Update on Piper and her homecoming.

BIG LOVE and THANK YOU Message from Piper who has been supported and loved by her community throughout so much of her life and most especially recently in her journey to healing her broken tooth. Piper will be returning home on Friday ready to get back into life with this experience behind her now forevermore.

Piper is resting and eating and drinking lots of water and moving around just fine and markedly much more mellow.  She has stopped head butting everyone and doesn’t mind standing quietly while people touch and admire her. She is back to her old self, loving the attention and behaving like the smart and competent horse she is.

I am the most proud of her knowing her as well as I do I know this was not an easy experience for her to go through and I imagine it wouldn’t be for anybody.

I imagine she misses her brothers but that is a projection for sure. She is doing what her “kind” does, staying “in” time and not being anywhere else but where she is at. She has quite a few admirers in the barn but none as much as little Fred, he is completely smitten with her and watches her every move with great curiosity and admiration in his eyes and he cries when she goes out of his sight. She answers back every time. They have a “relationship” already of some kind….lucky Fred.

Little Red Fred as Kimmy likes to refer to him. Kimmy  also thinks that Fred may want Piper to be his mom more than he wants a mate. He couldn’t be cuter doing whatever it is that he is doing when he stares at her.

One of the last times we tried to put a bit in her mouth realizing that something is bothering her. Her fractured molar was discovered late Fall. Steadily it got worse as we considered what is best for her and how to go about making it happen. She has been living with it for at least 6mths.

Upon returning from the dentist she had dinner and went about cleaning all the corners of any grass she could get her lips on.

Piper is pretty much the queen of the farm or at least in the herd she lives in. I am not sure Feather would agree that she is more of a leader than herself, but I think they would be good friends and would share the power, they are respectful of each other when their heads are over the fence. In the herd she is in you will find her mostly hanging out alone, she is the only mare and prefers her own company more than her brothers and herd mates, she is always watching over them all though and us too.


We are going to be so happy to have her help again as we do our jobs around the community. You can meet her at the Annual Harriet Beecher Stowe Community Birthday Celebration in Hartford, CT. This year’s celebration will be held on Saturday, June 10th and will be an extra special affair as we will be unveiling the newly renovated Harriet Beecher Stowe House. Like last year the rides will be from 11:00 am-4:00 pm.

Piper is truly one of my best friends and seeing her go through this challenge has not been easy but it never is easy to see any of them deal with health crises or issues. Loving them so much also means understanding that while they are powerful beyond belief, they are also fragile and sometimes far too much so.

Maybe Pipers most important “job” that she does is in how she activates your imagination and blesses you with feeling like the luckiest person in the world to have such a friend like this. She is an amazing teacher to young men and women. letting them know that they are “seen” for all they are in her eyes and that it is enough to just be who they are, she never lies and she never judges.

BIG THANKS TO 76 Carriage Co. for all their help in making sure she makes it to where she was going and letting her heal amid their busy stable lives. We deeply appreciate the help and no one as much as Piper, she has made alot of friends and has grown accustomed to the routine all around her already, proving her “kind” are some of the most adaptable creatures on earth, kinda like us. Maybe we learned it from each other so we could keep up with each other!


“Please remember to Join the Herd if you haven’t! Your support helps us take good care of some important equine friends who share our history with us and deserve to make it into the future we all hope for! A connected and compassionate world for all!”  equiculture.org 

Thank you from ALL at Blue Star and most especially the Horses who call the farm home! 

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Opening of the ONLY Revolutionary War Museum in America!

“These are times that try men’s souls.” Thomas Paine

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few; and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.” – Letter to Bushrod Washington, January 15, 1783
George Washington on Horseback Battle Painting at Mount Vernon
Nearly everything was faced with their horses at their sides. Washington has been painted with the white horse and he did have one but it was a bay that owned his heart. He would go into battle with the bay horse named “Nelson” and enter into towns and fields with his white horse where he would  address the people atop his white horse. George Washinton had stops all over the region I live in now and nearby at our local KMart. A simple stone sits under a tree that says here once stood George Washington who rested before moving onto take command of the Continental Army…or something along those lines. 
Statue of Revolutionary War General Nathaniel Greene atop his horse.was a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War.
They were with us in the fiercest of battles. The Cowpens, South Carolina, January 17, 1781
In upland South Carolina, at a place where local farmers penned their cows, an American force of 300 Continentals and 700 militia from North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia, won a brilliant victory against the British.
The radical assumption that…” All men are created equal, that they are endowed y their Creator with certain unalienable rights: that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness….”
Mike Engler and Roll of 76 Carriage Co. carrying George Washington and Cynthia MacLeod, superintendent of Independence National Historical Park, who both gave a hearty “Huzzah”! to the visitors and guests!

What a perfect day for a celebration of a long awaited moment, the grand opening of The Revolutionary War Museum in Philadelphia!  Celebrating the “shot that was heard round the world!” on April 19th 1775 and the revolution begins!

The midnight ride of William Dawes!

My  carriage driving friends and I who love the history in the “most historic mile in America” have all been watching this building be built, altogether it has been in the making for over a hundred years now, it is finally finished! When I left over eight yrs ago it was far from complete. How auspicious to be here when it officially opens.

I have been hanging out with this crew and many more like them, young and old, for the past eight years and I believe I am ready to face to world in bolder and bigger ways. It is all thanks to these mighty friends of mine, young and old, strong and fit and not so much and everywhere in between. Each and every one helping me grow and develop in all the ways that matter most for me to become the best version of the  person I know I am.

Although everyday is an auspicious day in regards to the history that lives here and you could spend your life visiting and getting to know it better. I have always loved the idea that no matter how much I learn about the people, places and things that make up the city, there is always more. A city made up of countless stories of heroes and heroines, pirates and Chiefs, scientists and medicine,  miracles, visionaries, bold and brave thinkers and doers.

You can get any sized tour around the National Park with 76 Carriage Co. and at the same time support working horses! Feels a bit like time traveling for those that like to use their imaginations! 

All of it all inspires me to live more fully, more gratefully and with a purpose. To think I came to feel this way as a tour guide in Philly.

The famous “Tree of Peace” that sheltered our early government.

 One special feature is then-General George Washington’s headquarters tent — considered one of the most important surviving artifacts from the war. amrevmuseum.orgA world with opportunity to explore the field of possibilities and potential, the horse knows the way there and has been bringing us towards it right along.

Emma Rickenbach sharing the road with Pete, learning history and honoring her ancestors by sharing it with others. Pete and horses like him have brought Emma to the field of possibilities and potential and she is making the very most of it, like her ancestors before her, with hard work and commitment,  responsibility, respect, compassion and love! Thanks to those that support equiculture.org  Young people  like Emma have a chance at creating the world they want to live in with the horses alongside them, as they should be. 

Working as a horse and carriage driver or alongside a horse in any kind of partnership is otherworldly yet  mundane and seriously good medicine for the soul of so many of us. They are worth taking good care of, they are our reflection and tell the world who we think we are.


We believe at Blue Star that by loving a draft horse you begin to embrace more intimately where we come from. Hopefully there is still time of the endangered Shire with critical numbers now. They do not have to be a causality of our disconnect from our history, they can help reconnect us to it!


While visiting Philly do yourself a favor and take a carriage ride with a horse and a human who are at your service. This is not a shameless plug for one of my favorite carriage companies, just a simple fact. By visiting the National Park with the horses you step outside of “time” and sync with the rhythm of how the city was built. You begin to “feel” how working horses and their loads and work influenced everything about life and how they helped the explosion of the industrial revolution.  It is our shared history with each other and the horses and the land that held and served us all.

Mike Engler and Roll from 76 Carriage Co.. A century in the making, the hotly-anticipated Museum of the American Revolution opens to the public on April 19 — the anniversary of “the shot heard ‘round the world” that kicked off the Revolutionary War.
George Washington greeting the crowd.
Pete was there too!

Celebrations will continue on through the year and include the Oneida Council Meetings that helped shape the constitution as we know it. Weapons, battle horns, George Washington’s tent that was used at Valley Forge and so much more…..

Former Vice President Joe Biden was there to commemorate the 242nd anniversary of the “shot heard ‘round the world” – the day that ignited the Revolutionary Way in 1775.

Our founding fathers knew that the revolution would live on to help change the world way into the future, our future and our future generations.

Former Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendall and Governor Tom  Wolf  sharing their respect to our founding fathers. Carrying them to their auspicious appt is Dave Hebon and Chief of 76 Carriage Co. 

It is always so awesome to see the horses get invited to these kinds of events in Philly and beyond.  These magnificent cities have had their foundation laid with the help of our noble equine friends in unprecedented history making, surviving and becoming together, in an age that was been built with theirs and our  power combined and forged in hard won skill and mastery only to be massively dismissed and nearly  forgotten by most, but not all.

The historians at the National Park Service know that the horses add a dimension to “living history”  like no other.  Another powerful opportunity to connect to the “living” history this city is made of and the  nature and parks  that have been cultivated and loved for centuries. Like Fairmount Park…

Kimmy Hart carrying her share of dignitaries for the day. Kimmy is driving Pete of 76 Carriage Co. too!


Video of the festivities this morning!



Message from Piper who has been supported and loved by her community throughout so much of her life and most especially recently when she had to have her tooth removed.

“Please remember to Join the Herd if you haven’t! Your support helps us take good care of some important equine friends who share our history with us and deserve to make it into the future we all hope for! A connected and compassionate world for all!”  equiculture.org 

Thank you from ALL at Blue Star and most especially the Horses who call the farm home! 

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On the set of “The Greatest Showman” with Hugh Jackman, Michele Williams, a couple hundred extras and some really awesome working horses,drivers and wranglers.


One of the scenes we are in!


Rock and Roll and I playing our parts, they get to play their ancestors  but I get to be a man. 

Cassie escorting Pete, the horse, and Chip, the driver, out to their places on the set. There is nothing quite like driving a 19th century horse drawn vehicle, in the clothes that would have been worn, along the streets and amidst the buildings that were built with the horses ancestors that shared the set with us.

Kimmy Hart, one of my long time good friends and teachers of urban driving and living with horses. Kimmy has done this type of thing countless times before. She is a long time movie shoot veteran and loves playing the part of a man. She requested a mustache at wardrobe but everyone was too busy to hook her up, she was only a little disappointed.

We worked alongside another carriage company called Allegra Farm from East Haddam, Ct. The gentleman sitting up behind his coach is driving a Hansom Cab, with one of their beautiful white Standardbreds. This company of professional drivers are amazing and in lots of scenes throughout the movie. Behind him is Dave Hebdon and Vic, the Belgian of Philadelphia. Dave is a long time friend and fellow tour guide carriage driver at 76 Carriage Co. I recently met Vic on my last visit driving in Philly on Presidents’ Day week-end. He is an awesome little powerhouse who puts his head down and does his job just like he was plowing a field, most likely what he was doing before he found the job he has now. Mike Slocum, owner of 76 Carriage Co. has quite an extensive collection of antique driving vehicles . These two companies have worked in dozens of big budget movies through the years. A big part of the reason they are called on for these amazing period pieces. We loved working with such amazing professional horse people and made a lot of new friends who we hope we will see more of!


Me and the Landau, one of the most expensive pieces in Mike Slocum’s collection. I drove Rock and Roll and we were part of a scene where Hugh Jackman, Michele Williams and the little girls playing their daughters got in and out of the coach. We took countless takes, from every angle, giving a whole layer of meaning to tedious….for me anyway. Rock and Roll stood still and noble and barely shifted their weight, quietly settled down to wait….forever it seemed.


Chip being Chip and this picture is a keeper for sure. It might be that Chip is a combat veteran or that he is just naturally self disciplined but he has always been able to do new things and be right in the moment with it. None of us from Blue Star knew what working on a set like this would be, we now know and I think that through that long cold night of holding ourselves still helped us appreciate all kinds of things about the special lives the horses have brought to us. Chip didn’t complain, he didn’t suffer, he just sat there for all the hours it took and they were many and he still managed to strike a pose as though to say “I could do that again and again and again…..I am a natural.” I think Chip is a carriage driver at heart….




Every one knew their place, their part, their purpose there. When the director yelled cut a whole new wave of plain clothed extras would come on the seen…fixing hair, make up, moving positions or equipment all like busy bees, highly organized and choreographed. Our own crew made up of the blue star girls and 76 carriage stable hands would also swoop in to check on us, check on the horses, do what was needed and then as fast as they all arrived they would leave when the loudspeaker would order everyone back to their designated places. We did this all night long, the final call being made at nearly 5am. Finally we were able to walk our horses back to their trailers, get down, move our legs, go to wardrobe and get our clothes and basically come back to earth little by little. The sun was rising and the magic was fading and we were all too tired to really comprehend just what an amazing time we had. It took a few days.

I thought every scene was shot perfectly but what do I know. This scene probably took about 30 takes. Then the whole family would get into the Landau I was driving. Over and over and over again. Our big 5 seconds of fame was very exciting. I had to remind myself a lot that Hugh is one of the biggest movie stars in the world. He is even better in person. He is brilliantly bright and energetic with a happy demeanor and natural pride and self confidence that is very very attractive. I saw him the most that night, not so much the other stars but there were also a couple hundred extras that also did their part to transform the landscape in small takes measured in seconds at a time


Chip Pinder (Stockbridge driving class alum and Blue Star long time volunteer) and Dave Hebdon (76 Carriage Co. tour guide), two natural born carriage driving tour guides through time.

Below are the Blue Star girls. This is how they looked just before they became world class, movie star horse wranglers on the set of the “The Greatest Showman” They wanted to meet to Zac Efron or get an autograph from Hugh but I think they got way more than just meeting them would have. They share a part in helping make their movie really spectacular in their own unique way. Everyone that meets them wants to keep them…..for their horses and stables….Kimmy called Zoe a “world class wrangler” and I don’t think even getting a hug from the stars would have meant as much to her! 


Don’t forget to Join the Herd and help us take care of the horses that are in our care. Each and every one of them deserves the appreciation and care that even the most famous movie star horses get! While we can’t give them quite that we can show up and be there for them because we love them that much.

Or simply help with our Hay Drive, any amount helps especially now as we face a new season and our winter hay runs low.


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