Silver Creek, Georgia
How long have you been part of the horse world?
I began riding at the age of 5 and fell in love with horses. Since that time, I never looked back. Growing up in western Massachusetts, I was a member of the Berkshire Hills Pony Club and that experience really provided an excellent grounding for all aspects of the equine world. I think at that point, I realized that being involved with horses was so much more than only riding and showing.
How did you get started in breeding/showing?
Rising Star Farm was initially based in Georgetown, Texas, and the journey started with the purchase of two young stallion prospects from Bannockburn Farm. Cielo B (Simsalabim/Jus de Pomme) was quickly followed by Deja Blue B (Ferro/Branco). At that time, I had a couple of Thoroughbred mares, but started acquiring some retired warmblood show mares. The major focus at the time was developing the young stallions in sport so they could earn their breeding licenses with different warmblood registries and to also prove their abilities. Eventually, Cielo B went to the 70-day stallion test, where he was the champion jumper. At this time, Valentino Z (Darco/Feo) joined the stallion lineup and became our flagship stallion. One of the biggest factors for the success of Rising Star Farm was the partnership with Jennifer Ramsey that began at the end of 2010. Jennifer was a successful show jumper who had represented Canada. She became the primary rider and partner in Rising Star Farm, piloting Cielo B into the upper levels. In 2011, we traveled to Belgium and purchased three young stallion prospects that would really put us on the map: Diabolo d’Esquelmes (Chin Chin/Carthago), Cartier R (Cassini I/Acorado) and Jus d’O (Quaprice Bois Margot/Dollar de la Pierre).
In 2011, Rising Star Farm moved to Georgia and expanded into a full-service stallion station and mare-and-foal center. Over the years, the stallion lineup expanded. The mare band also expanded tremendously with a focus on Belgian and Holsteiner bloodlines. We began to not only ship semen, but to also offer on-farm breeding and foaling services. In partnership with Cathy Kubacak, Foremost Show Jumpers was born in 2020. Our primary breeding goals are to make the top jumper bloodlines available to breeders in North America.
What part do you play in the horse world?
I wear a lot of hats. I’m the owner/operator of Rising Star Farm and the operating partner of Foremost Show Jumpers. In addition, I am the North American Registrar for Stud Book SBS—Belgian Sport Horse. SBS is one of the three stud books in Belgium, the others being Zangersheide and Belgian Warmblood. Primarily offering foal registrations to the French-speaking breeders in Belgium, SBS has expanded to North America and other countries in the world. My job is to help North American breeders get their foals registered and to act as the liaison between breeders and the office in Belgium.
Finally, with my business Elite Equine Sales, I am a sales agent for individuals primarily looking to sell hunters and jumpers, from foals to broodmares to competition horses.
What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
Anyone who has ridden or handled stallions will tell you that the bond you form with these animals is unlike any other. As much as I love foaling season and breeding mares, the stallions are the heart of both Rising Star Farm and Foremost Show Jumpers. They are our representatives to the breeders and to the show world.
What’s your biggest achievement in the horse world?
Bridging the gap between U.S. and European breeders through my involvement with SBS and the wonderful education that I’ve obtained through years of travel to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. The opportunity to share what I’ve learned about breeding as well as helping people negotiate the intricacies of registering their foals and understanding how the different European registries work in North America is very important to me.
What are your goals for the future with your farm and your horses?
I tell every one of my clients that my goal is to make sure that they end up with the foal of their dreams. To achieve this goal, not only do I strive to provide exceptional stallions, but also help mare owners make the best choices for their mares. It’s important to me that the stallions have proven themselves in sport as well as having great temperaments, soundness and bloodlines that will benefit breeding overall in North America.
What is the best thing about your life?
Meeting so many different people around the world who share my passion for horses, and being able to combine so many interests, such as horse breeding, travel and riding.
Best kept secret about what you do?
Many people don’t realize that before I started breeding horses, I earned my doctorate in non-human primate reproduction. I used to breed rhesus monkeys at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center!
For more information, visit www.risingstarfarm.net
Photos by Alicia Klenk