Stonebridge Farm was started in 1995 as a "boutique" Standardbred breeding farm by Angie Stiller, the President of the operation, and her husband Cal Stiller. The farm is located in Arva Ontario on a picturesque property cut into the rolling hills of southwestern Ontario on the site of a previous Egyptian-Arabian breeding farm. Winding through the property is Medway Creek, a branch of the Thames River, protected by large stands of historical forest. The farm utilizes small paddocks with frequent rotation and a 2/1 pasture rest-to-use ratio that optimizes parasite control while still giving the yearlings and foals adequate room to run and play. Water is derived from drilled wells that yield a mineral-rich water from the limestone bed sub-terrain streams, ideal for livestock. Paddocks are analysed regularly and re-energized twice yearly, with scheduled maintenance of cutting and harrowing. Fences consist of oak boards with electrical containment to assure containment and discourage "testing" the limits by the young and lively yearlings.
We believe in outdoor living for our horses to the greatest degree possible with run-ins and fresh water always available. The natural rolling nature of the land is conducive to muscle building and cardiovascular conditioning as most paddocks have a slope to challenge the occupants. Nutrition and safety are preoccupations of the staff. Each foal and yearling are weighed monthly, their weight charted on a growth chart and the daily rations re-adjusted to meet their changing requirements. We follow the Master Feed protocols, adjusted to our own hay and pasture analysis and the particular growth pattern of the individual. As we reach the stage of yearling preparation individual attention becomes intense with daily programmed time on the Equicizer according to the needs of the individual. Time is also spent in the round pen to teach manners and to follow commands.
Never but never are the animals allowed to be mistreated and mastery of the animal has to come through respect not physical means. First of all, physical means doesn't work, and secondly, it teaches the animal all the wrong things about the human-equine relationship. Our clients remark on the maturity, physically and psychologically, of our graduates and we are gratified by that.
Seven yearling offerings have now been offered at sale and there are 37 graduates that are older than 2 years old. we are proud of the results of the sales and the performance of the graduates, although there have been some disappointments. As share-holders of the FOREST CITY YEARLING SALE held each year in London Ontario at the new sales arena we sell all our yearlings at that sale. We take the opportunity to buy back a piece of some of our yearlings if offered after the sale and look forward to have some of them returning to the farm to join the broodmare band when they have completed their racing career. An example of this was the first foal of this farm, called STONEBRIDGE FIRST who was bought by Bob McIntosh, Cliff Grundy and Steve Condren in the first sale that we entered yearlings. We bought a one-third interest in her after the sale, she raced, won $610,000 as a 2 and 3 year old, and then we bought most of the balance of her and she joined our broodmare band. The performance of our graduates has been greater than we could have expected - with multiple stake winners, and champions, and multiple $100,000 winners.
Our broodmares are chosen on the basis of conformation, pedigree and performance. It is not one or the other, it is all of these to the greatest degree possible. It is accepted that one cannot have the best of everything in every individual. But the total has to be exceptional. There are conformational faults that one can accept that are not critical to performance or that can be corrected through "breeding-out" in a mare that was an outstanding performer. One might have a non-performing sister to a champion that has impeccable conformation. One might breed an extraordinary individual with outstanding performance, who does not have the strength in the pedigree that one would ideally like. But in all these situations the performance of their offspring must quickly demonstrate that the genes exist to produce great race horses or they are culled. Fortunately most of our mares do not have serious deficiencies and have demonstrated that they've "got it"!
Visit our Graduate Section to see for yourself, and examine the conformation and review the pedigrees of our broodmares.
We need to give credit to the consultants that contribute so importantly to our endeavor. The late Curt Greene helped put our band together and establish the values and principles that went into choosing our mares. Bart Glass now is our bloodstock consultant and there are few individuals in the business with the wisdom of Bart. Dr. Stan Henderson is our veterinarian and oversees the vaccination, health promotion, reproductive medicine and foal health management. We couldn't do it without him
We're a team in all the sense of that word and the President Angie is our leader. (When she reads this, if she does, she'll make me take it out, but we all know that's true!)
We welcome visitors to see the stock. Please call ahead.