There’s no doubt that experiencing the incomparable energy found on the racetrack is a thrilling part of racehorse ownership. But as many owners learn, there’s another component to horse ownership, one that lacks that buzz, but is paramount to the long-term success and welfare of the horse.
For whatever the reason, be it an injury or just a well-deserved break from the rigors of training and racing, most racehorses will spend time on the farm during their careers. The downtime can be frustrating for owners, but the experience for the horse is actually quite refreshing.
For Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, farm life for his horses is a carefully planned-out journey. Over the years, the detail-orientated Mandella has cultivated a program for his horses that features a three-step approach. Once a horse is identified as needing time away from the track, be it a short spell or a longer period, the veteran horseman uses three facilities in California that compliment each other: Peacefield Farm, Bonnie Acres Ranch, and Julie Stacks Farm.
The Mandella “Three-Step Program” as we call it, starts with horses receiving downtime or rest at Peacefield Farm, followed by additional days at Bonnie Acres to make use of the underwater treadmill to gain fitness, and then wraps up at Julie Stacks Farm, where horses start back under tack and begin jogging with some light gallops sprinkled in, before returning to Mandella’s barn.
In this update, we will focus on Peacefield and in future reports, shift our attention to Bonnie Acres Ranch, followed by a look at Julie Stacks Farm.
Located in Temecula, which is about 75 miles south of Santa Anita Park, Peacefield offers horses an oasis of tranquility with its abundance of grass pastures. It’s also a rehab facility with different therapies, including the EquiVibe plate which, among its myriad benefits, helps improve flexibility, calms nerves, and prevents bone and muscle mass loss.
Managed by Scott Siler, a lifelong horseman who has been at Peacefield for four years now, the property has been a home away from home for Mandella’s horses for more than 20 years.
“The name Peacefield is very fitting,” Mandella said. “It’s a quiet environment and allows these horses to get the track off their mind. Also, a major factor is the grass. They do such a great job maintaining and taking pride in having grass pastures.”
Many of Mandella’s stable’s stars have vacationed at Peacefield and include his four-time champion Beholder; seven-time graded stakes winner United; and his first Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Pleasantly Perfect.
“Pleasantly Perfect was the poster child for Peacefield Farm for years,” the trainer remarked. “The environment really allowed them to shut off from the track, especially Pleasantly Perfect and Beholder. Peacefield truly allows them to be a horse. Pleasantly Perfect spent most of his time there when his career was delayed a year due to a virus that enlarged his heart. The rest was history as he went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Pacific Classic and Dubai World Cup.”
Another perk is that Siler loves to roll-out the red carpet for MyRacehorse’s owners. We’ve been fortunate to hold numerous events there to show off our horses while they blissfully enjoy their time off and, as an added benefit, the farm provides the perfect escape for our owners.
“My wife, Stacey and I, have gone to Peacefield Farm to see Man Among Men, Above Suspicion, Popular Demand, Infinite Empire, and Naismith,” said MRH owner Kris Yeary. “Randy from MRH, and Scott from Peacefield Farm, are always friendly, informative, and will get you up close with your horse for pictures or to feed a carrot or peppermint to them. In addition to seeing your horse, Randy and Scott will show you your horses’ daily routine at the farm, and the farm’s operations. We were also fortunate enough to see 2021 Preakness winner, Rombauer, while he was at Peacefield during his layoff, and Sacred Light, the 19-year-old son of Holy Bull. The Peacefield Farm visit with Randy and Scott was enjoyable and informative, and meeting other owners in addition to your horses was truly an experience.”
Stay tuned as we will be sharing new dates to visit Peacefield in the near future, so owners can see first-hand what this slice of heaven has to offer both horses and humans!