pictures!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Preparing for the IL Horse Fair

We have so much to do to get ready for this huge event held March 6th, 7th, and 8th. Our vaulters have been working hard all winter. We have new warm-ups for our uniforms, Ribbon is almost too fit and now Karin is worried she will act up during the performance. Over 10,000 people come through the fair and we want to look our best. We are trying to win first place in the crowd appeal division so if any of you are going, please be sure to cheer LOUDLY for us. We will have fresh popped popcorn, warm delicious cotton candy, other sweets and this year even some cute horse bracelets for the children at our stall. Please stop by for goodies or just come by to talk.
One of our fund raiser ideas for the vaulters is maybe holding a raffle for a free breeding to Raven but each year we are pretty booked up with customers so I don't think I can talk my partners into this. Mike handles most of the breedings and last summer he said I worked him too hard, in fact his exact words were, "you're killing me!" I try not to over book but some mares don't go out when we expect and some come in earlier. Last year we had to put some of our customers off for a couple of weeks so we decided we must have more space available for outside mares and have all the lumber bought,just waiting for the weather to break to start putting it up. We had to use Raven twice a day for weeks at a time, don't get the wrong idea, RAVEN loves his job and is ALWAYS willing. What a life he has, he only has one job and he does it so well. The picture is of the Iowa Horse Fair held in Des Moine, IA in April 2008. Ribbon was 10 months pregnant at the time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Yesterday we were in St. Louis for a training session all day, so I check my email this morning and 6 hits on our horses for sale. Unfortunately they are ALL from scammers but luckily these are all easy to identify. I've only had one that was actually believable in 15 years so I thought today I would help people identify a scammer. If there is lots of misspelled words or incorrect grammar most likely it is a scammer. If they want the present condition and best price, probably scammer. The one that was most believable went into detail of what she was training for and even sent me pictures of her horses telling me which was her favorite but then she let the cat out of the bag by telling me she would pay by Western Union or cashiers checque. When I replied we don't accept those, only credit cards, cash, personal checks that must have time to clear or wire transfers I didn't hear back from her. (Probably wasn't a lady but the pictures sent were of a lady on a horse)All of us in the horse world need to be aware of these cheaters. When I was complaining about all of the scam emails Mark, my husband said they wouldn't keep doing it if they weren't getting any money. Another big scam is to see an ad for purebred Friesian, picture and all, for sale for an unbelievable price. Those people want you to send money to hold the horse or you need to send the full price right away and we will ship the horse for free. I actually knew of someone that did that. Her name is Dawn and she was from Rushville, IL. She emailed me about this beautiful Friesian mare she was getting for only $5500.00 The money was gone and she never got the horse. If it seems to good to be true it probably is. But we all want a good deal and it is hard to pass up a bargain. A good way to check for a scam is to say you want to come see the horse first. Even this won't be a perfect safeguard. There was one scammer who insisted his horse was a purebred Friesian, it didn't look like one in the pictures but he said the pictures didn't do it justice, but the price was so good people kept sending money. Ask to see the horse, then ask to see the papers. If there is no papers and the horse looks like a draft cross (one was a small quarter horse) it is NOT a Friesian and without papers of no more value than any other horse. It would be very rare for a purebred Friesian not to have papers even if the papers were 'lost' the registry would have them so that is not a good excuse. So NEVER, NEVER take Western Union or Bank Checks or cashier's checks (especially if they are spelled checques. All of those can be counterfeit and can take months for the bank to find out. When the bank finds out it is counterfeit, they collect the money from you so you are out the horse and the money. Never send money without checking into the papers of the horse, if possible go SEE the horse in person or send someone if you can't go yourself. Or best of all only buy from a reputable breeder. Be CAREFUL!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

phone calls

This morning it is 18 degrees outside and windy but at least there is no new snow. I got the weanling foals watered and checked halters. I needed to remove Belle's but Jewell's was fine. Both girls come as soon as they see me and were good. We have Belle here until she is picked up by her new owner from New York. when Belle leaves we will bring in Chiquite's colt and Autumn's colt for weaning. Jewell can teach them some manners. Those boys are best buds, it would be wonderful if I could sell them to the same owner. (anyone interested make me an offer)
The first phone call I took today was someone wanting to buy Raven for the listed price of $750.00. I very patiently told him that Raven is not for sale, he is for stud. After much discussion I thought I had explained our operation very thoroughly when he said, "I just have one more question, What do you mean by for stud?"
I think he now understands. The next phone call was for Joy. Joy belongs to Ruth Davidovics and as she is a Raven daughter we have her placed on our website. I gave her, the lady interested, both of Ruth's numbers. Then I had 2 emails on Joy. I sure hope one of them buys her so people can start looking at what we have available. Joy is really adorable, The first time my daughter saw her she told Ruth, awwww she should be called Snuggles. Some days I spend more time selling Raven's sons and daughters that belong to our customers than our own horses, but I guess that is what sells the stud fees. My last phone call today was for Samantha. I am so torn about selling her. Samantha and Sanna were imported together when they were 18 months old. They have never been separated and they are so content together. They will be 20 this year, How can I do this? I know with this economy I should jump at the chance to sell her. I'm praying that there will be another way and somehow they can stay together.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Round Bales

With the predicted snow, yesterday Mike went to Middle Grove to move in more round bales and fill the water tank. He moved in 4 and there was still a bale and a half not eaten so the horses there are doing well. Good thing he went then, this morning there is blowing snow and cold. We have 19 at that farm currently but that number is always changing. We should be bringing in the 2 mares that have foals by their sides and wean. Both of the colts are old enough but since the dams are not losing weight and neither of them are bred back we will wait until it is more convenient weather and time. We will be bringing all of them in off the fields and to the Hanna City farm to join the 11 we currently have there in March so the field at Middle Grove has a chance to grow. This is good land management but when the horses are used to the free range of 80 acres with a clear water creek and then bring them into small dry lots it sure seems cruel. We are working on fencing about 8 acres behind our dry lots so this year at least we should be able to keep them as a herd instead of separating them into groups. With this much snow on the ground the fencing project will have to be put off a bit. I'm glad for all the work we got done out there last Saturday.
Clara was not in season so we will try for a few more days then schedule a sonagram to see if she settled when she was bred on Feb. 2nd.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Clara the Tennessee Walker

Today we will check to see if Clara is in season. Clara is a 6 year old registered Tennessee Walker. She is a true cremello as she has blue eyes. After we confirm her in foal to Raven she will be brought in to Bridlewood Stables for Steven to start undersaddle training. Clara was purchased as a weanling for $5000.00 and shown in halter and won championships. Her owner has used Clara as a brood mare 2 years ago but she has not been bred since. We found Clara to be very sweet, good ground manners and willing to try what ever we have asked of her. Hope she has a beautiful buckskin foal.
In March we will be breeding 2 paint mares to Raven, one is a chestnut and white and the other black and white. We will be interested to see if Raven can throw spots.

Past Horses

I got an email today from one of my customers that she found her horse she had been looking for for 4 to 5 years. She had sold her Arabian mare, then regretted selling her and started searching for her. She is ecstatic and I am very happy for her. This brought to mind our pony Ranger pictured on the left. We leased him to a Pony Club family in WI and when they wanted to buy him we let them. Even though our girls had out grown him, we regretted losing him and tried to buy him back but can no longer find the family that bought him. Ranger is a Welsh Cob section B, his registered name is Inaway Windwalker, he is 13 hands and a beautiful buttermilk buckskin color. If anyone out there has seen him or knows of him please contact us. We really just want to make sure he is OK and would be GLAD to take him back.
In the past, horses were considered livestock, now that people are learning what horses are really like they are our family pets and when a lost one is found there is rejoicing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our Trainers

I wanted to mention a couple of people that have been so valuable to our business. The first one is Steven Marchal pictured at the left with Athena when she was only 2 years old. He is a C3 pony clubber that grew up (in the horse world) here at Bridlewood. I can still remember the first time he came to the barn with his parents and now he is the manager of CIRTS (Central IL Riding Therapy). He left Bridlewood when he went off to college at Murray State University in Kentucky. He did not leave the horse world behind but instead first took our Lily down to school with him and then Athena. By the time he came back with Athena she was ready to be shown. He has a talent for bringing along the young ones. The man that bought Athena calls every now and again with an update and almost always tells me that their instructor tells him that the person who started Athena did a great job. Good job STEVEN!

The other I want to mention is a girl named Emily. We gave Emily kind of a hard job. We sent her Big Sally. Big Sally came to us with some not so good habits. At the age of 5 she had never been trained under saddle and only just started at driving at 2years then left alone for 3 years. She didn't respect people and was so large that she was almost dangerous. Sally was also herd bound and would be so focused on where the other horse were she wouldn't pay any attention to the handler. Emily taught Sally ground manners, lunging, and then put her under saddle. Sally came back to us respectful, we can ride her with or without a saddle, single or double. Best of all she wants to please. Sally is due this May and is currently out with the herd at MiddleGrove. We will bring her in to Bridlewood to foal out as this is her first foal. Good job EMILY!

Raven's stud fee

This morning my daughter was surfing the web looking at all the Friesian stallions that are now cross breeding. She made the statement that some of them have dropped their stud fee way down maybe we should also.
I explained to her that the stud fee is just part of the cost. Most stallion owners do not allow live cover, a customer that books with them will also have the cost of a vet on both ends, their vet to sonagram the mare each day to figure out when semen was needed, then our vet to come collect the stallion, prepare the semen for shipping and then the cost to ship the semen, then more cost from their vet to inseminate their mare. AND... if their vet is off by a day or so the mare won't get pregnant and ALL of those cost will have to be done again plus losing precious time waiting for the mare to cycle. The other reason we won't reduce our stud fee is that a RAVEN baby is almost ALWAYS superior to other Friesian stallion's cross baby. We know what Raven throws, his foals can be seen on our website on the photogallery page. Raven not only throws beautiful, athletic babies with good minds but they all take after him more than their own dam. This is what we call improving on the mare. a pretty general fact of breeding is that usually you will get 75% of the mare and only 25% of the stallion. When a stallion throws himself by improving on the mare (the foal looks more like the stallion than the mare) not only is it rare but pretty wonderful and VERY valuable. So, long story short, we do NOT need to reduce our price, if a customer wants the best they are usually willing to pay for the best. I've placed one of my favorite pictures of Raven. He is so kind and loving and this photo of his face reminds me of my blessings.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vaulting practice tonight

We had a great vaulting practice tonight. Last week Ribbon was not good on the lunge line and the instructor, Karin Meister, asked me to come work with her. I worked with her Saturday and saw the problem and think we have it fixed. We have 10 vaulters going down to the Illinois Horse Fair March 6th, 7th, and 8th. This is usually our biggest performance of the year but this year we are also going to be performing at the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, Wisconsin which we heard was HUGE.
If anyone is coming to either Horse Fairs, please stop by our stalls. We LOVE showing off our vaulting horse and talking about RAVEN.
Below is our vaulting video from the Northern IL horse fest last August.

cross breeding or not?

Today I took a call from a man from New York. His first words to me where WHY are you cross breeding? FHANA people take great dislike to this and have actually threatened me. I told him that I will never crossbreed my purebred Friesian mares but with Raven there is a very good reason for crossing him with other breeds. We are always looking to improve on a mare. Friesian crosses are wonderful horses. A purebred Friesian is never going to make a good jumper. They are just too big boned and heavy but a Friesian crossed with a lighter boned horse such as a TB or Arabian can make a wonderful jumper, hunter, and eventer. The cross has the good mind of the Friesian, but is athletic enough for combined training. Combined training is very hard on a horse and it is unusual to find one still competing into their teens but the Friesian cross holds up better than a purebred because of the heavier bone and their more relaxed attitude. Raven babies are just not nervous horses and love working, traveling and meeting people. Isn't this a real reason to cross Raven with other breeds?
In conclusion we like FHANA, and they definitely have a place in the horse world. All of my purebred Friesian mares are Dutch registered and belong to FHANA as do I but we also believe there is a real place in our world for the wonderful Friesian cross.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Eva Jean at Berean Prison Ministry

Tuesday's I work for Berean Prison Ministry and my helper is Eva Jean. She works circles around me. This would be ok except she is more than 20 years older than I am. She puts me to shame. Today we didn't have a lot of mail as our studies didn't get mailed out for 2 weeks. Eva Jean decided this was NOT to happen again and she 'fired' the lady that was suppose to mail them out. Although how a volunteer can get fired is a mystery to me. Now Eva Jean not only takes the studies home to stuff she also is going to stamp them out and get them mailed. We are not talking a few, we are talking hundreds of studies each week.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Yesterday Ribbon broke down a fence to get to Raven so we knew she was in season. We fixed the gate she smashed through and got her covered by Raven our Friesian stallion, then as it is not yet our busy season we left Ribbon in with Raven. He was so happy for the company. Today I went out early to work on fencing and as I drove up I could see both Ribbon and Raven lying side by side in the hay. Cute! Ribbon is our vaulting horse and we did not breed her after she delivered her filly last year because of her vaulting performances. If she would settle now, she would deliver the end of January 2010. That would work out well for the March IL Horse Fair. We would take the foal to Springfield with us. Last fall we took her filly, Princess, to the Northern IL Horse Fest and she was the star of the show. She loved the attention and was very well behaved while her mom was performing. Princess was pretty fabulous so we sure hope Ribbon will settle quickly.
For many pictures of Ribbon and her 2008 filly Princess, please visit our website

Sunday, February 15, 2009

our Friesian stallion Raven

This picture of our Friesian stallion RAVEN was taken by my sister and favorite photographer Rachel Sauder. To see more of her work please visit her website:

Ylse in foal to our Friesian stallion RAVEN

My daughter Rhoda was training Ylse in the new fallen snow at our Hanna City farm when a coyote ran out in front of them. I included the coyote in the video. Ylse (pronounced Elsie) is in foal our Friesian stallion RAVEN. My daughter Sarah picked out the music we added to the video. It just seemed to fit.

posted by Judy Sceggel

Our Friesian Stallion RAVEN

Feb 15th, 2009: This is my first attempt at blogging.
Today in church my nephew whose blog address I've posted on my horsemeister website told me that I needed to start a blog.
so..... This is for Nathan Herman!
Nate, I've learned about fishing from you, would you like to learn about horses from me. Not just any horses, how about Friesian horses?

We stand our Friesian stallion RAVEN at our Hanna City, Illinois farm.

The story of how we acquired Raven is a miracle to me and now it looks like I'll be writing it for anyone that is interested.
When my daughter, Rhoda was 9 years old we went down the the IL Horse Fair in Springfield, IL for her vaulting team. Our vaulting horse was an older quarter horse named Moose owned by Charlene. He was stalled right next to this beautiful Friesian gelding that was hanging out of his stall just asking for people to pet him. Right then and there I knew I wanted one of those horses! I had never seen such a beautiful animal that absolutely craved attention from people.
It took 3 years of saving, asking my dad for a loan and borrowing from the bank (the 2 year plan) to buy my first Friesian mare named Duurke. She was a star mare and had been imported from the Netherlands. We were so thrilled with her disposition and introduced her to our vaulting team. Duurke was so willing and loved the kids and put up with them crawling all over her, she made a great vaulting horse. I decided that if we were ever going to need to replace her, I'd better breed her as I didn't feel I would ever be able to afford to buy another one. I found a purebred Friesian stallion in Iowa and had Duurke taken there to be bred. I got the phone call from the stallion's owner that Duurke was colicking and what did I want done. I asked her to take Duurke to the Ames Iowa University for colic surgery. Unfortunately Duurke did not survive, she was too far gone by the time she arrived. I was pretty devastated as I had not yet finished paying for the loans I had taken out to buy her. She was not insured and I had tremendous vet bills on top of losing her.
I made up my mind at that point that NEVER again would I send away one of my mares to be bred. After paying off my loans I let a couple of years go by but I just couldn't give up my dream. I started praying about buying a Friesian stallion and started surfing the web. When I saw RAVEN for sale, I could feel God saying "There is your stallion." I turned to my husband and told him this was the horse I would like to buy. Mark, my loving and very patient husband said very emphatically NO!!! I did not expect this as I had always worked for what ever I bought and didn't think he should have the right to say no but I was a good wife and didn't whine or anything. (boy was it hard to keep my mouth shut) I just prayed and told God that if this was really my horse then He would need to change Mark's mind. After 20 minutes Mark said that if my sister Diane would agree to go in on RAVEN and be my partner I could buy RAVEN. I couldn't wait to call Diane and she said YES! footnote: Mark said Diane has never disappointed him more.
It was actually far far better to have a partner then trying to run this business myself. Diane's husband, Mike is an attorney but really is a want to be cowboy and loves horses. Diane is the financial brains and I get to do what I love best, educating people on the wonderful Friesian and showing off all of our Friesian stallion RAVEN'S offspring. Our Friesian stallion Raven is absolutely fantastic. Not all Friesian stallions are very fertile but RAVEN is EXTREMELY fertile. When our vet came out the first time to collect him he couldn't believe the quantity, quality and mobility of his sperm. Raven can inseminate over 30 mares per collection. Not all Friesian stallions stamp their beauty, conformation, and sweet loving Friesian disposition on their foals but RAVEN does. The other quality Raven throws is his FANTASTIC movement. Raven babies are now old enough to compete and are WINNING in dressage. A Raven son took GRAND CHAMPION over crossbred Friesians AND purebred Friesians at the FSHR inspections. Take a look at our photo gallery on our website of Raven's offspring on Raven has OVER 100 foals on the ground and almost all of them take after RAVEN much more than the foal's dam.
We know our Friesian stallion RAVEN is truly our gift from GOD!
FOOTNOTE: Raven passed away Sept 23rd, 2012 leaving more than 300 foals on the ground. Thankfully we kept Valiant, Raven's first purebred Friesian son. Valiant needed to step into his father's boots and we feel did this. His foals are as sweet and kind as Raven's foals and just as beautiful.