By Allyssa Baird
“Arabian horses are so magical to be around. They are kind and highly intelligent, just a joy to be with.” That’s 15-year-old Brooke Landon, who spends every chance she gets enjoying her Arabian horses. In fact, this precocious young lady is running her family’s breeding program in Santa Ynez, California.
Brooke’s father, Hayden Landon, had always loved horses, and his first horse was an Arabian mare. “We were trying to find an activity that Brooke would enjoy,” he says. “We decided to enroll her in riding lessons, and she really took to it.”
Brooke rode jumping ponies for a few years, and then discovered Arabians through the Arabian Horse Riding Academy, owned and operated by Nedra Johnson. “Nedra does a great job of encouraging kids to get out and ride. Perhaps Landon Equestrian will become a Discovery Farm for those wishing to experience the Arabian horse in the way that I have,” says Brooke. After two years in Nedra’s program, she started taking lessons with Jim Lowe. That’s when she realized that the Arabian breed had her heart. “Brooke is all about breeding Arabians, it is her passion,” Jim says. “She wakes up in the morning thinking about Arabian horses. She’s researched and picked out every breeding mare herself as a 14-15-year-old kid.”
As her father notes, “Once Brooke said that she wanted to start a breeding program, I asked her what her business plan was, and what she wanted to accomplish. We spent a lot of time talking about it and it was apparent that she had a vision and a plan that made sense. She didn’t just say, ‘I want to breed this horse to this horse, Dad.’ She got into specifics of who she wanted to breed and what type of foal could be produced based on the characteristics of both horses. She earned my confidence.”
Brooke has concluded that greater diversification in bloodlines is needed, especially in the English disciplines. “These days, if you have an Afires Heir daughter, out of an IXL Noble Express daughter, where do you find an outcross sire? Everything in today’s English divisions has these two horses in their lineage.” she says. “I’m intrigued by the Crabbet and Polish lines, in fact, we acquired *Solitairey Dancer (Lord Charles Of Seven Oaks x Inshallah Bay Solitaire), the dam of Maroon Fire’s Australian-bred stallion, *Rhythmic ASHA (by Robali Dargeeling). He is the outcross we’ve needed for our Arabian English performance divisions.”
Tim and Marty Shea, who manage Maroon Fire Arabians, have become mentors to Brooke. As Marty notes, “Brooke is an ambitious and smart young girl with a passion for breeding. She is very open minded about learning from those who have been successful, while developing her own direction. She shows successfully, and she’s got a good mentor in Jim Lowe, who is helping her on their beautiful farm. She’s got a great team – her mom and dad, and the whole family is really into this. They have a lovely, lovely facility that is earmarked for success.”
With 10-12 foals coming for 2024, Brooke intends to expand her program. “We have hope to have more property by next year,” she says. Brooke does all of the foaling out. “I wouldn’t miss it for anything. My favorite thing to do at the barn is spend time with my broodmares and foals. Mares are the backbone of the horse world. So often you see the stallions celebrated, but it is really about the mares.”
While Brooke plans to study business in college, clearly the horses will always be a big part of her life. “Breeding and riding Arabian horses is what I love doing. I see myself importing horses in the future to bring in new blood and qualities that match what we are looking for in English horses. Our foundation mare, *Solitairey Dancer, is just the beginning of our program. She is undeniably Arabian, and has a long neck with amazing hind-end suspension. She is a landmark for our program. We hope that our program will be known for utilizing not only the trendy horses of today, but for reaching out and bringing different bloodlines into the breeding scene.”
Brooke believes that horses have changed her. “I have discovered more about my work ethic, what I want to aim for in the future, and who I am socially. I also discovered my deep connection with animals. At the barn, while I’m not always riding, I am spending time with my mares. I just like to be around them.”
Her father, Hayden, has also noticed a difference in Brooke since she has been involved with Arabians. “This is such a great sport for kids. It teaches them responsibility and values, and working hard and practicing to be competitive. But it’s really about fun. I definitely see those qualities reflected in Brooke. She has gained confidence, and is driven by the business aspect as well. She’s reading contracts and learning business skills firsthand. It has been great for her and the whole family.”
With breeding and foaling season coming to a close, Brooke will be on her way to Youth Nationals in Oklahoma in July. She will compete in Country Pleasure Driving and Country English Pleasure JOTR & JTR 15-18 with La Bella Vita (HA Toskcan Sun x Expressly Bella), Pleasure Driving and English Pleasure JTR Choice with Royal Nobility (VJ Royal Heir x Joleen WB), and English Pleasure JOTR 15-18 and Arabian Park JTR with Layla RTA (Afires Heir x Lah Lah).
We wish Brooke the best of luck, and look forward to watching her and Landon Equestrian grow and develop as breeders and exhibitors in the Arabian horse world for years to come.