If success could be measured by the number of brochures handed out, or new, friendly faces met, then the PA Farm Show was a huge one! Frank Kuntz and Shelly Hauge attended the PA Farm Show in Harrisburg, PA with many Nokota® supporters there to aid in their educational efforts. This particular show was a first for the Nokota® Horse Conservancy and provided a venue different from the majority of expos attended by the organization.
The event, entitled "Equine Showcase", was coordinated and sponsored by Karen Orloff-Yatsko of Peaceful Valley Equestrian Center in Harveys Lake, PA and Karen Ann Filippi of Tunkhannock, PA. Also attending with their Nokota® horses were: Kim & Shelby Turiansky with Blue, a seasoned traditional blue roan Nokota® gelding; Terri & Chud Fuellgraf from Pittsburgh, PA with Tower and Red Cloud, two ranch-type Nokota® geldings both newbies to the expo scene; Kathy Jones-Gronka and her young Nokota® filly, Little Miss Ouri, the recent winner of the Nokota® class at Dressage at Devon; Tassey and Haley Stuscavage and their Nokota® Pony cross, Miakoda (Miko for short); and finally Dorrie Bettle and her well-known Nokota, Mickey Blue Eyes. The crowd, and it was definitely that, was diverse and basically unfamiliar with the Nokota® breed. We spent much time just talking to people - explaining what a Nokota® is and why they're important historically. We were privileged to introduce the Nokotas in an hour-long presentation to the masses with Frank sharing his passion as well as some video documentary footage. Tower, Red Cloud and Little Miss Ouri were on hand as well to receive lots of attention from the crowds pressing for a little hands-on therapy! When it came time for the under-saddle portion of the Parade of Breeds, the beauty and grace of the Nokotas was unmistakable. Featured were Mickey Blue Eyes (with Dorrie Bettle), Little Miss Ouri (with Kathy Jones-Gronka), Blue (with Shelby Turiansky), and Miko (with young Haley Stuscavage). Entering the arena to the moving accompaniment of "Spirit", one couldn't help but understand why these beloved horses were so prized both hundreds of years ago by their ancient Indian caretakers, and now.
Others who traveled some distance to attend the event and support the Nokota® horses were Hilary Goff and Jesse VanderHoef, Susan Rifkin, Lea Reynolds, Susan Pizzini, Sam Brown, and Jill Roehrs. We were so blessed to have had such a strong showing for this particularly large, well-attended event. And while a "thank you" seems so insignificant, we hope these people know how TRULY grateful we are for their selfless support.
by Megan McAndrew
We were grateful to be back in North Dakota for Thanksgiving, after a two-week trip to the East Coast. Frank Kuntz, Shelly Hauge, and Megan McAndrew set out at 6 am on Sunday, November 9th (picking up Brandon Deile, Frank's nephew, en route), with five horses on the trailer – two young mares and a stud colt going to upstate New York, and two four-year-old geldings headed for Virginia.
We stopped each night along the way, after at least a 10-hour drive, and must express our heartfelt thanks to the following for their hospitality and opening their homes and barns to give us a comfortable resting place and deliciously hearty and wonderfully homemade meals. Thank you Andy and Carla Wood of Oswego, IL – old friends, Nokota® owners and supporters of our efforts in more ways than we can say; Chud and Terri Fuellgraf of Saxonburg, PA – new friends, visitors to the ranch and Nokota® owners; and Valerie and Bob Shemeth of N. Bennington, VT – good friends and Nokota® owners and supporters!
We arrived in W. Springfield, Massachusetts, on Wednesday afternoon – a blessedly short trip – and got the horses settled into stalls and the booth set up at Equine Affaire. And were met there by Leigh Garber, of Cazabu Farms in Cazenovia, NY, and her assistant Mary, who brought two Nokotas as well for demo purposes – Amigo, a trivero son of Papa Smoke, and Nahimana , a young mare in Leigh’s training program.
All four horses were stars!! Leigh's horses have been well trained, and behave dependably, even when the crowds get big and the building gets hot, but we didn't know how Badger and T-Bone would take it – since Terri's barn was the first building they'd ever been in. It was a remarkable display of Nokota® temperament: both boys were a bit snorty and worried when we led them into the building where the booth and display stall were, but both settled down within minutes and within a few hours had caught on to the advantages of standing around, eating hay and being admired. We were able to rotate the “display” horse every two and a half hours; so all four were equally admired during the four-day event.
We were visited and assisted at the booth by many friends, including Terri Fuellgraf, Dr. Castle McLaughlin and Donna Dickerson, Siv Farrell, Pearl and Karen Neve, Linda Barcomb and Valerie Shemeth. Jim Mackler and Judy Haight, who support the Conservancy by generously providing the booth and stall space each year, helped talk to people who stopped by and with selling merchandise – the medicine wheel logo and other NHC-marked goods are extremely popular. As we so often are, we are grateful to Butch Thunder Hawk for his beautiful design, and to Andy Wood for the graphic displays he donated. The NHC booth is truly outstanding among the other breed displays, thanks to the gifts of these two Nokota® friends. Also, lest we be remiss, a HUGE thanks goes out to Leigh Garber, who so willingly (and proudly I might add) brought her Nokota® horses to show what is possible with this breed. Well groomed and impeccably mannered, her Nokotas were true ambassadors for the breed at this prestigious event. Thank you, Leigh!
A Nokota® breed demonstration took place on Thursday afternoon and we had exactly 15 minutes to tell our story and point people to our booth. We were blessed to be sandwiched between two big “names” so the demonstration was very well attended. Frank spoke ardently to the crowd while Amigo, Nahimana, and T-Bone did their best to entertain and validate our claims of this breed’s character and temperament.
The exhibit runs from 9:00 am to 7:30 pm every day, which is exhausting even when we have a lot of help, as we did this year. We're deeply grateful to everyone who participated, making it possible for some of us to take a few hours off here and there. (Frank never takes any time off, but he did go visit some equipment manufacturers, looking for support for the new tractor that the Conservancy will need in the near future.)
It's apparent, year-by-year, that Equine Affaire is a terrific venue for promoting the Nokota® horses and the Conservancy's work. It's fun to be able to tell people that "this horse was never in a building before Sunday night," when the horse is calm and cheerful, abiding flashbulbs and little hands stuck through the stall bars. Among the hotter, bigger breeds, it's evident that the characteristics we cherish in the Nokotas are indeed special and unusual – their intelligence, cooperativeness, calmness and personability, even under pressure and excitement.
We broke down the booth at 5:00 on Sunday evening and were leaving the parking lot, horses on board, by 5:40 – a world record, as far as we know – headed for Hilary Goff's in West Grove, Pennsylvania.
On a separate note, Hilary put together yet another hugely successful tack sale for the Conservancy in October. We were glad to take home the leftovers – some training saddles and strap goods – as well as equipment Frank can use in his shop on the ranch. Thanks Hilary and Joy Cully for all your hard work and devotion to this unique fundraiser!
Frank and Brandon drove T-Bone and Blue-Eyed Badger to their new home in The Plains, Virginia, on Tuesday, and on Wednesday we loaded up and set out for home. After another night with Carla and Andy in Illinois, we arrived in Linton at 2 am on Saturday, November 22 – a nearly 5,000-mile odyssey. Whew!!
Nokota® Horses to Compete at Dressage at Devon for First Time - The first-ever Nokota® Individual Breed Class will take place on Thursday, September 25, at the Dressage at Devon horse show. Read the full article here.
Range Rider (Dirk Bergren), Brumby (Heather Richter), and Indigo Warrior (Ann Record) command the arena during the Breed Demonstration.
The MN Horse Expo was an exercise in patience and survival skills!! The weather was one for the record books with cold, rain, snow, wind, etc. But did it ever bring in the crowds!! We talked for 12 hours a day to whoever was interested or made the mistake of pausing long enough in front of the booth to be assaulted with a brochure and a "Can I answer any questions?" We made some wonderful contacts and hope to see many of those same people here in ND to meet the entire herd one day soon or to perhaps acquire a Nokota® of their very own.
Frank Kuntz and Pat Stady-Due handle the booth.
Nokotas attending this year's event were Indigo Warrior and Range Rider with owner Ann Record, an avid Nokota® supporter and current board member; Brumby with owner Heather Richter, a two-time participant at the expo; and newcomer this year, Cloud and owner John Kantar. The impact of having the horses in attendance was powerful. To be able to send people to the stalls to see the horses in person is something that leaves a huge impression and always prompts lots of questions about their history, conformation, dispositions, etc. There were many a believer in Nokotas after seeing them in person!
Joe Thomas and Cloud pose while awaiting the Parade of Breeds.
A monumental THANKS goes out to everyone who was there, braving the weather, and doing whatever it took to make a positive Nokota® influence. Included are: Ann Record, who took the bull by the horns and made this thing happen; her friends and supporters Dirk Bergren, Allison Donelly, and Sondra Wilson; John Kantar (wife Maythee and family) along with his trainer/handler Joe Thomas and Beth Branca; Heather Richter and her dad, Ross, as well as the rest of her supportive family! We were also blessed to have Pat Stady-Due (from New Mexico) in attendance and provide pictures of her young and promising Nokota, Pony Boy's Half Moon. This troupe of supporters made things so much easier for Frank Kuntz and Shelly Hauge, attending from North Dakota and representing the Nokota® Horse Conservancy.
Heather Richter, Ross Richter, Allison Donelly, Ann Record and John Kantar handled all comers to the brightly decorated Nokota® stalls with grace and ease.