Suzanne Pabst relocated Old Spring Farm from
Connecticut to Virginia in 1983 in continuance of
breeding a spotted horse known as the Appaloosa. While in Connecticut, Old
Spring Farm was the
largest breeder of registered Appaloosas, maintaining between 25- 40 head from
Her colorful Appaloosas were shown as far west as Oklahoma. Mares came
from 26 states to be
bred to her popular sire, Red Eagle’s Peacock, one of the most famous
ambassadors the breed has
ever known. ‘I’d like to think I carried on where Claude J. Thompson
(founder of the Appaloosa Horse
Club in 1939 and breeder of Red Eagle’s Peacock) left off.”, states Suzanne.
Peacock, the 1956 National Champion Appaloosa Stallion arrived by
Flying Tiger to New York’s
JFK International in 1973. He remained senior sire at Old Spring Farm
until his death in 1977 at
24 years of age. Peacock’s seven owners of distinction included Carroll
Shelby who developed the
Shelby Cobra and Mustang for Ford Motor Company. “No one really ‘owned’
Peacock”, said Suzanne
of his universal appeal. He was breed representative in Compton’s
Encyclopedia. His crowning
achievement came in 1996 when he became the 30th inductee into the Appaloosa
Hall of fame.
In it’s march 13, 1977 article “A Famed Horse For All Seasons”, the Roanoke
Peacock’s award. To this day, Red Eagle’s Peacock is the standard of
excellence for many breeders
carrying on his line.
The farm’s current stallion, Whata Dreamfinder, is a descendent of
Red Eagle’s Peacock. Both his
sire and dam are in the Appaloosa Hall of Fame. A smaller but still
serious breeding program produces
one to three foals annually to carry on the farm name. Suzanne has been a
part of the breeds growth
since 1956, when at 15 years of age she purchased her first Appaloosa,
Sin-O-Man, when there were
less than 2,000 registered. In the years since, more than 600,000
Appaloosas have been registered.
Suzanne was recognized for her dedication to the breed in the July 2004
Appaloosa Journal article
www.appaloosajournal.com/magazine/icons/pabst.html Her extensive articles on
the breed appeared
in the Appaloosa News, the breed journal for the Appaloosa Horse, during the
1960's and ‘70's.
she contributed content to Farnam’s book, KNOW THE APPALOOSA HORSE, and the
periodical, THE APPY.
Suzanne’s interest in drawing horses let to a first art show at 8
years of age. Later, Temple University’s
Ambler Campus 1959-60, provided Horse Husbandry and Liberal Arts followed by a
B.S. degree in Art
Education K-12 from the University of Bridgeport-Connecticut in 1967 which she
credits for her design skills.
Prior to moving to Virginia, Suzanne was a wallpaper design consultant.
Several of the oil paintings and
etches throughout her current home are Suzanne originals. In addition, she
attended professional workshops
for Graphic Arts and Writing at Post College in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1983.
at North Carolina State University in Equine Reproduction Management kept her
horse skills current.
In 1994, Suzanne designed, developed and taught a county-wide art
project entitled, “Children Helping
Children - A shared vision”. 250 children from six Patrick County
elementary schools were asked to
pretend they were a child experiencing a force of nature, and with their “inner
eye”, or imagination,
to see what they see and feel what they feel. Using several media and
techniques appropriate to each
grade level, each child’s interpretation of the experience created a personal
document of the times.
The “Children Helping Children” Art Show began May 2, 1994 and ran for a month
at the Patraci County
Library with donations being made to the Red Cross Disaster Fund.
The joint venture of Old Spring Farm Bed & Breakfast and working
farm began in 1997. Since then,
Old Spring Farm has expanded with the addition of the Country-French themed “Le
Chanticleer” and “Le Chat”
rooms designed by Suzanne and located in a building separate from the main
farmhouse called “The Studio”.
The pillows and curtains were sewn on an old treadle sewing machine which led
Suzanne to add a custom
pillow business to her resume’.
Accolades followed when City Magazine, Roanoke, Virginia voted Old
Spring Farm a “Best Bed & Breakfast
in 2002". GOURMET MAGAZINE’s “Patchwork Pilgrimage” story in August 2003
wrote, “Appaloosa horse
breeder Suzanne Pabst has done up Old Spring Farm in show ribbons, plaques, and
horse photos. The Calamity
Jane Room comes complete with fringed red jacket and cowboy boots.
Breakfast at the rustic 1883 house means
eggs from Pabst’s chickens, vegetables from her garden, jams from her fruit
trees, and spicy chutney... “. Across from
Calamity’s Room is The Mountaineer Room which retains the original beaded-board
paneling of the Virginia farmhouse.
The Mountaineer’s photo and memorabilia collection reflects a love for the
outdoors. A mix of linens in the French-Country
manner provides the comfort. The Country Retreat House offers
full-efficiency living for a family or friends traveling
together and extends Old Spring Farm’s versatility of accommodations.
As part of an article on the world famous Floyd, Virginia Friday
Night Bluegrass Jamboree, which appeared in the
January 2004 Washington Post, Old Spring Farm received its second listing in
less than a year. As part of their
“authentic farm-stay”, guests are treated to a farm tour after a hearty
breakfast for the gourmand. Depending on the
time of year, there will be foals frolicking, lambs leaping, and Bengal-Manx
(“Banx”) kittens to cuddle.
“Running a Bed and Breakfast has brought together all my
interests. It requires skills beyond being personable.
You have to wear many hats and wear them well. I only wish I had begun
years earlier. It was a good use of the
property”, Suzanne says of her decision to become an Innkeeper.
“If you start with fresh food, master technique, and learn basic
sauces, I believe anyone can be a good cook but
you have to love cooking to be a great cook. It helps to come from a
family of good cooks. So much is learned by sitting
around the table and sharing a meal. I was fortunate. I grew up with
belief ‘Food is Love’. My dad was an excellent recreational
baker. Yeast breads, doughnuts and Danish were his specialties. Mom
excelled at everything else. When it became my turn,
my ‘coming of age’ dish was a Blubarb (blueberry-rhubarb) pie. I honed my
cooking skills running a restaurant for area farmers
in Wassaic, NY in 1979-80. They were tempted with eleven different kinds
of pie, all homemade, and farm-style cooking.
The venture was a success.”
“Cooking is the part I love best”, says Suzanne of preparing meals
for the guests. They are my family while they are here
and help fill the void left by having three children and five grandchildren some
600 miles away in Connecticut and New York.”
A breakfast to remember at Old Spring Farm begins with fruits in
season and homemade morning breads served with
jams and jellies made from fruit grown on the farm. A variety of
casseroles, quiches or omelet's follow. Hand-me-down
recipes ensure tasty fare. Uncle Amos’ Buckwheat/Buttermilk waffles are a
“must”. Farm-raised Barbados lamb is served
marinated and grilled or broiled and is a signature dinner request; the recipe
for which appears in the book VIRGINIA
BED & BREAKFAST COOKBOOK on page 228. Suzanne’s Creamed Salmon with
Poached Eggs on Waffles is on
page 137 and makes wonderful usage of Uncle Amos waffles.
What’s next? “It’s time to pick up where I left off with a
book begun several years ago, entitled DRAWING CONCLUSIONS,
about a murder trial where I was the courtroom sketch artist. The
book is from my perspective and personal knowledge and
evolvement with the defendant. The book spans a 30 year period which makes
for twists and turns and a fascinating story.
I would like to cut back on the time I devote to the Bed & Breakfast in order
that I can resume my passion for writing, but the
key word here is ‘devote’ and right now I’m still devoted to running Old Spring
Farm. Until I wake up one day and say to myself,
‘You’ve run a good race and now its time to change horses’, I will continue to
be up at 6 A.M. with early coffee ready by 7 waiting
for guests to arrive for breakfast.”
“Sue”-a woman who has lived more than 9 lives. Knowledge and intellect
that is boundless.
Someone I could call friend before we left... “ - H. H., Caswell Beach, NC