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County a stride ahead in horses

Stallions always stir the imagination in art, literature, and to see in real life. Their power and nobility, whether a wild Mustang, a Quarter Horse, or a Percheron is memorable. However, dreams of this perfect horse have to be tempered with reason.

It is not an accident that Nevada County can be very proud of some of its highly regarded horses. Among a number of local stallions, four of the most elite represent different breeds from three countries, who have performed in racing, carriage driving, jumping, and showing. Each has an internationally recognized pedigree, beautiful conformation, has proven himself as a performance horse, and has sons and daughters who show great promise. They are the kind of stallions that breeders of fine horses in equestrian sports seek.

Kathy and Bill Papola



A top quality stallion can help an owner earn the reputation that puts their ranch “on the map.” Such is the case for Kathy and Bill Papola’s champion Morgan, “Cabot French Lieutenant,” who trains and stands at stud at their beautiful Baccarat Farms.

An 18 time National and World Champion in Western Pleasure, “Lieutenant” has won both in the amateur classes, with Kathy riding, as well as in the open division. Purchased as a 5 year old, and under the training of Ron Smith and Katy Drew, this beautiful bay stallion demonstrates so much presence and charisma by his good looks and attitude, that he literally has a following of fans at the World Championships held in Oklahoma City.




At 12 years of age, he continues to be a show horse, enjoys being ridden on trails by Kathy, and has his stud duties in springtime. His first offspring are in training, and show great promise. “Lieutenant” is truly the “King of Baccarat Farms.” He may be visited by appointment only by calling 268-8118.

Joe Kasza

A stallion being introduced to American breeders this season is the gray Lippizaner, “Maestoso Csongor,” owned by Joe Kasza of Grass Valley. Recently imported from Hungary, “Csongor” is tall for his breed, standing 15.3 hands. His first foals were sired in Hungary, while the first American Lippizaner by him will arrive in late spring.

Used as a carriage driving horse, but also ridden, “Csongor,” foaled in 1998, is competing in Combined Driving (dressage, cross country marathon, and cones) as well as pleasure driving. What is so unusual about this elegant stallion is that his bloodlines have been officially recognized in Hungary, United States, and internationally as amongst the finest of his breed.

His line goes back to 1790, with the best Hungarian mare line of “Magyar Kanca” and the “Rimbata de Jos” Rumanian lines. Thus new blood is added to the North American gene pool. His registration papers alone are amazingly beautiful as a document, and name over 60 horses in his illustrious pedigree. Contact Joe Kasza at 268-3138 for more information.

Sarah Ballou

Imported from Ireland by Sarah Ballou of Emigrant Springs Ranch, her “Spanish Parade” was purchased as a potential show jumper. “Spanish Parade” was chosen for his over-all excellent conformation, good mind and ability, and that he was sired by one of Irelands’ most famous jumper sires, “Carrolls Flight.”

Registered as an Anglo-European Sport Horse, “Spanish Parade” is often seen being ridden on the trails of the ranch as well as working in the arena. He is pretty and flashy – a brilliant chestnut with a blaze and four white socks. He stood at stud in Ireland before being imported to the United States, and has several progeny excelling in competition, including three-day eventing.

Because of his competition schedule he has sired only a limited number of youngsters here. Notable is how “Spanish Parade” has risen in the show jumping ranks under Sarah’s expert riding and training. He has competed in the Open Jumpers and Grand Prix Jumping events in California, Arizona, Oregon, and the international venue at Spruce Meadows, Canada. Quiet enough to be ridden in a “Happy Mouth” snaffle bit, he has been successful in clearing jumping courses set at 1 meter 50.

In one year, “Spanish Parade” performed double clear in nine out of 12 starts at the Open Jumper and Grand Prix Jumper levels. Noted Irish Olympic rider Eddie Machen, who rode “Spanish’s” sire to the European Jumping Championships, says of “Spanish Parade”: “he has the heart of a lion.”

Sandy and Dave Ferguson

The most widely known local horse has to be “Rhythm,” the Thoroughbred flagship stallion at Sandy and Dave Ferguson’s Diamond F Thoroughbred Farm. Race horse credentials, as mentioned earlier, are established by good performance and money won.

“Rhythm,” foaled in 1987, began his racing career winning both the Travers Stakes and the Breeders Cup Juvenile. He earned over $1.5 million as a racehorse. After retirement from racing and entering stud, he has sired winners throughout the world. He first stood at stud for five years in Japan, then returned to Kentucky prior to being purchased by Diamond F.

Particularly successful as a sire in New Zealand and Australia, he travels to the Southern Hemisphere during our summers and fall for the breeding season there, and then returns to Grass Valley for our spring. Owner Dave Ferguson says, “He has had winners of flat races and steeplechases in Europe, Japan, South Africa, Singapore, Australia, as well as in the United States – you name it, and likely there will be a son or daughter of ‘Rhythm’.”

“Rhythm’s” offspring have won more than any other California sire, according to Ferguson – over $33 million. One of the most famous of his 27 stakes performers is “Ethereal,” who won the famous Melbourne Cup, as well as earning in excess of $2.4 million. He is what his breeders hoped for, a successful result of some of the best bloodlines in the world. “Rhythm” is by the famous “Mr. Prospector” out of a “Northern Dancer” mare. His stud fee is $5,000. A visit to Diamond F Thoroughbreds made be made by appointment: 272-3781.

A stallions’ desire for dominance, leadership, and to have their own “band” of mares can make him safe only for the most experienced horseman to handle. Although some stallions have wonderful and docile dispositions, others have been known to kill.

It is important for people to be aware that consistent good handling and training is essential, and that keeping a colt a stallion as he matures is not for novices.

Editor’s note: Sarah Ballou is Felicia Tracy’s daughter-in-law.

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Felicia Schaps Tracy is the owner of Emigrant Springs Horsemanship, co-founding instructor of Northern Mines Pony Club, member and Certified Horsemanship Association and the American Riding Instructors Association. Write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley 95945.


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