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Today there are fewer and fewer long-term Arabian horse breeding programs, but Buddy Salisbury’s Congressional Farm Arabians in Westminster, Maryland, is one that continues to thrive. “When I got out of college and moved back to Maryland, I met Larry and Sherry Crow, who had an Arabian stallion and a few other Arabians,” says Buddy. “Now that I was done with school, I wanted to get back into horses. They put me in touch with Jim Hudson who is in Georgetown, Delaware. My wife and I bought ASA Mystify Me (High Mystic x Aeolian Darshan) from him. That was in 1996. We bred her to Larry and Sherry’s stallion VA Nadeem (Imperial Imdal x H Ansata Victoria) and had our first foal in 1997.”

Like many people, Buddy decided that since he had a mare he should purchase a stallion. What makes this farm’s story unique is that the stallion he chose formed the foundation of his breeding program. Seventeen years later Boomerang NA (Padrons Psyche x Bint Forteyna), at twenty years of age, is still siring beautiful halter-quality foals who go on to have successful performance careers. “After my divorce in 2000, I decided to do more breeding than showing. My true passion is the breeding. And the subsequent search for a stallion led me to Boomerang. I couldn’t be happier with him. He is twenty this year,” says Buddy. “When I purchased Boomerang in 2000 as a late two-year-old, he had already been Top Ten in halter at Scottsdale and Top Eight at the Buckeye, as well as Reserve Champion at two regional shows. Greg Gallun showed him as a three-year-old to a Top Ten in the 2001 U.S. National Futurity Colt class. That’s really where this craziness started.”

Boomerang NA was bred by Mike Nichols, who bought his dam on a trip to California. “When Mike Nichols decided to get back into the Arabian horse breeding business in 1995, he and I took a trip out to California,” says Mike’s longtime trainer Mary Trowbridge. “It was during the O.J. Simpson trial. His wife Diane Sawyer was out there interviewing O.J. and the lawyers. We went to several farms including Sheila Varian’s and Cory Soltau’s. Before we left Los Angeles, Diane said to me, ‘Please don’t let him buy anymore horses.’ Of course I didn’t have any control over that! Mike saw Bint Forteyna at Cory’s and was quite taken by her. He turned to me and said, ‘I just have to have her.’ At Sheila’s suggestion, Mike bred Bint Forteyna to Padrons Psyche. The resulting foal was Boomerang NA.”

Knowing that he needed mares that would complement his new stallion, Buddy bought a mare he thought would be perfect, Freedom Fame (Fame VF x Forever Krystal). “She is still alive today and is the  foundation mare of my herd,” says Buddy.

“Freedom Rang CFA (Boomerang NA x Freedom Fame), who is with Dale Brown, is the result of that cross. And I am breeding his full sister, Liberty Belle CFA, who is a regional halter champion. Her son Revolution CFA (by *Baahir El Marwan) is four years old and in training with Dale he’ll be shown this year in western pleasure junior horse. When I bred Revolution, I didn’t expect to get a western horse, but that’s what I got. And he is fantastic.”

One of the characteristics that sets apart successful Arabian horse breeders is their ability to objectively evaluate their stock. “I am realistic about my horses,” says Buddy. “I have to think about what they will be good at and where their talent lies. They have to fit into the market somewhere. That’s what I’m thinking when I first look at a foal. If you can look at your animals objectively, you can get somewhere.” Congressional Farm Arabian horses must be halter beautiful with athletic ability that will lead to a performance career. “I’m trying to produce pretty horses who can be successful in halter and then excel in western pleasure,” continues Buddy. “I’m a fan of western pleasure. They need to be big pretty horses who also have the mind and movement for performance — especially western.”

“I’ve known Buddy for a long time, having shown against him for many years,” says Ted Carson. “Several years ago he came to me and said that he would like me to present National contenders. We’ve been successful together, winning Top Tens and always coming close to getting a bigger prize, but our first National Championship came last year with Town Trinket CFA (Boomerang NA x Town Treasure), who won National Champion Half-Arabian Futurity Filly. I had been telling him that we had been close enough times that one day soon we would get over the hump. He’s been breeding horses and doing this a long time, so it was great for him to get that first National Championship. You have to be happy for  anyone who has hung in there as long as Buddy. And Buddy has bred all the horses that I have shown for him.” Adds Buddy, “I have a number of Top Tens, but that is my first National Champion. I was pretty excited about that win. And her sister went third in the Yearling Filly class at Nationals.”

In keeping with his belief that the horses he breeds must also have performance careers, Buddy has a successful association with western trainer Dale Brown. “I’m in Maryland and there aren’t many western trainers near me,” Buddy says. “For a couple years I asked around about western trainers. I heard nothing but good things about Dale. I approached him one year at Nationals because I knew that Freedom Rang CFA, who was a two-year-old at the time, was going to be a good western horse. I felt he had the mind for it, the athleticism and the pretty face. So, after U.S. Nationals that year, I sent him down to Dale’s place in Georgia to break.”

Dale cites Buddy as one of the best owners he’s ever done business with. “Buddy has never been to my farm, and I have never been to his place,” says Dale. “I see him at a show once in a while. He sends me pictures and videos of his horses, and we decide what he will send based on that. I appreciate the fact that he is always concerned with the horse’s longevity, so he lets me take my time. He prefers that I not push them too hard or go too fast. He wants them to go at their own pace.” Buddy adds, “I try to keep a horse or two with Dale all the time. Some are there just to break and sell, and some will eventually be shown under saddle by Dale.”

Buddy’s success in breeding and showing is a reflection of a clear vision and strategy. “Buddy has figured out a system that works for him,” says Ted. “His horses are shown by Phillip Wolfe and then the ones who will go on to Nationals come to me. When they are done with their halter careers he sends them to Dale Brown.”

Buddy breeds the kind of horse who is built to do the job — and in that way, they make Dale’s job easier. “I’ve had both Boomerang get and grandget,” says Dale. “The four-year-old I have, Revolution CFA, is by *Baahir El Marwan and out of a Boomerang NA daughter. They have all been good, soft movers. I like that they are strongly built and heavy-boned and well put together. Revolution is very handsome, with big jowls, a ‘hooky’ neck and a great hindquarter. He is built round behind with his hocks set well under him. The thing that helps me more than anything is low set hocks. When the hind cannons are long, it forces horses to go downhill. Boomerang is well built behind and that is reflected in his offspring. They all are going to be able to do something.”

Buddy’s marketing strategy is simple. And it has worked for him. “No matter what, there is always a market for a good solid performance horse,” says Buddy. “I don’t think there are as many people looking for a horse that can only do halter today. The market has shifted more toward horses that people can ride and have fun with. I get calls for good solid riding horses all the time. There is definitely a market for  quality horses. It’s harder than it used to be to sell them and you have to work at it. It is key to have good solid stock that people want. You must put money into getting them trained so that they will sell. I know that if I concentrate on producing better quality horses, I’m going to have a market for them. And I strive to improve my quality every year. I have seven foals coming in 2018, which will be my largest foal crop ever. I usually have three to four foals a year, but last year every mare I bred got in foal. Liberty Belle

CFA is in foal to Ever After NA and Vitorio TO. Miss Pryme Tyme CFA will be having foals by Trussardi and Exxalt. My Stival daughter will be having a Grand Commandd foal. There will be two Boomerang foals: one a full sibling to Miss Pryme Thyme CFA and the other out of a black straight Egyptian mare.”

Even though Buddy is a CPA with a successful accounting business, he is a very hands-on owner. “I feed every morning at 4:00 a.m. before I go to work. I have people who take care of the horses during the day. They bring them in and do the afternoon feeding. When I get home, I walk around and do a night check on everybody. And I do all the foaling. When that starts next month, I will be out in the barn until who knows when with the mares. Because I am an accountant, I get zero sleep in February and March — foaling and tax season overlap. I’m lucky that my mom lives next door and she helps me with the foaling. We take turns so we at least get a little nap.”

And no one loves their mares more than Buddy. “I have a five-acre field in the back for the retired mares,” he says. “Two Fame VF daughters and a Padrons Psyche daughter live there. They are the loves of my life. My foundation mare Freedom Fame is twenty-six years old. She acts like she’s two. It gives me a lot of satisfaction knowing that she has had such a long healthy life. And she has produced some beautiful foals.”

Breeding great Arabian horses is Buddy Salisbury’s passion. “I love to see the babies grow up,” says Buddy. “The fun part for me is the foaling and raising them to see them go to their first show.” For over twenty years, he has not wavered in his quest to produce beautiful, athletic horses. “I respect that Buddy sticks to his own vision,” says Ted. “He breeds out a little bit, but mostly uses his own stallion. I give him credit for having a breeding program and not just following the latest fad.”

Article published in The Arabian Horse World | 2018
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