Jazz Singer and Songwriter — Asheville, North Carolina
Supporter of Angel Heart Farm — Nashville, Tennessee
How long have you been involved with horses?
I’ve had a love affair with horses since I was 3 years old. At that time in New York City, photographers would snap your photo on their Shetland pony and sell the photo to your parents. The dilemma my parents faced was that I never wanted to get off the pony! My father and I had a weekly Sunday date at the neighborhood amusement part where the only ride I cared about was the carousel, and only if I could ride one of the horses over and over again.
When I was 7, I needed tonsil surgery. To help me through the trauma, my father promised that if I cooperated with having the surgery, he would buy me my very own horse when I recovered. My first request after anesthesia wasn’t the usual demand for ice cream. No, I wanted to begin the search for my horse! True to his word, my father gave me my first horse, a Pinto mare named Bonnie who was a virtual babysitter. To this day, I have a soft spot in my heart for Pintos.
What part do you play in the horse world?
I have owned, bred and shown Arabian horses for more than 30 years, and enjoy introducing people to the versatile Arabian. I introduced thousands of children and adults to the breed when I performed at the 1996 Breyerfest Celebration at the Kentucky Horse Park with my Pinto champion half-Arabian Breyer horse Karma Gypsy, who had Morning Tstar, an 8-week-old filly, at her side. Both Gypsy and Tstar calmly allowed thousands of children to pet and hug them during the daily meet and greets, dispelling the rumors that any horse with Arabian blood is flighty and untrustworthy. We made lots of believers that weekend at Breyerfest! I even performed shows in the main arena, singing on Gypsy while the filly playfully raced around the arena. Gypsy remained calm, displaying the trust she had in me.
What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
I’ve been extremely blessed through the years to be an entertainer relating to audiences of all ages by singing gems from the Great American Songbook. In addition, I’ve had the good fortune to love, show and breed talented and beautiful Arabian and half-Arabian horses. I’ve been particularly fortunate to be pursuing my two lifelong passions of music and horses.
What’s your biggest achievement?
There are two achievements that stand out in my mind and they involve both passions that I love most. In music, I had the extreme honor of performing a concert of selections from the Great American Songbook at New York City’s prestigious Lincoln Center.
Regarding equine accomplishments, I have to say that winning both U.S. and Canadian Arabian National Championships with my amazing half-Arabian gelding Maghnus Z+// was a thrilling achievement. In fact, Maghnus is the catalyst that brought Tracy Kujawa of Angel Heart Farm and I together. Tracy admired Maghnus as she followed his show career, and this led us to corresponding frequently — kind of a “mutual admiration society,” with Maghnus being the star. However, when I learned what Tracy accomplishes at Angel Heart Farm by using horses to help children and families battling chronic and life-threatening diseases, while she herself battles cancer, I instantly became her fan for life. Tracy is the true hero and deserves all the support we can muster!
What are your goals for the future?
As we travel through this very different, and sometimes frightening, world due to COVID-19, I hope to continue to support the efforts of Tracy at Angel Heart Farm; share the path ahead with my totally amazing husband, Jay, spending every moment we can with our loving service and therapy dog, Derek Jeter; and keep performing the Great American Songbook and bring as much joy as possible into people’s hearts. Of course, I also hope to continue to enjoy and show one of the winningest half-Arabians, Maghnus Z+//, as we seek his 28th U.S. National Championship, which is unheard-of in the Arabian industry!
Best kept secret about what you do?
My life is more or less an open book, but if there’s one secret ambition that I have, it’s wishing to entertain the troops in our armed services throughout the world. These are the men and women who keep us safe at home, allowing us to pursue our loves and passions while they risk their lives to keep America safe. Who knows? Maybe my dream will happen one day, just as Tracy Kujawa fulfills wishes every day for the kids of Angel Heart Farm. Never give up on your dream!
To learn more about Angel Heart Farm, visit angelheartfarm.com or check out Angel Heart Farm, Nashville, on Facebook