Willowbank Farm - About us
My wife Gina and I have been breeding Missouri Foxtrotters here at “ Willowbank Farm” since 2003.
I grew up in the Wellington area and went to medical school in Otago. I spent my medical career in the united States practicing interventional cardiology and retired early because of a bad hip. Upon retirement I returned to New Zealand for part of the year and purchased "Willowbank Farm" a 1700 acre sheep and cattle operation.
Horses were a childhood passion of mine that has never left me. I therefore decided to breed horses here at Willowbank. Once I surveyed the New Zealand horse scene I was very surprised to find there were hardly any gaited horses here. This surprised me as they are such a prominent aspect of the US riding scene. I felt that this was a void that needed filling and so Gina and I started to research all the gaited horse breeds available in the US. After extensive research and traveling around the states riding all the different gaited breeds we decided that for us it was no contest. We felt that the Missouri Foxtrotter was easily the smoothest and most attractive breed available.
This led to us importing three Missouri Foxtrotters in 2003. The two mares were Cocoa and Lady Ann the stallion Ozark. Our stallion Ozark (Sunrise Golden Dusty C) was a beautiful golden palomino sired by Southern Sunrise, a premier sire in the US. He was greatly beloved by all of us at Willowbank and sadly at the end of 2010 Ozark became very ill with chronic kidney disease and we had to put him down.
This started a search for a new stallion. We wanted great genetics but they needed to be very different from what we had to give us genetic diversity. I liked the older foundation foxrtotters rather than the newer show horses and was able to locate a 22 month old stallion from the line of Danny Joe a legendary foundation stallion. As he was unregistered we were able to register him as Willowbank’s legacy. He is a Buttermilk Buckskin and we expect him to be quite tall when he finishes growing. He should be about 16 hands. He arrived in New Zealand right at the end of the breeding season but we were lucky to be able to train him to use the phantom for artificial insemination and were able to get two of our mares pregnant.
Gina and I love our foxtrotters and hope they will make a longterm difference to horse riding in New Zealand.