Reflections on Farm Management

Ron with Fitnah and Lyphard's Delta
Ron (right) with Chanteclair’s champions Fitnah (right) and Lyphard’s Delta upon their retirement to Juddmonte Farm.

May 1, 2013, marked the beginning of the end of my involvement with Chanteclair Farm between Versailles and Midway, Kentucky. That was almost 18 years to the day from the time when the first group of mares and foals belonging to the late Prince Saud bin Khaled were moved onto the property from where they had been boarded at Mare Haven Farm.

When that group moved to Chanteclair in 1995, there was only one mare left to foal: Fariedah. After she foaled at Chanteclair, her colt, Golden Dice, was the last of his crop for that year and the first foal born at the new farm. That little colt by Diesis was a good omen for things to come. He was the first of many stakes horses produced from that little jewel of a farm on Aiken Road in Central Kentucky.

Now, as all things change, that farm has been sold to its new owners, and hopefully it will produce as well for them as it did for Mr. Khaled during our tenure of stewardship.

During my career, I have been fortunate to be involved with many great horses on numerous beautiful farms while serving as a manager and/or advisor. Chanteclair Farm was one of the best, but I loved them all. And I’m looking forward to continuing to work with current clients, and discovering new farm owners with whom I can partner to achieve their dreams and successes.

For those of you wanting to be farm managers, you need to know that a lot of times the work is hard and the hours long. But when you have the opportunity to do something you truly love, all the tough times fade in comparison.

Who would not enjoy early morning drives down quiet roads lined with trees and stone walls to work with great mares and future champions?

You worry, you fret, the staff is at once amazing and frustrating. But you are doing what you love.

I have always told my clients that I get the best end of the deal. They pay me to work with their horses. I have the chance to know their farms and horses much more intimately than they ever will have the opportunity to do. The highs of winning a big race and the lows of not being able to save a foal are emotional peaks and valleys for me, but they balance out in the end. After a harsh winter there is always the spring sun coming up on freshly mowed grass with the next crop of champions galloping freely in the pastures.

Being a farm manager is not a way of life for the faint-hearted. But for the courageous who love the work and the horses, it’s a great life! I look forward to sharing that with some of you as property and horse owners, and with those of you who want this life for yourselves.

As always, if you have questions or would like to speak with me, feel free to connect with me at [email protected].