Orangeville, Ontario â€“ Armstrong Farm of Orangeville, ON, had numerous accomplishments to celebrate during the 2007 season including taking home several year-end titles at the Ontario Horse Trials Association (OHTA) annual awards dinner.
Ruth Armstrong, who owns and operates Armstrong Farm with her husband, Morley, was named the Leading Lady Rider, a title gained through her impressive results this season with Urban Legend and Ilian de Taute. In addition, Armstrong was named the Leading Open Preliminary Rider while Urban Legend, purchased by Armstrong in May, won the Leading Thoroughbred Award.
Two other riders with close ties to Armstrong Farm also enjoyed impressive finishes at the OHTA year-end awards. Alicia Doucette, a student of Armstrong’s and a member of the Armstrong Farm team, finished third overall in the Intermediate standings with Abbey Rhode, a horse started by Armstrong Farm. Canadian Olympian Garry Roque finished third to Armstrong in the Open Preliminary Rider standings and was also named the Leading Male Rider with points gained riding Ilian de Taute and Jack Be Nimble I. Armstrong Farm owns both horses.
“Today’s eventing market requires horses that have jumping ability and superior movement, as well as inherent carefulness and a willing temperament, and Ruth is certainly on the right track with her breeding program,” complimented Roque, who represented Canada at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. “The results at the 2007 OHTA Awards are a testament to her success, and her stallions are second to none – the fact that they are impeccably mannered for breeding and also able compete at such a high level concurrently are to her credit. Ruth is a staunch supporter of eventing and I really enjoy being involved with her program and appreciate having the opportunity to ride quality horses.”
In the role of coach, Roque also added, “Ruth is relatively new to the sport of eventing and has progressed quickly to her current level. I expect her to be competitive at the two-star level this spring with several of the horses in her string, and to move up to advanced later in the season.”
Armstrong, whose love of equestrian sport was cultivated in her native Great Britain, has competed internationally in both show jumping and eventing. In addition to being an active competitor and level 2 jumping coach, her Armstrong Farm has gained a reputation for its breeding program, which features proven selle francais bloodlines and has produced young stock which is winning in all three disciplines, particularly in the United States. In addition to carrying famous pedigrees, Armstrong also ensures that her breeding stallions are successful competitors. Ilian de Taute is a perfect example. Having enjoyed a successful grand prix show jumping career, first under eight-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar, then Chris Sorensen, and more recently with top-ranked U.S. show jumping rider, Aaron Vale, Ilian de Taute is now being campaigned in eventing by Armstrong as well as Roque with an eye to the 2010 World Equestrian Games.
Frenchman, another one of Armstrong Farm’s top breeding stallions, was developed to the Grand Prix level as a show jumper before switching to eventing where he was brought up to the intermediate level by two-time Olympian Peter Gray and successfully completed the CIC** Red Hills Horse Trials in Tallahassee, FL. Armstrong has now taken over the reins, and competes the talented stallion in both show jumping and at the intermediate level of eventing.
“Frenchman has one of the biggest hearts I have ever encountered,” says Armstrong, who has been competing the stallion for the past two seasons. “To date, he has never questioned any cross-country or show jump I have put him to, although with his pedigree, it is not surprising! Just like Ilian de Taute, Frenchman is so focused at competitions and always gives me his undivided attention. It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to work with such talented horses.”
All of the planning, research, and financial investment that goes into developing a successful breeding program came to fruition this summer. Armstrong Farm celebrated a milestone when its home-bred colt P.S. I Love You was named the 2007 Canadian National Stallion Licensing Champion. A total of 18 stallions across the country were presented to the judges with only eight being granted a stallion license. With the highest scores from all 18 horses presented, the four judges praised P.S. I Love You’s type, conformation, scope and bascule and noted that the horse was awarded several marks of nine out of 10 on his score sheet. Sired by Armstrong Farm’s own grand prix show jumping stallion, Ilian de Taute, and out of the Hannoverian mare, Wenella, P.S. I Love You is a registered Canadian Warmblood that will compete in both show jumping and eventing in the 2008 season.
Armstrong Farm, owned and operated by Ruth and Morley Armstrong, is one of North America’s leading breeding farms specializing in selle francais breeding. Currently, three selle francais stallions stand at stud: Ilian de Taute, the only son of Narcos II standing in North America; Frenchman, the only son of Le Tot de Semilly standing in North America; and, proudly offered for the first time, the 2007 Canadian National Stallion Licensing Champion, P.S. I Love You, a son of Ilian de Taute. Armstrong Farm also stood the foundation stallion Tango Selune (deceased) whose sire, Mazarin V, was a full brother to Narcos II.
In addition to standing stallions at stud, Armstrong Farm also produces approximately 10 foals each season through its breeding program. Armstrong trains these young prospects and, every spring, debuts a new crop of talented youngsters in the show arena. Armstrong also trains and campaigns external stallions and has recently taken over the reins of Ulando, a Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Tim Millard that will make his eventing debut in 2008. Armstrong Farm recently purchased Holberg, a Swedish-bred stallion registered with Canadian Warmblood that will compete in the dressage arena next season.