Living With A Fox - continued

PART 1 -The story of Lauralee Foxy Man
Owning and raising a stallion would be a unique experience for me. Although I had been exposed to an old Standardbred stallion by the name of Claude Hanover when I was a young girl, it was not the norm in those days for women, let alone young ladies, to handle the studs. They were strictly off limits, believe me. You were never allowed to enter the stall, groom or lead the horse. So I had to be content to admire the handsome boy from afar. It was still a male dominated environment that would eventually begin to change over time and dispel old myths. So here I was, raising and training my very first stallion. I had been given all sorts of advice from the horsemen of the day and strongly recommended that I geld the colt before he became too much. I had heeded their cautions, but seemed determined to keep the colt unaltered for as long as possible. Whether or not I lucked out, or because I had been the dominant herd leader from the start, Foxy never in his entire life ever posed a problem. Firmness and discipline had been instilled from the start and we respected each other. I had given time and commitment to this project. Although I don’t advocate owing stallions, I personally still prefer the character and sharpness of a stallion, ideally those I have raised since birth. They always keep you on your toes and humble, but with that comes a magnificence all their own. I credit Foxy with giving me the courage and working knowledge to handle the big boys. (Presently, we have four stallions.)

Our earliest achievements of success in the show ring came when Foxy was just a month old. He placed second in a weanling class. This show would be the first of many to come over the sixteen-year span of ring presence. As a yearling stallion, Foxy was Reserve Champion Futurity Yearling at our breed’s annual show. His second year proved to be even better as he was shaping into a very spectacular and debonair stallion. He captured the Junior in Hand Championship for the year and never looked back. It is estimated that Foxy has accumulated 1,000 ribbons or more, many of them championships for harness, saddle and in hand.

I suppose when thinking back over the years, there are certain moments in the ring that people remember best. As they can never be repeated, these treasures of time past are locked safely away somewhere in the deep recesses of our memory awaiting retrieval. For us, one the most vivid exploits of this horse was his entry in the "Justin Morgan Performance" classes. Foxy, always the underdog, managed to win second place for this exciting and stamina driven event. Foxy did this under handicap as well, which I will describe a little further on. He was a true stayer with a heart that just wouldn’t give up. After competing in 14 classes over the two days of the show, he ran the ˝ mile race with all out effort, settled for the pleasure class which he always won, then came back in work harness to prove his strength with the stone boat pull. All of this was done in 90-degree weather, with a chronic lung condition, and segments of this class running in succession. He was truly gutsy and amazing! It usually boiled down to just two horses, Foxy and the great Danell’s Nova Don. Years later, one of the Field girls (owner of Nova’s Don) visited the farm and reminisced about Foxy’s duel with Don. Those two horses certainly provided the entertainment to the hordes of screaming people hanging on the rail with excitement in their grip.

Bob and I were noted for holding the record time for the fasted tack change in the Combination classes. Maybe this helped us win so many of these classes, but most likely the credit belongs to Foxy and his ability to stay calm amidst the flurry of harness to tack change. Or maybe it was just his ability pour it on when coming down the rail when it counted.

Foxy even attracted his own fan club over the years with his performances at Lindsay Fair. These classes are shown in front of the grandstand, which demands an audience of large proportions. Unlike most horse shows, the Grandstand here is always filled with spectators. There was a time when Foxy won every class for three or four years in a row. His fans always dropped by the trailer to say hello and congratulate him on his repeat success. At this show he took the english, western, pleasure driving and combination classes and Foxy loved the applause from the bleachers, as he made his victory pass with full extension. He was a show off indeed!

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