Saturday, November 24, 2012


(Bro-Rock March On x Merry Bellsinda)

Ginger was foaled on March 27, 1987, at Mabel Owens’s farm in Massachusetts. She was owned by Rosemary and David Papayanopulos of Huntington, New York. She was the first to carry the Hobbiton prefix, fashioned after characters in the popular trilogy fantasy stories from Lord of the Rings, i.e., the Hobbits. Ginger was by the first son of Vigilmarch, Bro-Rock March On and out of the great mare, Merry Bellsinda, a pedigree that reaches back through Merry Knox and Belldale to the likes of Meade and the famous old government mare, Florette. Although these family names are unfamiliar to the general public, they are well recognized among Morgan horse fanciers. These lines of horses were renowned for their stamina, completing gruelling 300-mile endurance cavalry tests, and they were bred to get the job done.

After settling into life with us that first year and gaining back show weight, Ginger was loaded in the trailer, and she made her debut in the show ring the following summer. She was accompanied by the seasoned campaigner, Foxy. He seemed to enjoy the company on the road. A highlight from Ginger’s brief show career involved a Western pleasure class at one of the fall fairs. A light breeze with just a twist of coolness brushed against my face as Ginger and I jogged into the ring that afternoon. Ginger met life in the ring with unfazed indifference. She was happy and content doing her thing. She could be trotting along a busy show rail amid the roar of whirling rides and cotton candy or just snoozing along a sleepy, peaceful trail at sunset. Ginger loped on command as the ring steward bellowed out the judge’s required gait to the riders in the ring. She backed readily for the judge and stood patiently in the lineup when the class was called. She had performed with impeccable manners and ease. Still, it was the great Aristippi that was favoured to win. Tippi, as she was affectionately known, was a world champion and knew the show ring better than anyone. All eyes rested on Tippi. We stood in quiet anticipation, waiting to hear the placings echo from the loudspeakers poised high above us on the tall wooden poles. “In first place, congratulations to number twenty-one, Hobbiton Tinuviel, owned by the Trillium Morgan Horse Farm and ridden today in victory by Catherine Sampson!” the announcer rang out from the booth. At first, I didn’t move. I couldn’t fathom that my novice Western pleasure horse had taken top honours. I shook myself into reality as I pressed lightly on Ginger’s wide foaling barrel and urged her forward. We jogged up to the ribbon bearer, who reached over and pinned the first-place ribbon onto Ginger’s bridle. The judge approached us and congratulated us on our win. She told us that Ginger was the only horse that worked off of a relaxed rein. The ribbon danced in the breeze of our lope of victory as we passed through the gate, exiting the ring.

Ginger retired to the role of motherhood shortly after that season. In all, Ginger produced ten offspring consisting of eight colts and two fillies, her last foal arriving in 1992. As time went by in the foaling box, my original blueprint to produce an athletic Morgan was borne out with Ginger’s first foal for us, Trillium Reflection, by Lauralee Foxy Man. Reflection more than lived up to our dream for a good trotting Morgan. He eventually won the Canadian Morgan Horse Club National Reserve Championship based primarily on his racing endeavours in Vermont. He excels in road hack classes, too, and like his mom, he has a powerful, ground-covering walk that makes life lonely out on the trail in the company of others.

Besides being an adoring mother, Ginger’s biggest attraction was her personality. Everyone loved her. Over the years, she had gathered her own exclusive fan club of admirers, mostly young, impressionable children or timid individuals. With her delightful, warm, inviting nature, these people quickly overcame their fear of the horse’s titanic proportions. Needless to say, her favourite “people” activity was parades. It was difficult to keep her in a straight line on the parade route as she walked stirrup-to-stirrup with her stablemate Foxy. She often wandered over to the waiting crowds with her ears pricked forward, hoping to be petted. And there was one special little trick she had that delighted both the young and old.

Breeder Mabel Owens once said that Ginger almost went through life with the nickname “Tongue.” She had a fetish for sticking her tongue out of the left side of her mouth whenever someone approached her. You couldn’t possibly ignore it. In fact, she wanted very much for you to stroke her tongue. She would cock her head in the desired position, encouraging you to pet it while smiling at the same time. Her lips pulled back, creating a silly grin. It was somewhat embarrassing when she was judged on line in the total atmosphere of serious competition. She wanted to get the judge’s attention, so as if on cue, out popped that pink tongue when he or she approached. We gave up scolding her for it and eventually just accepted this peculiarity as part of her endearing character. She had this habit right from birth according to Mabel, and it stuck with her all her days.

Like her son Reflection, Ginger, too, made an exceptional trail horse that could outwalk any horse on the farm. She wasn’t content to hold back because slow walking wasn’t her thing. When you walked, you walked! 

In the spring of 1992, Ginger presented us with her last foal sired by Trillium Samson. From day one, this bright fellow followed everyone around without the benefit of traditional training to lead. Just being with people seems natural. He, Trillium Brass Buttons, definitely inherited his mom’s charm and personality.

It is clear that Ginger’s disposition and manner was infectious and inheritable, as so many of her offspring display it. It is funny how a Morgan cross named Ginger entered my early life, and later on I would own a purebred Morgan whose pet name was also Ginger. These subtle coincidences would continue to perpetuate as time went on. 

(Chingadero x Lolly)

It was May 23, 1969 when H-Loli entered the world, born on the open and rugged plains of Wyoming without benefit of shelter or human intervention, braving the elements and constant predator danger.   
Linebred to Flyhawk, she was a daughter of the infamous Chingadero and carried two distinctive brands.  Loli was solid black in colour with no markings.  Not a big horse by the stick, but she was tough and resilient. 
She produced eleven registered offspring in her lifetime with most notably leaving behind her greatest legacy, the farm’s leading sire, Trillium Samson and others. It was her demeanor that won people over and of course that eye full of life and clarity.  She was special beyond her size, ebony color and occasionally with an adorable foal at her side.  She was the most trusting horse who would let the veterinarian stitch a flap of skin on her face without the benefit of freezing or restraint, as she was so heavy in foal.  And in this last year of her life and test of courage, she endured the devastation of massive infection, paralysis and the enormous healing process left in its wake.

On November 23, 2000, Loli slipped quietly away from this world, with much love and admiration.  Loli lives on in her offspring and grand offspring delivering her spirit and genetic prowess that makes the Morgan Horse a breed apart. 
(Beam's Choice x Chandel Airtime)

Kennan’s Rhapsody was foaled in 1984 in Kansas. As a junior horse she won show titles time and time again. Her wins included the American Royal and the Wheat State Show. On her arrival in Canada she continued her winning ways being crowned champion mare numerous times.

Her impeccable breeding included Beamine, a son of Beamington the #1 leading sire of the breed for many years. On her dam’s side came the great Waseeka’s Showtime by Waseeka’s Nocturne. Her bloodlines would prove to be a tri-colour winning combination when crossed with Trillium Samson. Their union produced such champions as Trillium Arioso and Trillium Moonlit Rapture and many other beautiful Morgans. In her late teens she was sold back to the United States where she continued to produce more wonderful Morgans for her owners. 

Rhapsody was an elegant mare who was extremely airy in her movement. Her long neck with a beautiful sloping shoulder and refined head made her a looker in the show ring. You couldn’t help but feel the magic when this mare stepped into the arena. Good breeding begets good horses and this one was a treasure. 

(Fairfield Fortune x Whitmor Memory Lane)

A pixy of a girl, Memory arrived in Canada with her stablemate Rhapsody. Foaled in 1986 in Kansas, Memory's bloodlines spoke of park horse talent. Yet, Memory didn't mature into a bold high trotting large Morgan. It was by chance that we purchased her for the price of her stud fee as a two year old and brought her home to Canada where she remains today.

We bought Memory in hopes of making her a driving horse and that she did! The boldness of the park horse came through in her brave way of going.She will travel where ever you point her. 

Memory had a brief show career in which she pinned Reserve Champion to Rhapsody.They would continue to show together, placing 1-2 every time out.  From there she entered our broodmare barn where she produced lovely disposition Morgans who are adored by their owners today. Several years later, Memory's good nature would lend her to fostering a rejected part-bred foal. She accepted the orphaned foal and nursed it to weaning stage along with her own foal. 

Retired from breeding, Memory's sweet temperament continues to shine as a walk/trot horse for junior riders. She was a late bloomer to saddle, being broke in her late teens after years of being a driving horse. She is one in a million horses and we are so fortunate to have her. 

(Fairfield Fortune x Ledgemere Gretel)

Fashion was foaled in 1984 in Kansas. She was eventually purchsed by the Flying Diamond Ranch in Huntsville, Ontario where she remained as a broodmare for several years.

Fashion was a tall beautiful mare who also was gaited. Her pedigree included the fabulous UVM Flash and the popular Pecos to name just a few. In later life, Fashion would come to Trillium where she produced the multi-champion mare, Trillium's Chantilly Lace. Tilly was sold to the United States where she continued to show with great success. Her son, Flying Diamond First Edition remains at Trillium.

At the time of her passing, Fashion was in foal to Trillium Samson in hopes of repeating this golden combination that gave us Tilly. Sadly, it was not to be. 

(Whippoorwill Courser x Merry Bellsinda)
photo with her foal Trillium Symphony of Fire

She was foaled in 1984 in New York before making her way to Canada. She was purchased by the Trillium farm based on her maternal connection to Hobbiton Tinuviel her half-sister. We loved Ginger's personality and we chose well when we bought Galadriel. She had the same quiet and loving disposition.

Galadriel produced some incredible Morgans including Trillium Symphony of Fire, Trillium's Treasure, Trillium Ramblin Rose and Trillium Independence. The nick proved exceptional when she was bred to Serenity Intrigue. Both Independence and Treasure were sold to western Canada. When Galadriel was later sold, the owners purchased Treasure back from the west in order to keep the breeding lines alive in their program.

Friday, November 23, 2012


(Skipper Boy x Lauralee Delia Rose)

For more than a quarter century, Foxy had been the cornerstone to one of Canada’s most successful breeding, training and educational facilities, which uniquely promotes the Morgan Horse.

Standing at barely 15 hands, this handsome old style, dark liver chestnut stallion was “Mr. Versatility."  His performances took him from the pleasure Morgan divisions in harness, English and western, to parades, half-mile trotting races, and on to the grueling Justin Morgan Performance classes where he shone most brilliantly.  That same stamina, grit and ability to overcome obstacles and handicaps would be tested time and time again during his life.   With great tenacity, he never once faltered and saw only victory with each new challenge he faced.  This was true, even in his final days when he adapted to the illness that robbed him of his agility.  He always found the strength, courage and way to keep going.

Through his many years in the show ring winning hundreds of rosettes, trophies and high point awards, at stud siring champions and best friends, performing at special events and workshops, being a patient teacher for beginners, Foxy’s fans number in the hundreds, and possibly thousands.  He had touched so many lives, brought so much joy, and taught so many, that saying goodbye was and still is unimaginably hard.  He belonged to everyone who knew him. For the full story you can find it in Catherine Sampson's book "Between the Iron" under the chapter "Living with a Fox."

(Vigilmarch x Vicky V)

Foaled on May 8, 1970, Intrigue was one of three full siblings. Besides being one of the last sons of the great Vigilmarch, his notable distinction was that he was the only producing sire and full brother to eighteen times world champion, Val’s Terry.

Intrigue graced the show ring briefly winning his share of ribbons and championships, but only in the shadow of his famous brother. Mostly, he stood at stud in South Carolina and Georgia before traveling north to Canada and home to Trillium in the spring of 1990.

He sired fifty-nine registered offspring during his lifetime and most likely countless others. At age twenty-eight, he sired his last foal being the filly, Trillium Intrigues Spirit who now resides in Scotland.

His head with its chiseled and refined features reflected his intelligent mind and good breeding. Often referred to as “the butt walk” that wide driving hind would be a trait he would pass on.

Even in his final days, the glorious stallion still stood with that typical Vigilmarch regal air that no one could deny him. To the end, he kept his promise and guarded old Loli while sharing his hay and water bucket. He kept watch over her tired body, as weary as he was too. He was laid to rest beside her on November 23, 2000.

For all that he was, Intrigue will be remembered for his nobility and blessed Morgan poise, intelligence and stoic independence.

(Lauralee Foxy Man x H-Loli)

His gentle persona was legendary, his style, charismatic. Samson's family tree was a celebration of the established Flyhawk, old Government and Brunk bloodlines. For fans of the working Cross Ranch Morgans, Samson was a grandson of the famous Chingadero.

Samson's illustrious show career included winning such titles as Canadian and Ontario Year End Championships for Stallions In Hand, as well as being crowned Ontario Park Horse Champion an incredible five times. He also held championships for both saddle and harness in the pleasure division.

From the breeding shed, he has proven his ability to pass on his most desirable traits, producing Canada's 1994 Reserve National Champion and the 1997 Grand Champion Morgan Mare at the Ontario Morgan Horse Championship Classic.  He was also the sire of  the brilliant Grand Champion gelding, Trillium Arioso, as well as sire of numerous pleasure Morgans.  Today his offspring continue to win most recently Trillium Victoria Secret, Trillium Moonlit Rapture, Trillium Spring Breeze, Trillium Cameo Silhouette, Trillium Evening Primrose and the list goes on. 

He was our most popular "hands-on" Morgan in our educational workshop series and breed demonstrations. In later life his career as teacher of the beginner rider and whip, had made him a favourite with his students. How many breeding and show stallions do you know that are safe, reliable and patient enough for first time riders and drivers? But that was the kind of temperament and personality he was. A gentle soul to the end.