History of Singing Winds Farm
Written by Dick and Sharon Crane, March 2018
In 1983 we bought our first farm in southern Iowa. Sharon had a long history with horses. Her favorite was a half Morgan called Prince. Dick's dad once had a half Morgan driving horse, so you can see we were Morgan bound. We received $500 from Dick's dad to help buy a Morgan for his two granddaughters Debbie and Carrie.
We purchased two Morgan fillies from Loren and Annette Iverson at Nodaway Farm. Dick was in trouble with the girls for this as neither horse was trained. With lots of help from Sharon, they were going everywhere in two months.
One year later the girls wanted baby horses, so back to the Iverson farm we went. Well, as luck would have it, Iversons were moving to a new farm that was not set up for horses and they needed to find a new home for their oldest stallion. Instead of breeding our two mares for $350 each, we were offered Larosa's Jule, a Mansfield grandson, for half that cost. Jule was 23 years old when we brought him home, but his age never slowed him down. He was Dick's favorite riding horse.
In 1985 Singing Winds Pride was born, and we were in the horse business. We purchased additional mares, and as Jule aged, we went looking for his replacement. Iversons had two young stud colts for sale, Nodaway Icon and Nodaway Torger. Dick and the girls liked Icon, a very pretty boy, and Sharon liked Torger. We outvoted Mom and bought Icon. I guess many of you know why this was not a smart move. Icon never produced the kind of stock we wanted. After that we let Sharon pick out the horses to purchase or keep for our breeding program.
Stallion # 3, Hawkeyes Elite, was purchased to replace Icon. A good friend Dennis Yohe recommended him. Elite had not spent a lot of time in the company of other horses, except for when he bred a mare. Dennis assured us that if we pasture bred him he would be okay. We had great results with that already, so we went for it. To ease his transition to pasture life, we gave him two weeks to visit with the mares over the corral fence. Then it was time to turn him out. Needless to say the mares trained him the old-fashioned way, and he ended up with a few sore spots. Dennis had been right. A year later he was a different horse . . . calm and happy with his mares. He was our daughter Carrie's favorite riding horse.
We were producing really good foals now. We saved the best fillies for evaluation as breeding stock and sold the others.
The herd was getting larger, and several of Elite's daughters were ready to join the brood mare band. After a long search, Sharon found our fourth stallion near St. Louis. Sinbad's Merlin was an 11-month old seal brown colt with very correct conformation, beauty, and brains. He was the best looking horse we ever owned. We knew he was perfect for our breeding plan. Elite was a Flyhawk grandson, and Sinbad's dam was a half sister to Elite. They were products of great line breeding close up to Flyhawk. We couldn't lose! When we bred Sinbad to Elite's daughters we produced some of the nicest and most typey Morgans we ever had. The only time we showed our beautiful Sinbad was at the Iowa State Fair where he took first in his class. Showing was not something we really enjoyed, though. Breeding good Morgans and riding them are our first loves.
Sharon trained every horse we kept. Most of the time we had 6 or 8 we could ride. Southern Iowa was serious horse country. Neighbors always had gates on their fences, so we could ride from farm to farm as was customary in these parts. We had unlimited access, and we could ride for miles.
By 1994 we had about 20 head of Morgans when Dick's company offered him a job as Senior Technical Support Specialist for the Midwest, stationed out of Wisconsin. We were happy to get back home to Wisconsin with only 10 years left until Dick's retirement. But what to do with all those horses? We sold most of them and took 9 horses to Wisconsin. There were only 13 acres on our new farm with several pastures and a horse barn. This was a big change from the 60 acre farm we had in Iowa.
We sold most of our horses for our asking price to our Morgan friends in Iowa. The best four mares, their foals, and Sinbad we took to Wisconsin.
At our new farm in southern Wisconsin, our land adjoined a school forest, and we could not keep the curious youngsters out of the pastures. Between running our Irish Setter stud dog and Morgan stallion in the pastures, we became concerned for the safety of the children. We gelded Sinbad. Thinking back on it now, we wish we had never done that.
Dick retired in 2004, and we purchased the 51 acres we live on now near Tigerton, WI. We brought three horses to the new farm. We built a horse barn so Sharon could have a place to keep the horses she could not live without. We thought they would be just pets and riding horses, but that was not to be. We just could not give up breeding Morgans, so we bought another mare and started breeding again using an outside stallion. For a while we thought we had just the right sized operation to enjoy in our golden years.
Then our daughter Carrie met Kevin and everything changed . . . again! Kevin wanted to raise Morgan horses too, so Dick and Sharon dipped into their savings and made improvements to the farm. We obtained two of Nap Bourdeau's mares. His mare Peaches was out of Nodaway Torger so we got part of him after all. From Debbie Fairbanks we purchased the frozen semen of EM-Jac's Tenacity, a Courage of Equinox son. We just bought two new fillies from June Pedersen's Castle Ridge Keep to add to our growing herd.
Well, Sharon is 73 and Dick is 77, so I guess we will keep on breeding Morgans. When they get into your blood, you can never be without them.