Equine Fever is an “ailment” many of us within the industry are familiar with – we live it, breathe it, and dream about it. For Alicia and Sam Knowles of Indiana and their power packed home grown program…. Equine fever is where it started for the both of them.
Sam grew up on a southern Indiana farm specializing in the growth of crops and livestock. His father purchased his first pony on his 8th birthday, and throughout his childhood with the involvement of his local 4-H program, he grew fond of working and showing horses. After graduating high school, Sam attended Purdue University where he earned a degree in Agriculture with a focus on Ag Economics and Animal Science. Today, Sam is a seasoned salesperson who has spent the last 15 years immersed in the Ag industry with extensive knowledge of livestock and crop management. Together, he and his wife Alicia, partner in Goose Pond Farms Reining Program, reside near Madison, Indiana home of their equine breeding operation.
Alicia grew up showing horses in every aspect of the word – western pleasure to halter and running Quarter Horses. If you wanted to find her, it was usually in the barn with the horses she loved. When it was clear Alicia was never going to get over the peak of “equine fever” – her mother insisted her father find her a well broke, SAFE, push button type horse. Her father saw a palomino mare exiting the arena after her reining class at the World Show one year that hadn’t performed well that day. He made an offer on the mare “Im Dazlin” by Copper Jess out of a Parkers Trouble Mare, and Alicia’s love for the reining horse was born. This special mare spun holes in the ground and stopped as many times as she was asked to by a little girl with big dreams. “Im Dazlin” stayed with Alicia until she crossed the rainbow bridge during Alicia’s undergraduate years.
So what does all of the above have to do with introducing Goose Pond Farms? In my opinion the slew of stories and background information that have created the success you see happening in the show pen, or breeding and foaling barns is what acquaints you with the names you see in show programs and print advertising. They draw you in to investigate a program further, follow their story, or take a second look at the horses they have available. It is Sam and Alicia’s goal to not only be a regular source of PROVEN prospects and show horses, but also to stand by those horses for the rest of their careers with whomever may own them. The above information gives you an idea of where Sam & Alicia come from and what has molded them as breeders. Now, let us tell you about their reining program and what they have accomplished in the last few years!
It was after graduate school that Alicia met Sam her husband of 14 years. At this point in her life she was now gainfully employed and had the resources to purchase another reining horse for herself. Although Sam didn’t grow up showing horses the same way Alicia did, he was supportive and interested in learning more about the sport. He told her if they were going to get into reiners, they needed to attend the prestigious NRHA Futurity and see the big picture. They needed to understand what they were striving to achieve. In 2006, Sam and Alicia packed up the company van with a few hundred dollars in their pocket and made the trip to the futurity – in the middle of a snow storm no less. It was there at the show that Sam turned to Alicia and said, “If we’re going to do this….. We’re going to do it all the way.”
They came home with big goals and that meant big changes. They sold every single horse they had between the two of them and began to search for the best FILLY they could afford to buy. 200 or more yearlings later with the help of NRHA professional Mike Flarida, they settled on a Jacs Electric Spark filly – Electric Moon. She happened to be standing in a snow field of dreams in Maple Plain, Minnesota – the home of the one and only Sally Brown and Buck Hazeldine.
A special filly, with legendary connections in Sally & Buck, she would begin to help build the foundation of their reining program. This purchase for Sam and Alicia also created a lifelong friendship and mentorship with Sally and Buck. A relationship that would inspire a deeper commitment to their goals with reining horses, provide thoughtful insight into the genetics of legendary performers and producers, and invaluable education on the sport of reining.
Next was Jacs Electric Kiss, purchased out of the NRHA futurity sale as a Weanling – THE ONLY weanling to ever to go through the NRHA Futurity sale. Sam and Alicia stood ringside as they purchased the filly with the guidance of Buck, because she was a Jacs Electric Spark. To name a few of her accomplishments
with Sam and Alicia, they showed her to over $7600 in earnings, she was the level 1 & 2 Tradition Futurity Non Pro Champion with Alicia, and 3rd in the Intermediate Open at the RMRHA Futurity with Ben Gerst. Today, Jacs Electric Kiss plays an integral role in their breeding program as the dam of current prospects Lil Yellow Submarine – a 2015 Sorrel Stallion by Colonels Lil Gun, and LilCorona At Sunset – 2016 Filly by Colonels Lil Gun.
Pictured Above: Jacs Electric Kiss
Today the focus of Sam & Alicia’s program is producing a few quality prospects each year out of the mares they have home grown. There is nothing like raising a mare, showing her, and then bringing her back home to be integrated into the future generations of a program. In doing this, Sam and Alicia know every strength and weakness of their mare, thus they have the ability to make an educated and well thought out plan for potential crosses to produce the next generation of prospects. This tradition within their program provides potential buyers with GENERATIONS of insight on the maternal sides of these horse’s pedigrees. An element that in today’s trendy reining industry holds great value to a prospective buyer. Not only do you have breeders that stand behind their stock, but also a lifelong support system armed with generations of history to help you along the way. It is no coincidence that Sam and Alicia have a program that can say 100% of the prospects they have produced are money earners.
Today, Alicia is now riding some of their homegrown prospects and doing very well. In 2017, she made the NRHA Non Pro finals on their colt – Red Garter n Whizkey, now an earner of over $19,000 NRHA. A stunning colt by the trending young sire Whizkey N Diamonds out of their own leading NRHA producing mare in 2017 – Peppys Lightning Jac! Alicia, an extremely driven and talented non pro now has NRHA Rider Earnings of over $50,000 and an arsenal of prospects they have raised. You will continue to see these homegrown athletes under her in NRHA show pens across the country for many years to come. The future is bright!
Teams make success easier to obtain, the Goose Pond Farms program has a stellar team around them to aid in achieving these goals. This includes the guidance of their trainer Jason Torpey – who prepares the horses, and Alicia for each and every trip into the show pen. Coaches like Martin Padilla who helps Alicia prepare mentally for the show pen, and of course Buck who offered his friendship, wisdom, and mentorship. They also have formed a working connection and friendship with Paul and Pam Rohus of Double PR Ranch, owners of one of the most consistent siring sons of Gunner – Colonels Lil Gun – a stallion they continue to utilize in their program and have great success. One of his daughters will be entering their broodmare band this year – GunnaJacYaUp earner of over $23,000 out of Goose Pond Mare – Peppys Lightning Jac.
It is clear this is a couple with a serious work ethic and commitment to continue to grow and strengthen their program in all phases, with the help of those that are successful within the industry and have similar visions. This is a breeding program that understands the value of teams and networks to create even more success. We at WhoaZone Equine are thrilled to be a part of Goose Pond Farms as their marketing source. These are the kinds of programs that WhoaZone feels are vital to the reining industry, and programs we want to assist in bringing to the forefront, building familiarity, and helping to introduce their prospects to potential new programs!
As for the future, Sam & Alicia’s goals are to produce quality prospects that find themselves successful in the shown pen no matter who is listed as the owner on their papers, and become producers when their career is over. They earnestly seek to become a program that is sought out when searching for someone’s next dream. A source that buyers choose from knowing that they are purchasing a prospect with generations of proven success and breeders that will be cheering for them at the gate…. Every single time!
Sam and Alicia are expecting an exciting crop of foals this year and have several outstanding prospects available for your consideration. Please take a moment to check them out on Facebook at Goose Pond Farms – and drop them a line! Sam and Alicia are always interested in discussing the future with those striving for greatness in the industry as well!
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of commitment to the excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort” – Paul J Meyer
Pictured Below – Alicia & Red Garter N Whizkey – 2017 NRHA Non Pro Futurity Finalist and earner of over $19,000