By Diana Pikulski
This year, the Stallion Show at Crystal and Brent Fernung’s Journeyman Stud is scheduled for Dec. 14 and it will be more than a chance to see Khozan (Distorted Humor), who is the fourth leading first-crop sire worldwide, and their newest addition, St Patrick’s Day (Pioneerof the Nile), a full brother to American Pharoah, as well Fury Kapcori (Tiznow).
Journeyman’s co-owner Crystal Fernung looks to add a new purpose to the mostly social atmosphere of the typical modern stallion show. This year’s event is also a fundraiser for the Second Chances Farm at Lowell Correctional Center where incarcerated women care for retired racehorses and participate in an intensive vocational training program in horse care. The program that houses 50 Thoroughbreds on 100 acres was established 20 years ago by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association (FTBOA).
“I was trying to figure something out for the stallion show and then I ran into Tammy Gaant from FTBOA and she was talking about what FTBOA was doing to commemorate Lowell’s 20th anniversary and a light bulb went off,” said Crystal Fernung. “The main focus of the stallion show will be Khozan, who was so popular and successful last year, and now we have a new partnership with Climax Stallions and Stonehedge to stand St Patricks Day. The benefit of this excitement will be a way to help the women and the horses at Lowell.”
A lifelong horsewoman, Fernung has been active in the Florida Thoroughbred industry for more than 40 years. In 1989, she and her husband Brent established Journeyman Bloodstock Services Inc. and she has served as vice president of that company since that time. Fernung also serves the on the board of the Marion Cultural Alliance for Ocala/Marion County.
“Arts and Cultures is really exploding in Ocala,” said Fernung. “I sit on the local board and we are always looking for ways to tie the Thoroughbred industry into the local community and all the great stuff that is happening.
“This year’s Stallion Show commemorates our 12th year and Lowell’s 20th and it’s also a way to do something nice for the local businesses that have supported us all of these years. We could not do business without this community. Connecting everyone with the program at Lowell caring for the horses and also rehabilitating people who need a second chance, works in perfectly.”
Getting local support and generating enthusiasm for the idea proved to be an easy sell.
“I started to put the feelers out and the response was incredible,” said Fernung. “Local government officials are coming to the event, art work has been donated to the auction, and all of the businesses who support us are donating baskets and services for the silent auction.
“It’s also a celebration of the many successful business women in Ocala. One of the neatest things will be the food. I have a friend named Kim Smith and she came to Ocala to play polo. She started off with a food truck and turned that into farm-to-table dining at her farm, Vintage Farm 1848. It’s very popular and she is bringing her food truck to the event. It will be a great event all driven by our stallions.
“I drive by the prison farm every day at least twice and I see the women working all day,” said Fernung. “I see how spotless the place is. I see them out there during the holidays. I think about them. And, I thought it was important to bring them to the attention of more people.
“When you’ve been around long enough, meet enough people, share enough glasses of wine, you realize that there have to be some women over there who don’t deserve to be there. But things happen. So, they get a second chance and the horses open up all the right parts of their hearts and minds so that they can get out and get on the right road. They find their heart again.
“The program works. There is only 3% recidivism rate of the women who go through the program. It is much better than average.
“I also feel that the more business women and philanthropists who know about Second Chances at Lowell, the better,” said Fernung. “My ultimate goal for this event would be that a woman who had the means could really make an impact- maybe in her will. You never know. But if you put it out with a strong heart and good intentions, something good will happen.”
For more information about the Dec. 14, 2019, Stallion Show at Journeyman Stud, contact Crystal Fernung at 352-629-1200.
Diana Pikulski is a partner at Yepsen & Pikulski, LLC and the editor of the Thoroughbred Adoption Network.