Absorbine® is excited to announce our new product ambassadors, Whispery Pines Percherons! Whispery Pines Percherons, based in Kingsville, OH is run by husband and wife team Sam and Kellie Rettinger. Both Kellie and Sam have a deep love of horses that was cultivated at a very early age. Now the pair, along with their nine Percheron horse family, competes up and down the East Coast from southern Ohio to Pennsylvania. Besides competing at horse shows and fairs, they also offer carriage rides for weddings, funerals, special events, and even winter sleigh rides! Check out the exclusive interview we had with Kellie for an inside look into the horses, the competitions, and their upcoming plans for summer 2017!
Absorbine®: How long have you been working with and competing Percherons? How did you get your start?
Kellie: I got my start when I met my husband 13 years ago. I had always loved draft horses my entire life and had admired my now husband and his grandfather Dick Stasiak at the fairs ever since I was a little girl. I used to go over and ask his grandfather if I could clean their stalls at the fair or anything I could do to get to ride or drive their draft horses. I had always admired and had a crush on my husband my entire life. From the first minute Sam and I got together, horses have always been our passion. 2004 was my first show season period and Sam and Grandpa gave me every opportunity possible competing with Percherons.
Absorbine®: How many horses and people are a part of the Whispery Pines family?
Kellie: We have a core crew: our parents Bob and Cindi White and Dave and Barb Rettinger. Dylan Loomis, Kyle Carlo, Beth and Kelly Leonardson, Amanda Barnum and her father Kyle Barnum, John Childress, and Bill Tempesta. Right now we have nine Percheron horses. We have Candyman, Tony, Ace, Octane, Hawke, Super Sam, Zack, Boomer, and Flash. Each one of these boys serves a certain purpose in our hitch and they each have their own personality. These horses, they are so loyal and love what they do. Our family and friends have to endure a large amount of sacrifices to be there for us and our horses. They are the heart and soul of everything we do and without them what we do is not possible.
Events & Activities
Absorbine®: This year you have been on the road participating in Equine Affair®. What has that journey been like? What were your thoughts during the first night when you entered the ring for Fantasia?
Kellie: This year has been a dream come true. To be a part of Equine Affaire® was something we had never done before. The preparation that this took was unimaginable, but so worth it. We were so honored to be selected to be the Percheron breed exhibitors and an opening part of Fantasia. Our horses adjusted in no time and performed very well. To be a part of Equine Affaire® was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. When we hit the gates of the Colosseum, our adrenaline-pumping, I looked into the crowd and there was not an empty seat. The horses could feel the excitement and Sam had his hands full. As we went around the ring with the music playing, cameras flashing, I could still see the horse’s ears listening. Their attention was relying on Sam’s next command. Performing in Fantasia is an experience we will never forget.
Absorbine®: How many different types of wagons and carts do you use? I’ve heard that you build your own. Is this true?
Kellie: Well, we have a single cart and hitch wagon that Sam and his grandfather built to show in. Our carriages consists of a wagonette, a natural wood wedding Suri, a vis-a-vis wedding carriage, and two horse-drawn hay wagons. Dick (Grandpa) taught Sam so much. He passed on his ability to log with the horses and obtain his own lumber from the trees. The fact that Grandpa and Sam built our new hitch wagon sets us apart to me. Every time that I am showing in our wagon I know Grandpa is proud.
Absorbine®: I see that you and your horses do logging demonstrations. Workhorses such as Percherons frequently did this type of work up until the industrial revolution, which gave rise to the mechanization of tree-cutting. Why is it important for you to keep this traditional technique alive?
Kellie: Percheron horses are bred to work. This is just one of their many purposes. In being very versatile the logging comes naturally to a draft horse. Sam uses the logging to really show the horse what they are capable of. Along with it being very low impact on our forests, it is a soul confidence-builder for our horses. It shows them respect, their team work with other horses and us and it shows them their power. Obviously good breeding of a horse is first, but after that I feel the logging is the foundation of the good horses that we have. All of this is something that my grandfather passed down to Sam. Sometimes the old way can still be the good way. Grandpa showed Sam something that he loves, and I think he is destined to carry that on.
Absorbine®: What community outreach and education programs do you offer?
Kellie: We are always trying to get our horses out into the community. To be able to share the love of Percheron draft horses with the public and community will guarantee the interest and involvement to help our breed survive. We are encouraging young people to come out and learn about the Percheron breed. We recently put on a clinic about what you look for in a draft horse, confirmation wise. The children were very bright and excited and it was really nice to have them out to our farm. It is something that we are going to definitely continue in the near future. We also put on a clinic at Equine Affaire. We talked about harnessing and logging and called our clinic “Harnessing Horsepower”. I hope to reach many young people on our journey and encourage them to take up a liking for draft horses. Our future is in our young horsewomen and horsemen. Anything that I can do to educate and help them in their journey with horses is something I take pride in!
Absorbine®: What was it like to participate in a Civil War reenactment? I imagine that hauling cannons is definitely not something your horses do every day!
Kellie: It was definitely something our horses do not do every day! Participating in the actual reenactment was breathtaking. To say the least there is a lot going on on the battlefield! We had a chance to haul a real cannon to the battlefield and drop it off. We wanted to show the history of how important horses were when it came to war. These were the actual horses that hauled equipment, cannons, people, and food back in this time period. It was really neat to be able to take part in a piece of history.
Absorbine®: I’ve seen that you Roman ride your horses. What is that like?
Kellie: Roman Riding has been something I have always wanted to do. Besides driving the six horse hitch, it is probably one of the most exciting things that I have ever done. It takes a lot of leg strength, coordination, and trust in your horses to stand on their backs. So far I have only driven a team of horses Roman Riding, but this year I will have a surprise for everyone at the fairs to drive a four horse hitch while Roman Riding. It is definitely a goal that I am going to be working on this year. I am always out to try something new and challenge myself.
Absorbine®: At many of the horse shows and fairs you compete at, you participate in breed demonstrations. What makes the ideal Percheron?
Kellie: The first thing that I look for in a Percheron is versatility. I want a horse that I can work in the woods, plow with, and that is still fancy enough to pull a fine carriage for a wedding or an event. Also, a horse that is show worthy and still gentle enough to be around children. That is what is so awesome about a Percheron. They are truly the all-around horse. What we look for in our geldings is a good hoof, nice clean legs, full neck, good looking face, nice top line, and soft eyes. You also really want a big and powerful hind end, wide chest, and a good slope to the shoulder that will fit a collar really well. And last but not least a horse that is willing and smart with a good disposition.
Absorbine®: What are ways for our followers to learn more and get involved with draft horses and driving?
Kellie: There are many draft horse farms throughout the world. I would bet that their door would be open for anyone with interest in learning and wanting to get involved with draft horses. We also have each individual breed organization for every draft horse breed. For example, Belgian, Clydesdale, Percheron, Haflinger, etc. Ours is the Percheron Horse Association of America. They will help to set you up with someone who is local in your area and that can show you around. There are also a lot of clinics around that you can go to such as Equine Affaire, local, and state fairs. These are wonderful places for someone to be able to learn about the breed, see the horses in action, and meet people that have been in the industry for a long time. If anyone ever has any questions or anything, we would be happy to help someone or set someone up with them locally.
Absorbine®: You must always be busy grooming horses and cleaning harnesses! Percherons have big hooves and full tails! You must go through a lot of hair and hoof polish! How do Absorbine® products help you keep your horses and equipment show ready?
Kellie: Absorbine® has been a part of my life ever since I began showing horses. Some of our favorite products are your SuperShine®, UltraShield® fly spray, Absorbine® liniment, and ShowSheen®. All of these products work wonders. People always comment on how we are able to make our horses hooves look so shiny, and how our coats glisten. Your liniment has always been there for us to help with muscle and joint strains from hard work or just to help relieve sore muscles. The UltraShield® EX fly spray we use has sunscreen to protect its ingredients and nothing has ever worked any better for us. Especially because we are outside in the summertime in the woods, and in the heat and sun. We directly attribute the success of our hitch and our program to Absorbine® products. We know that with your products our horses are going to be healthy and happy and ready to perform looking their best.
Absorbine®: Any final thoughts?
Kellie: I would love to thank all of our friends and family who have supported us in doing what we love so much. There is much hard work, dedication, long days and nights that go into what we do. Our grandfather and grandmother founded Whispery Pines Percherons and we will continue on their legacy and traditions for as long as we have our horses. I am thankful to have the opportunity to bring our love of horses to the world. Our boys means so much to us and they are our livelihood. I also want to thank my husband Sam, because without him none of this would be possible.
To learn more about Whispery Pines and their beautiful horses, visit their website at www.whisperypines.com, or find them on Facebook at Whispery Pines Percherons Carriage Rides & Logging.
Summer & Fall 2017 Schedule
- Lake County Fair – Painesville, OH – July 25th-30th
- Ohio State Fair – Columbus, OH – July 31st – August 5th
- Ashtabula County Fair – Jefferson, OH – August 8th-13th
- Crawford County Fair – Meadville, PA – August 19th-26th
- Great Geauga County Fair – Burton, OH – August 31st – September 4th
- Waterford Community Fair – Waterford, PA – September 4th-9th
- Keystone International Livestock Expo – Harrisburg, PA – October 5th-7th
- Great Lakes International Draft Horse Show – Lansing, MI – October 12th-15th
- Equine Affaire – West Springfield, MA – November 9th-12th