There was still something missing however, and it didn't take long to figure out what it was. Vicky had had a passion for horses since her youth, and was an accomplished rider, and Gene had a serious interest in practical farming. The two compromised and decided to get involved with draft horses. The rarity of the Shire breed appealed to the couple and they imported their first Shire from England in the Spring of 1974, a bred gray mare named Alneland Countess. The mare arrived just as the family's first daughter Cristy, born in 1973, began to walk. The couple began showing Countess in the summer of 1974, a tradition which has continued every year since, and over the years developed from a single halter horse into a nine horse string of halter and hitch Shires. In the first years they began showing, the couple were instrumental in the development of Shire only classes at local shows throughout New York State. Countess' first foal, Ox Kill King arrived in early April of 1975, and was sold as a yearling. Gene and Vicky also joined the American Shire Horse Association in 1974 and in 1976 Gene was elected for the first time to the Board of Directors, where he has served regularly since, including terms as president and treasurer. Aside from their life membership in the ASHA, both Gene and Vicky are life members of the the Shire Horse Society in England and Gene is also a life member of the Canadian Shire Horse Association.
Their second daughter Erin arrived in the summer of 1976
(on Gene's birthday!). The same year she arrived, the
couple purchased Folly Farm Grey Forrester, who was the first gray Shire
stallion to stand at stud in modern times in the US. Ox Kill Duke, Countess'
second foal, sired by Sarnland Hainton Warrant, was also born in 1976, but was
soon sold. Though several foals were born in the intervening years, the true
start of the Ox Kill breeding program came in late 1980's with the purchase of
Walker House Surprise (1986), Lychett Ash Lady Diana (1987), and Gayton Sunset
(1989). These three mares produced countless foals sired by Forrester and Duke,
who rejoined the herd in 1986, and good quality mares were kept each year until
a substantial herd of brood mares was established, including the champion Duke daughter Ox Kill Koorahana. The loss of Forrester
in Detroit to colic was one of
life's great tragedies, but along with it came the purchase of Dua He Chi's
Roscoe in 1993. Roscoe proved to be a fierce competitor in the show ring, just
as his predecessor had been, and also sired many outstanding foals including
two of their most successful hitch mares, Ox Kill Minnie Pearl and Ox Kill Madam
1996 Metheringham Upton Isaac was imported from England, and without missing a
beat became a star in the show ring,
taking one Canadian and two American National Championships among his many other
accolades. The senior stallion Leapley Deighton Cardinal joined Isaac and Roscoe
as a herd sire in 2007, and the three stallions, along with eight broodmares and
a handful of youngsters make up the 15 Shire herd that calls Ox Kill Farm home
This picture, taken in 1996, is one of our favorites. Here you see four generations of mares, with great-grandmother on the far left, followed by daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter. From left to right is Walker House Surprise, Ox Kill Surprise Minneapolis, Ox Kill Koorahana, and Ox Kill Dream Come True. Surprise, was one of the three mares who were highly influential in the development of our current brood stock, and Minnie and Koora continued her legacy through the production of several top quality foals here at the farm. Trudy was purchased at weaning by Mike and Jane Stefaniak of Shadow Brook Shires in Perth, ON, CA where she still resides today!