AN INTERVIEW WITH
Breeder of Arabian,
Half-Arabian & Saddlebred Horses
AHA and USAE Certified
Large R Arabian and Half-Arabian Judge
AHA Level 1 Regional and National Judge
and small r National Show Horse Judge
by Marylou A. Yuskiewicz
is a breeder of Arabian, Half-Arabian and Saddlebred
horses as well as an AHA and USAE Certified Large R Arabian
& Half-Arabian Judge and a small r National Show Horse
Judge. I had a chance to interview Donnie on his life in his
own words, so here we go:
ML: When did your interest in horses begin?
DB: As long as I can remember, I have always had a
fascination with horses. My mother always tells the story
that every Christmas after I was about 4 years old, I would
always go through the catalogues looking for anything with
horses to tell Santa what to bring me.
ML: What was the name of your first horse and or
pony? What made this horse and/or pony special?
DB: My first pony's name was Dainty's Delight. She
was a registered American Shetland. She was a very versatile
pony which I think helped me develop the love for the
Arabian horse. I competed in 4-H and Open show competitions
with her. We competed in Halter, Fitting and Showmanship,
Driving, Roadster Pony, and last but not least Working
Hunter. I will never forget winning the Virginia State 4-H
Championship Fitting and Showmanship with the smallest Pony
at the show - she stood 42 inches tall. I guess being short
myself made us look great together! We beat all the other
breeds and kids that made it to the final championships. The
thing that made her special was that she was a tough cookie
to ride - but if you did it right she made sure that we
ML: Is any of your family members in the equine
business? If yes, is this a hobby or business for them?
DB: I'm the only horse nut in the family. My
younger brother and I showed together while we were in
school - but as soon as he began working for a living he
decided that he could spend his money on other things! I
think I will have the last laugh as his son, (my nephew) has
the horse bug.
ML: Did you ever own a breeding stallion? If yes,
what was his name, breeding and how many foals did he
DB: I did own a breeding stallion which I lost last
year due to Chronic Heaves. His name was LH Last Tango. He
was by a Marsianin son named Magistrate and out of the Touch
of Magic daughter name Topanga. His breeding represented
some of the best Russian and Crabbett bloodlines. Tango was
an extremely athletic stallion. I had trainer Scott
Brumfield start him under saddle and the second time on his
back they went for a short trail ride! Scott would always
comment on how athletic Tango was. Tango earned
Championships in Halter, Hunter Pleasure and Show Hack.
Tango sired less than thirty foals. He was mostly bred to
grade mares to improve their type and movement. His foals
were not bred to be Halter horses yet they all did well in
the Breeders Sweepstakes classes at Regionals.
ML: I understand you have a unique job, can you
tell us about it?
DB: I am currently the Supervisor of the Forensic
Photographic Section for the U.S. Secret Service. It is a
very interesting job as we are involved in many aspects of
law enforcement photography. The Secret Service is
responsible for Protection of the President, Vice-President
and their families and also any visiting Dignataries to our
country. In addition to the protection responsibilities of
the Secret Service we also are the Federal Investigative
agency for Counterfeiting, Credit Card Fraud, Identity Theft
and most recently was named the Federal Agency to oversee
the coordinating of security at any event named by Congress
as a National Security Event. The photographic section
provides photographic support to all aspects of these
duties, such as Crime Scenes, Court Exhibits, Surveillance,
Protective support and Security Surveys.
ML: You are the proud owner of "Laurel Hill Farm" -
home of champion Arabians and Saddlebreds ?
DB: I do own Laurel Hill Farm which is currently a
work in progress! I have owned Laurel Hill Arabians since
around 1980 but always worked out of leased farms. Two years
ago I finally purchased my own farm. I currently have 10
horses, mostly Purebred Arabians and Half-Arabians. This
past year I purchased a Saddlebred mare in foal to a
Saddlebred and expect my first purebred Saddlebred foal any
day. I have been very fortunate to own many champions in
just about every division.
ML: In the coming months, you will have several
foals born out of your Saddlebred, Arabian and Half-Arabian
mares - can you tell us about the mares breeding and which
stallions did you choose for them?
DB: The first foal due is out of our Saddlebred
mare, Julies Tangier Star. "Julie" is by "The Chairman of
the Board" and out of a Carey's Night of Love bred mare. She
is in foal to Jones Mountainview's Saddlebred stallion, "Oh
Heavenly Day" , who is a Coal Train son and Wing Commander
bred on the bottom. My second foal will be out of my
purebred Arabian mare, "Rdell Firedancer", who is a Bask
granddaughter and is Crabbett breeding on the bottom.
"Dancer" is in foal to Baske Afire and due the end of March.
My Half-Arabian mare who is by Botany Bey and out of a
saddlebred mare is due on April 15. "Kiera" is in foal to
the purebred Arabian stallion, "MHR Fabbian", a champion
western pleasure stallion. As you can tell I try to breed
athletic performance horse yet retain the classic beauty
that the Arabian possesses.
Living in Fredericksburg, VA has to be beautiful with
rolling pastures, exquisite farms - what do you like best
about this location for your farm?
First and foremost is that it is located within an hour of
Washington, DC so that I can go to work to pay for all this
horse stuff! I was born and raised in Fredericksburg, VA.,
so of course there is no place like home. Virginia is a
great place to breed and raise horses with its semi-moderate
climate and rolling pastures. It is nice to be located in an
area that is only 60 miles from two major cities, 75 miles
to the Shenandoah mountains and 150 miles to the ocean.
There are numerous horse activities throughout the year in
Fredericksburg and actually a pretty large horse population.
It is rural enough without being desolate.
ML: You are also an A-Rated Arabian, Hunter/Jumper
and Open horseshow Judge that takes you all over the world.
Please tell us the states or countries where you have
DB: In actuality, I am certified by AHA and USAE as
a Large R Arabian and Half-Arabian judge, and a small r
National Show Horse Judge. I started out my horse career in
the Hunter/Jumper arena and have continued to judge numerous
open Hunter/Jumper shows but I am not certified with USAE in
that division. I judge on average about 8 Open-All-Breed
shows a year. Most of my judging has taken place on the East
Coast. I have judged as far north as New York and as far
south as Florida - and February is a great time to judge in
Florida!! I have also judged in Texas, California, Michigan
and Washington. Internationally I have judged in Canada on
three occasions and had the opportunity to judge two shows
in South Africa. In South Africa I judged an Arabian
Regional Championship show which had about 200 horses which
was held in Upington. A week later they flew me to
Johannesburg and I judged a multi-breed show that had about
1200 horses. I judged the Appaloosa, Arabian, Noighadait
(native South African breed) and Quarter Horse divisions.
The final two days of the show they brought together 5
judges which consisted of me, two judges from England, an
Australian and a South African judge. Every discipline such
as Halter, Working Hunter, English Riding, etc. had Supreme
Championships. Every Champion from every breed and
discipline were eligible to compete for Supreme Champion
honors of the Autumn Gold Cup show. It was a great
opportunity to judge with international judges. The scoring
system for the working hunters was different than what I'm
used to but I was thrilled when we had a unanimous Champion
ML: As a horseshow judge, you meet numerous people
in the horse world from announcers, ringmasters, ring
stewards, show managers, etc - What do you like most and
dislike about a horseshow?
DB: I guess the best thing about a horseshow is the
opportunity to see so many beautiful and talented horses and
the challenge to judge the classes to the best of my
ability. I also love to see our Youth competing and imagine
just how great these young men and women will mature and
become great horsemen and horsewomen. The thing that I
dislike most about horseshows are the few that lose
perspective of good sportsmanship and horsemanship.
Unfortunately you can judge a show with 200 great
exhibitors, but one exhibitor that pushes the limits of
either bad sportsmanship or poor horsemanship can just ruin
the whole experience of that show.
The second best thing about working at horseshows is the
opportunity to meet, work with and learn from all the
various people associated with the show. Since I met you
(Marylou), the infamous Ringmistress from New York, judging
a show how can that not be a plus? Seriously, I love meeting
people and it is so interesting to spend a weekend working
with people you have never met before and when you leave you
have a new friend!
ML: In the discipline of Western Pleasure, What do
you like to see when you are judging?
DB: In my opinion the Arabian or Half-Arabian has
the capability to be by far the best horses in the western
pleasure division. First impressions when a class enters the
ring that I notice is substance. The western pleasure horse
should have the appearance that it is capable of performing
its tasks with ease thus emitting the aura of strength and
finesse at the same time. With the observation of substance,
I am also looking at movement. A good western pleasure horse
should have a free flowing and comfortable ride. I have
heard many people say - That horse is such a poor mover, I
guess I'll have to show him in Western Pleasure - which is
so false. Western pleasure horses should be good movers as
well and those that are will place higher in competition. It
is amazing how your class ranking starts to really come
together when the entries begin their first lope. Bad lopers
just plain and simple look bad - and competitors that make
these poor movers lope so slow that they are almost four
beating only compound the problem. My pet peeve in judging
western pleasure are horses that stay behind the vertical
throughout the class. I feel that if most of the riders
would just release these horses faces the horse would
perform much better. The head and neck should be carried in
a relaxed, natural position for each horses individual
conformation. Light contact throughout the class and a horse
that is at ease performing its job rises to the top of the
ML: In the discipline of Country English and
English Pleasure - What do you like to see when you are
DB: A good Country English Pleasure class is
probably one of the prettiest classes to watch. I love to
see a country pleasure horse come down the rail at a trot -
ears and tail up- trotting balanced and cadenced and giving
the appearance that they and their rider are just having the
ride of their life. Country horses are English horses -
therefore they should be able to trot. The difference that I
look for between the Country horse and the English Pleasure
horse is that the English horse should be performing an
octave higher on the music scale than the Country horse. For
those of you that don't read music - the English horse
should have their energy level turned up one notch higher
than the Country horse. So many people put so much emphasis
on nothing but knee action when in reality they need to look
at the overall picture and level of performance that these
horses are performing at. Country and English Pleasure
horses should exude athleticism and perform all gaits
Thank you for visiting with me - visitors are welcome -
just call first!
LAUREL HILL FARM
page on Equine Extra.
LAUREL HILL FARM
Mr. Donnie Bullock
7640 Flippo Drive
Fredricksburg, Virginia 22408