Orlando, Florida, July 5, 2003 - As the evening grew near, the Highlife Farms day long Grand Opening Party was in full swing. Guests were treated to a delicious buffet, drinks and one of Orlando's best party bands, Wings of Sound.
However to everyone's amazement, there was a surprise guest singer. Legendary country music star, Mr. George Jones took the stage to sing a few of his favorite gospel songs. The tent lit up like the morning sky with all of the camera flashes going off. A personal friend of owners Kenny and Joan Sims, George and his wife Nancy were among the 600 guests who attended the Gala Opening of one of Florida's finest training, boarding, and breeding facilities.
Good Times and Hard Work Built Highlife Farms
The grand opening of Florida's newest full service equine facility, Highlife Farms, in Orlando, Florida featured a full day of activities, events, and demonstrations, topped off by a catered buffet, and entertainment. Over 600 guests visited throughout the day and night, to see the magnificent newly constructed 37 stall barn, where no detail was left undone.
Owners Ken and Joan Sims utilized their resources, business savvy and lifelong involvement in the construction industry, to build not only the structures, but a solid business plan for Joan's passion for horses. In fact, it was Kenny Sims himself, slapping the cement on each concrete block, working along with his crew in the months leading up to the date of the grand opening.
Joan immersed herself into breeding and bloodlines. "I brought that book with me to bed every night." Joan laughed. "But it is fascinating, and was worth it. We now have several top broodmares and foals by quality stallions, being raised in Germany for now." In addition, the Highlife Farms breeding program is underway, with stateside foals on the farm by top quality mares already imported and living the good life at Highlife.
A Full Day of Activities
Early Saturday morning, employees were hard at work adding final touches to the barns and grounds of the 50 acre Highlife Farms. Before the sun was up, horses were groomed, tack was polished and everyone was eager to welcome the public. At 10am, the gates opened, the people flocked, and they just kept coming.
The days' events were arranged in a way to allow for tours of the barn without missing one of many riding demonstrations that took place in the oversized covered arena. From Hunter Jumper to Dressage, some of Highlife Farms finest stallions were presented and on hand to demonstrate beautiful riding.
Other clinics included, various topics from the farms veterinarian, Dr Scott Langton, and massage therapist Leslie Munn showed different techniques she uses when performing her therapy.
The German Connection
Neighbors, Klaus and Maria Fraessdorf, the popular dressage show organizers, took a break from working on the 2004 Dressage in Florida Omnibus, and stopped by.
Silke Rembacz, who has been successfully campaigning the Highlife Farms stallion Connecticut, flew in from New Jersey, and rode the farms' namesake, Highlife for a delighted crowd.
Highlife Farms and The Oldenburg Verband Develop Their Presence in America
Making a special trip from Germany were, Dr. Evelin Vollstedt and Uwe Heckmann from The Oldenburg Verband, presenting Joan Sims with the original Oldenburg Flag, which had flown Oldenburg Horse Center, Vechta. Germany.
Highlife Farms will be the location of an Oldenburg Mare inspection September 21, 2003. Along with several imported breeding stallions, and quality broodmares, they also own one on Europe's top young horses, Der Euro. The young gelding was a 2002 Bundeschampionat winner, declaring him to be one of the top young horses in Europe. He will be competing again this year in the five-year-old division.
In the European equestrian circles, Uwe Heckmann is as well known a name as George Jones is known in the American Music Industry. Heckmann is credited for as being a leading force in the successful development of the Oldenburg breed and organization. With his dynamic personality, and passion for the Oldenburg breed, he is the auction administrator and auctioneer for several Auctions held in Vechta throughout the year.