AHT's July Leader Of The Times

AHT's July Leader Of The Times

Leaders Of The Times: Cedar Ridge Arabians
by LARA AMES

Usually, Leaders Of The Times is devoted to the subject which appears on the Arabian Horse Times calendar page for that particular month. It’s an extra benefit for the advertisers who support our popular calendar, and also a good deal, because the calendar is viewed in tons of tack rooms and other equine venues across the country. That’s why my family has always purchased June for Cedar Ridge; this issue of the magazine comes out a month before Youth Nationals, which makes it another way to spread the news about the show, which is one of our favorites.

That’s all true this year, but right now, we have another reason for talking about Cedar Ridge every time we have the opportunity. We’re reorganizing the farm after my father’s death, and we want to let everyone know what is going on. There’s been a lot of speculation and gossip about what we’d be doing, and due to Cedar Ridge’s size and longtime role in the industry, we feel it’s time to clarify the situation.

As our advertisements this year will tell you, 2019 marks our 50th year in the Arabian horse business. In that half-century, despite market trends and economic ups and downs, we have remained true to our original commitment: we want to breed fine Arabian horses. When my parents started, they first wanted to breed just for us, but as time went on, it became very important to them—and so of course to me as I grew up—that we also become a resource of talented horses for the show ring. If you read my columns, you know how important it is to me that those who love the Arabian continue to breed horses. That’s the only way future generations will have horses to purchase, to own, to love, and if they enjoy show ring competition as much as we do, to show. We’ve never lost sight of that goal. And we’re not about to do that now, despite the seismic shift that has occurred in our family.

Therefore, as you might conclude, Cedar Ridge is not going anywhere. We will remain in the Arabian horse community for many years to come. However, without my dad, who was a tremendous presence at the farm, we will downsize the operation to make it more manageable and better able to fit our needs. The Ames family has a long history in breeding horses, and that’s the best way we know to maintain the high standards my father set for us.

To that end, we have sold more than 50 horses since the first of the year. We still own 120, and our plan is to be down to 50 by the end of the year. If all goes as expected, we would like to number 25 horses in three years. Our dream now is to be at the point where we can breed between five and 10 foals a year for halter, English and reining horses.

As any breeder knows, adding that many babies to our farm every year means that we plan to remain a resource of talent for the rest of our community. There will be several available for purchase every year, and we intend to maintain the high level of athletic ability and beauty—and depth of pedigree—that we always have.

Currently, we do not have many horses over the age of 3 left, unless they are breeding horses or show horses for my niece Hadley or me. At this point, we have about 15 3-year-olds on the farm or in training, and we plan to take five of them to U.S. Nationals.

But Nationals isn’t until October. In the meantime, we’re only 45 minutes from the Minneapolis airport and a reasonable drive from our friends and neighbors in the northern Midwest, so I’d like to invite you all to come to Cedar Ridge to celebrate our 50th Anniversary Friday and Saturday, August 2-3. Please see our ads for more details, but I can tell you that it will include pasture walks, presentations of sales horses, a visit to our Percheron division, wagon rides and a Celebration Dinner to benefit charity (RSVP required). And lots more. It’s going to be so much fun!

It’s the dawn of a new era with all the best aspects of the past. The Ames family will remain true to the ideals that my dad lived when he was with us. We are dedicated to the Arabian breed and we always will be.