Our Grand-daughter Katelyn
and her horse "Coors"
"I want to be competitive and I want to win classes and championships, but you know what means more to me? Clients and students who say our place is special, and who appreciate our hard work and feel like they are part of our family."
"If I can have that, that's my championship. My people feel pride and love for our farm. You know how many orgaizations don't care about anybody? And everything is all about winning, and not the people?"
The above quote is a quote from Rick Hendrick of Hedrick Motorsports that I saw on Nascar.com quite a while ago. I wrote it down though, because this is exactly how I feel about our farm and business. I have taken a little bit of license in changing the quote just a little to fit our horse business instead of Nascar racing.
Spring Valley Ranch
Spring Valley Ranch is owned by Rod and Doreen Passuello and located 5 miles north of Highway US 2 in Ironwood , Michigan. The Passuello's purchased their farm in May of 1980. Rod and Doreen were married August 2nd of that year and held their wedding reception at the farm.
Doreen, who was raised on a dairy and beef cattle farm in the area, has ridden since she was 4 years old, got her first horse at 8 years old and by the age of ten wanted nothing more than a career as a professional horseman. After high school graduation, she attended Huntlea Horse Center in Tennesse for a short time and then worked at 'regular' jobs for a few years before she and her sister Diane opened a western wear and tack store in Ironwood in 1978. They successfully operated their store for 8 years before closing in 1986 to focus on their young families and their growing horse businesses.
In 1982, after selling Doreen's Quarter Horse show gelding, the Passuello's purchased a Triple Chick bred AQHA mare who was due to foal soon. In 1983, Rod purchased a black yearling Skipper W stud colt who went on to be a very successful show horse and stallion for the ranch. A few broodmares followed as well as several new clients as boarders. In 1987, the Passuello's purchased Dana's Starflash as a very green 3 yr old filly. Dana eventually become the Ranch's 'go to' horse for everything-she earned AQHA points in working hunter and hunter hack but was shown in trail, reining and pleasure driving, also. She earned too many open show all-arounds to mention, with Rod, Doreen and numerous students showing her. Dana also became the ranch's main lesson horse, giving well over 100 youth and adults their perfect early equine experiences. Dana also produced eight foals for the Ranch, 6 of which were AQHA point earners or AQHA futurity money winners, including two AQHYA World Show Qualifiers The two foals who were not AQHA point or money earners were sold as weanlings and were never shown by their new owners.
In 1986, the Passuello's added a 7 stall addition to the dairy barn, which was on the farm when the farm was purchased and which had been re-modeled into an 8 box stall horse barn, and Doreen started to take in horses for training as well as further expanding boarding and instructing. In August of 1997, the Passuello's lost their entire barn in a fire, but were able to rebuild before winter set in that year. The new barn was connected to the indoor arena and the next summer the Passuello's added a hay barn to the backside of the indoor arena. This layout is perfect for snowy winter days and also allows portable stalls to be added in the haybarn for spring and early summer when extra stalls are needed for foaling or training.
Over the years, Rod and Doreen have owned and stood several AQHA stallions, including the first, Spot Cash Skipper, a double bred Skipper W stallion; Isle Bee A Sucess, a son of AQHA Champion Swift Sucess; An Executive Leaguer (owned in partnership with JimTaylor of Ironwood) a son of A Major Leaguer; and A Famous Great Date, a Be Aech Enterprise, Famous Amos, and Great Pine bred colt.
In September of 2011, Rod retired from a 22 year career in law enforcement with the Ironwood Public Safety Department. His final 8 years in the department were spent as the department's only detective and he retired as Detective-Sergeant. Rod is now spending time with his JD 1010 bulldozer doing farm improvement projects, making hay, and spending time at the hunting camp. He aslo helps out with barn chores during the winter when field jobs are idle. Rod acquired a full-time companion in January of 2013, when Remington, 3 three year old Golden Retriever , was adopted from a local animal shelter by the Passuello's. Remington is truly the 'faithful companion'!
The Passuello's have 5 grown children: Pete, Sarah, Clay, Marty and Lane, all of whom have ridden and shown horses as youth and all of whom have had a big part in the success of the farm. Son Pete, who owns Cutting Edge Excavators in Eau Clair, WI, and grand-daughter Katelyn own an AQHA gelding whom they show in speed events. Sarah manages a Thoroughbred racing stable in Kentucky for Joe Woodward Racing. Clay is employed as a truck driver and is in charge of keeping the farm's vehicles serviced and ready to go. Marty recently moved back to Ironwood from Greeley, Colorado and is employed as a welder at Ashland Industries, a heavy equipment manufacturer in Ashland, Wisconsin, where Lane is also employed as a welder. Lane and his girlfriend, Ashley Alonen, also raise beef cattle and hay at Double R Farm, Kimball, WI. Double R Farm was originally Ashley's grandparents' dairy farm, and is named after Lane's grandfather Rudy and Ashley's grandfather Roger.
In 2010 our local paper published a story about Doreen exhibiting animals at our local fair for 50 consecutive years. The article includes photo copies of some original newspaper aritcles & pictures from the early years. You can click on the pictures to make them larger. To read the article and see the pictures click here.
Remington and Rod spent a little time hunting this past fall. Remi proudly poses with his first partridge!