Tamara Rose came into the world early. At 28 pounds, she was a flyweight in the world of foals.
Born six weeks prematurely, the little Paso Fino would need an extraordinary combination of luck, love and veterinary magic to survive. In the parlance of Pennsylvania’s casino culture, Tamara Rose hit the jackpot. The combination of a devoted and conscientious owner and proximity to one of the world’s most respected veterinary hospitals proved to be a winning hand—or hoof—for the youngster.
Beverlea Roye-Manderbach is the owner of Laota Spring Farm in Sinking Spring, PA, where Tamara Rose was born. She says that the first signs of trouble began in the sixth month of the mare’s pregnancy. “She (Chaperona) started to have some problems and we weren’t sure exactly what was going on. She showed signs she was going to abort.”
She consulted with veterinarians at the University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center. They put Chaperona on antibiotics and hormones. “She was okay for a while and then about maybe eight months into it she showed again.”
How many horses can you drive at one time? For Dave Rohrbach of Bee Tree Trail Percherons, the answer is fifteen.
Draft horses are a popular feature at the Pennsylvania Farm Show each year, and Bee Tree Trail is usually a crowd favorite, not only for the beautiful horses, but for the innovative ways that he drives them.
This year, the most unusual exhibition at the Farm Show will take place on Tuesday, January 10 at 5 p.m., when Rohrbach will present a fifteen-horse team, hitched in a pyramid pattern. He will be hitching the team in the show ring for the audience to see while he explains the process.
Rohrbach presented the fifteen-horse hitch at the Farm Show several years ago. “We have done the fifteen once before, in 2014,” he said. “We never planned on doing it, but it was always in my mind. It was something kind of last minute.”
Normally Rohrbach keeps just six horses at Bee Tree Trail, but for big events where additional horses are needed, he borrows back horses that he has owned or trained. Having personal experience with them, he can trust that they will respond well.
How many horses are in southeastern Pennsylvania, and how important are they to the region’s economy? Everyone connected to the horse industry in any way, in the southeastern region of the state, is urged to take part in an online survey that will help find answers to those questions.
Delaware Valley University and the Chester-Delaware County Farm Bureau have worked together to develop the survey, which can be found at www.sepaequine.org. Its purpose is to provide an objective estimate of the economic contribution the horse industry makes to the economy of southeastern Pennsylvania.
“We have a unique combination of skill sets with our Agribusiness Department, our Equine Science and Management Department and our Business Department. The three departments are able to use those skill sets together to create the survey, to get the information out, and then to analyze the data and get it back out to horse owners and legislators,” Cory Kieschnick, chair of the Department of Equine Science and Management at Delaware Valley University said.
“I had a great horse for the first time, Saratoga Jack,” Kate Goldenberg says. “Of course, I get a great horse in a year they don’t pay me the money.”
She’s standing in a muddy lane between two pastures at her farm, Safe Haven Equine in Perkasie. “They think we’re sheiks,” she says, struggling to explain why Pennsylvania legislators took nine months to fix a critical flaw in racing reform legislation passed last February. While the legislation languished in Harrisburg, awaiting what turned out to be a simple fix, breeders’ awards were not distributed.
For nine months, many Pennsylvania breeders struggled to ensure their farms and their horses would survive the impasse. For nine months, Goldenberg had to depend on the generosity of other farmers—hay farmers, grain farmers—to keep her horses fed.
To the legislators, the issue was a clerical error they would eventually correct—just some words on paper. To small horse breeders like Goldenberg, it was a catastrophe.
The legislators, she believes, have a profoundly distorted perception of what life is like on farms like hers. The fencing is good enough “to hold the horses in,” she says, pointing to sagging posts and drooping wires. But they need repair. “One thing is that, I got part of my money in November.” But she needed it much earlier in the year for necessary repairs to her fences and elsewhere on the property.