Following was Chris and
Dale Dunn from Habitat for Horses who spoke about their rescue efforts
after hurricane Katrina. That experience led them to develop several
publications to help horse owners prepare their horse for natural
disasters (hurricane, tornado, etc). They are also championing the cause
to micro-chip all horses. They have re-connected 334 or 335 horses with
their owners due to micro-chips. They gave a demonstration on the
simplicity of micro-chipping horses and have offered to micro-chip all of
Beauty's Haven's horses.
Last, but absolutely not least, we were privileged
to have two very special guests arrive, Jill and John Stephens (thanks to
a Ft. Myers FOB), trainers of Barbaro and Nicanor. It was iffy if they
would be able to attend, so we didn't make any pre-event announcements.
It was like the icing on the cake when they did
indeed arrive. Of course the first question fielded was "How is Nicanor
doing?" to which John replied, "Nicanor is doing fine and will be leaving
soon and going to Michael Matz at Fair Hill." Making a hugging motion,
Jill continued, "I wish I could just bubble wrap him and take him from
here to there."
The Stephens were so gracious, patient and
informative to answer ALL of our questions! After a lengthy Q&A session
where they walked us through the 'typical day in high school' for their
charges, the question came to Nicanor, "How is Nicanor on the track?" Jill
offered this insightful difference between Nicanor and Barbaro, "Nicanor
is very serious on the track, he will get out there, look around and take
it all in. But, unlike Barbaro, Nicanor loves to play before and after the
track! He's a big kidder!" She peppered her presentation at times by
reminding us, "NICANOR-PLAY. BARBARO-WORK."
When the inevitable topic turned to Barbaro, all
hands went up in the air! John started right off by debunking the rumors
that the Jacksons had 'financial motives' for wanting to save Barbaro. He
was very adamant and forceful about getting that point across. "Barbaro
was insured for $40 million dollars. All it EVER was about was saving
Barbaro because of who he was. They loved Barbaro -- and that's ALL it
ever was about."
John said that Barbaro's 'special talent' was
something that he brought with him as a yearling to Stephen's Training
Center. "He was so eager to learn and was impatient about learning more
and more." He continued, "We didn't teach him anything that he wasn't
already born with -- intelligence, presence, and speed. He was a very
serious student." The couldn't talk enough about Barbaro's undefeated
career and winning the KD. No one asked, and they didn't offer, ANYTHING
about the Preakness. Asked if their method of training (with compassion
and soft hands) had anything to do with Barbaro being such a 'good
patient' while at NBC. John offered that they would like to think that it
did, but that Barbaro was so intelligent and affable that he wasn't sure
if it was something they did, or that it was just Barbaro being himself.
They thanked Mr. and Mrs. Jackson for including
them in Barbaro's career excitement, for the opportunity to train Barbaro,
Nicanor and yes, little BB2 (uh, Lentenor, and not so little anymore) will
be heading to Florida in the Fall.
In closing, John turned the topic to us, the FOBs.
They were amazed and inspired on how the FOB phenom continues for Barbaro.
"There are a lot of nice horses out there, but nothing like this has ever
happened before -- that's the specialness about Barbaro! He was unique in
so many ways, and even with the same gene pool, we may never see that
again. It's inspiring to see so much good following him."
The Stephens did divulge that they have a special
interest (part owner) in Visionaire and made the announcement that they
will donate $5000 to Beauty's Haven if Visionaire places 1, 2 or 3 in the
Kentucky Derby! GO VISIONAIRE!!
They were also AWESOME bidders during our auction!
They bid highest for the 'before and after' Breyer Barbaro collectors set
(donated by Yetta F). John later confided in Yetta that he already has the
Breyer Barbaro models, then said, "But, if some little girl, at some time,
wants a model, I can give it to her."
They also won the bid for a beautiful John Fawcett
autographed painting of Barbaro (donated by John Fawcett) -- which they
immediately donated back, "We really do have so many beautiful photos of
Barbaro, use this again for your auction," Jill said.
John was having a good time (poker face and all)
bidding in the auction: They won the bid for the new 134 KD poster
(donated by Terri Kaufman) and the Jane Schwartz Ruffian book, 'Burning
from the Start' signed by jockey Jacinto Vasquez (donated by Sarah Boris).
Jill was lucky in the raffle too, and won a Pat DeLong signed sweatshirt
(donated by Pat DeLong). A video was shot during the event and portions of
the Stephens' presentation will be posted on YouTube (will let you know
when that is available).
Afterwards, Jill and John graciously signed our
programs, posed for photos and participated in our Barbaro Spirit Vigil
(led by Bonnie Buron, with special reflections from FOB Lisa/NY who
actually met BBH! "He had his butt facing me when I walked in!") Then we
cut the carrot cake decorated with the Pat Delong design used on our
It was an awesome day of friendship, education,
and networking, but the best part was the generosity of the FOBs attending
and gathering donations, buying raffle tickets, T-shirts, and bidding
during our auction which brought in funds to Beauty's Haven!! The intent
was to raise funds for a much needed hay barn. Funds from this even have
been put into an escrow account and BH will hold additional fundraisers to
add to this escrow account until enough funds are raised to build it.
A BIG thank you to Susan and Yetta and everyone that attended and that was
connected to this fabulous event inspired by Barbaro!!