Cover Story - Vol. 48, No.5A - Issue #11
Integrity and Commitment—The Hallmarks Of Beloveds Farm
by THERESA CARDAMONE
Breeding and raising horses is a labor of love that Pat Dempsey has embraced for most of her life. Today, she is widely known in the Arabian horse industry as the owner of Beloveds Farm in Lady Lake, Florida. Even though she is a small breeder in terms of number of horses, for the past two years, Pat has been the leading U.S. owner of halter winners at our national championships. She is also a strong supporter of the Arabian horse in the open marketplace, having twice broken world records to secure special horses for her program. What most people do not know is that Pat has gotten to where she is today from humble beginnings, using her determination, pluck and passion to build her future.
“Nobody else in my family was into horses, we raised beef cattle,” Pat chuckles. “So, until I could buy my own—this was when I was about seven or eight—I’d ride the lead cow! In fact, the cow’s name was ‘Theresa’! That’s why I had a really good seat by the time I was nine and could buy my first registered Saddlebred mare for $200. When I later qualified for the Olympics in dressage and stadium jumping, everything was held in Europe and everyone had to have a ‘guru’ if they rode in those fields. So, when someone asked me who my guru was, I would say, ‘Theresa,’ and they would pretend to know who that was.”
Pat rapidly parlayed her meager investment into a consistent source of income that funded her future, including her college education through two Masters—one in Business Administration and one in Public Administration. “I’ve been breeding horses since I was nine,” Pat relays. “I bred about ten foals from that Saddlebred mare, which I trained, showed and sold. I didn’t have a trailer, so to get her bred, I would ride my mare the eight miles across the river to the Saddlebred farm, take the saddle off, we’d breed her, and I’d ride her back to our farm in Ohio.”
Pat’s notoriety grew as she became the rider of choice for some of the leading barns in the area.
“I couldn’t afford a really good horse and wanted to keep my amateur status, so I rode for other people so they could sell their horses for big money. I’d never had a lesson or anything … except from riding Theresa! And every time I would show in a class, I would whup all the wealthy kids and the horse would be sold. People paid a lot of money for them, back then … $100,000—that’s like $1.5 million now.”
From an early age, Pat Dempsey has demonstrated the grit and determination it takes to build her life into what it is today. She has also proven that she is game for just about any challenge. “I was at a show where a friend from high school was also competing,” Pat remarks. “I didn’t jump or anything, I rode flat saddle—3-gaited and 5-gaited—but he had a big, white jumper named Snow King. I think he was about 17 hands. They had just won a class over about 60 other horses, and he dared me to ride Snow King in his next class. So, he gave me his jacket and hard hat—I had my own britches on—and I went in to show Snow King. And I’ll tell you what,” Pat remembers, “when I saw that first jump of five feet coming, I was shit-scared, I couldn’t even look! I didn’t even have a clue about the pattern. We won over 47 horses as I recall, but it was only because Snow King knew where to go. I didn’t show jumpers for a while again, until I got a little more experience!”
Pat utilized her education to foster an extremely successful life in the business world and she runs Beloveds Farm and her seven businesses with the same attention to detail; creating an atmosphere of trust while setting the bar to a very high standard. Her horses are raised with love and respect, an attitude reflected by each member of the farm team, and received back by the horses themselves. Pat foals out her mares herself, and when she decides to test her horses in competition, they are placed in the hands of horsemen who have similar ideas and humane practices. Honesty and integrity are the foundation of the culture that Pat has established, and are necessary ingredients for anyone who hopes to handle Beloveds’ horses. The well-being of the animals is always of paramount importance, which has led to happy, well-adjusted horses who are eager to perform and win.
2017 has been an extraordinary year for Beloveds Farm. Pat has been very pleased to see the emergence of her young stallion Beloved One NA—a Canadian National Champion and U.S. Reserve National Champion Junior Stallion as a 2-year old—as an exceptional sire. With only five foals on the ground, his two 2016 progeny are already visiting the winner’s circle on a regular basis, both of them winning Regional championships. Beloveds One Blessing, out of Rohara MarcAlyssa, by QR Marc, was impressive in winning the Region 12 Champion Yearling Sweepstakes Filly title. Her stand-up was picture perfect: she could have been a model horse, with her dark coat polished to an impossible shine, her smooth muscles flexing beneath paper-thin skin.
Another daughter of Beloved One, Beloveds Earth Angel, was named both the unanimous Region 15 Champion Yearling Filly and the unanimous Region 15 Champion Yearling Sweepstakes Filly. A product of U.S. and Canadian National Top Ten Mare Magnums Angel JD, Earth Angel put on a show-stopping performance that impressed the audience as much as it did the judging panel. This year, three more Beloved One foals were born, a trio of phenomenal chestnut colts who will be making their show debuts sometime next year. They are as correct and elegant as their full-sisters, with plenty of attitude and presence.
Beloveds Farm had an avalanche of additional regional winners this summer. Beloved Joy to Behold, another daughter of the excellent producer Rohara MarcAlyssa, was the unanimous Region 12 Champion Two-Year Old Filly. Previously, Joy had journeyed north to win the 2016 Canadian National Champion Yearling Filly honors. Not to be outshone, Beloved Call to Glory, a gorgeous son of Gazal Al Shaqab and JP Extreme Obsession, was named the Region 15 Champion Three-Year Old Colt. The Region 15 Two-Year-Old Filly Championship was unanimously awarded to the incredibly beautiful Beloved Gracious Lady, who had won the unanimous yearling filly title the previous year. By Bey Ambition and out of the Bey Shah daughter AP Sheez Sassy, Gracious Lady is a throwback to the tall, regal, athletic and animated halter champions of earlier years. She is so correct in every way, that she was the highest scoring yearling filly at the 2016 U.S. Nationals by a whopping 3.5 points over her nearest competitor.
It is plain to see that Pat’s recipe for success is working now, just as it has worked for her in the past. Her eye for quality and instincts as a breeder are as sharp now as they were in 1980, when she was seeking to add to her original foundation mare band. In a foreshadowing of things to come, she purchased U.S. National Champion Mare WN Mi Kerida at a world record price for an Arabian mare sold at auction. Pat established herself over the next 38 years as a breeder of note and enthusiastic supporter of the Arabian horse. But for Pat, the state of the industry at that time became intolerable. She was disillusioned over the blatant cosmetic alterations that were being performed on Arabian show horses, and the failure of the judges and stewards of the Arabian Horse Association (AHA) to hold the owners and trainers accountable for their actions. With a heavy heart, and in spite of her emotional and financial investment, Pat Dempsey made the decision to leave the business and was out of the mix for a bit more than a decade.
Having reemerged over the past four years as a leading owner and breeder, Pat shocked the Arabian public once again with her $1.55 million auction purchase of Om El Erodite last February, a world-record for an Arabian yearling filly. Her commitment to the welfare of the Arabian horse in general, and that ethereal filly in particular, prompted her bold move and endorsed her strong support for the breed. And yet, concerns about the integrity of the industry—which includes the organizations that control most of the rated shows in North America—have arisen again. Beloveds Farm felt the impact directly when the 2016 U.S. National Show Committee created confusion about the adjudication of Class 971, the Arabian Yearling Sweepstakes Filly Championship, by informing exhibitors that the winner of the class had been determined under the official Arabian Scoring System, only to reverse course and announce there would be further judging under the comparative system. This resulted in a reversal of Beloved Gracious Lady’s previously tallied 394.5-point win—which was a margin of three and a half points more than any other filly.
Pat’s position is that AHA’s rules required use of the Arabian Scoring System for judging the yearling filly class. Three mandatory AHA rules require as much: AHA COMP 607 states: “When adjudicating all Breeding/Gelding In-Hand classes … judges will use the ‘Arabian Scoring System.’” AHA COMP 609.4 states: “When adjudicating all Breeding/In-Hand classes, judges will use the ‘Arabian Scoring System.’” Finally, AHA COMP 705.1 states: “The Arabian Scoring System must be used for all Breeding/Gelding In-Hand classes.” The only rule that authorizes comparative judging is limited to junior and senior breeding championships—not yearling sweepstakes classes. In short, it is Pat’s view that the Show Commission’s initial determination—that the winner of the yearling filly class was to be determined under the Arabian Scoring System—was correct, and the Commission’s decision to determine the winner of the class under comparative judging was in violation of AHA’s rules.
Pat Dempsey believes in looking forward and prevailing in each moment. She and her legal team did everything they could to illuminate the infractions that had taken place, expecting a timely, appropriate and responsible resolution. However, when the issues concerning the Yearling Filly class were pointed out to the AHA President, the Show Commission and the USEF steward prior to the re-judging of Class 971, their response was, “File a protest!” which was exactly what many of the other exhibitors implored Pat to do in asking her to “be their voice,” so that’s exactly what Pat did.
All USEF administrative protocol was respectfully followed and an appeal was heard at USEF offices in Lexington, Ky., last April. While the Hearing Committee rejected every single one of AHA’s arguments about its own rules, and while the Hearing Committee questioned the Show Commission’s motivations and chastised the Show Commission for how the matter was handled, the Hearing Committee dismissed Pat’s protest! It was an outcome that seemed pre-ordained. Following the USEF denial of her protest dismissal, and considering the contents of the 300-page Hearing Transcript, there was basis for further action within the New York court system, and Pat has filed an additional protest. In the meantime, it has become known that AHA will be considering proposed rule changes at the upcoming AHA Convention in mid-November that, if enacted, would remove the mandatory language requiring use of the Arabian Scoring System in all three rules cited above!
For example, the language in COMP 607.1 would change from, “when adjudicating All Breeding/Gelding In-Hand Classes…judges will use the ‘Arabian Scoring System’” to “when adjudicating Breeding/In-Hand Classes judges may utilize the ‘Arabian Scoring System,’” making it optional. The proposed amendments would also add new language to COMP 609.4 authorizing use of the Arabian Scoring System “in the qualifying sections” followed by a “final comparative” – a procedure that did not exist for Class 971 in the 2016 Handbook. And yet, this was how the class at issue in Pat’s protest—Class 971— was judged at the 2016 U.S. Nationals.
The proposed changes represent such sweeping revisions to the rules currently in effect, that it has been submitted as an “extraordinary” resolution. While the proposed new rules appear to authorize the procedures used at the 2016 U.S. Nationals, they do not; they simply were not the rules in effect in 2016. Obviously, if the rules authorized this judging procedure in 2016, there would be no need to make these rule changes in November 2017. The fact that AHA has now apparently determined that it needs to change the rules to conduct the U.S. Nationals in that manner, is further evidence that AHA and its Show Commission violated the rules that were in effect during the 2016 U.S. Nationals.
There is an ongoing public discussion about the declining numbers of purebred Arabians being bred in the United States. People wonder why, when the product is the most versatile, beautiful and useful breed in the world, the market is not growing. Here is a case in point. The powers that be within the Arabian breed have caused Pat to reexamine the idea of bringing any more Arabian horses into the world. “I have not bred any of my mares this year and may never breed them again,” Pat proclaims. “I have sold breedings to my stallions and will continue to do so. We are inundated with offers from around the world for Beloved One’s services, and have high demand for the horses that I’ve bred. I will keep my show horses with Ted Carson and will continue to support Ted and Brandi in the future. I got out of the industry once before because of the surgical alterations to the horses, NOW we have to ‘surgically eliminate’ all the factors that could cause the industry to cease to exist.” Pat has also elected not to enter any of her qualified horses in this year’s national championships. It is a bold statement, which speaks to the ideals of integrity and transparency that Pat embraces.
“When our civilization is defined by its corruption, what is its rational reason to be? If there is no way to rehabilitate this corruption,” Pat questions, “what is the reason for this civilization to exist?” In the same way, she is questioning the reason for AHA and USEF to exist if they do not function according to their own mandated rules and responsibilities. One can only wonder whether the USEF is exhibiting administrative arrogance by even considering raising membership dues and drug testing fees on already impoverished equine competitions while failing to adhere to their own mandates and obligations.
Until AHA officials are required to operate the U.S. Nationals in accordance with the organization’s rules, Pat’s horses will go elsewhere for gold and glory. So, while other people’s horses make their way to Tulsa for the U.S. Nationals, Beloved Gracious Lady and her stablemate, Om El Erodite, will be stocking up on their rest and beauty sleep as they get ready for their next adventure. And what an adventure that will be! In November, the girls will fly across the Atlantic to compete against the finest fillies on the planet in the ultimate event of the year, the Arabian World Championships in Paris. Under Ted Carson’s expert guidance, Erodite will be vying for the title of World Champion Yearling Filly, with Gracie going after the World Champion Junior Mare title, complete with a doting entourage to cheer them on. It will be a fitting climax to a spectacular year for Beloveds Farm and the Carsons!
UPDATE! As this story was going to print on September 18, 2017, Beloveds Farm prevailed. Beloved Gracious Lady is the USEF and AHA acclaimed 2016 United States National Champion Yearling Sweepstakes Filly!