We all know the stories of families which have sacrificed so their daughters could ride and show horses. This story has that same familiar ring, but the sacrifices that were made were done so the entire family could stay together doing something they love.
Michael & Dale Arnston and Julie Anne Arnston-Wroble have been a part of the Midwest Show scene for many years now. In fact, they spent 25 years at their New Lenox, IL location before purchasing the famed VIP Farm in Mokena, IL. All along the way they have worked as a family with each individual having roles, but with everything for the good of the big picture.
Michael and Dale have known each other since they were nine years old. That longtime friendship bloomed into a romance with each other and the horses. Dale's sister rode as a child and that gave Dale her first exposure to the equine world. Michael and Dale became more and more interested in horses, starting with Arabians and Thoroughbreds and showing some hunter/jumpers.
"We bought five acres and a six stall barn. We thought we could buy a few horses and board horses for customers. That's how we got started. That's how we made a living. It seemed like it would be easier to do it ourselves than to have our horses at someone else's barn".
A trip to Lexington, KY for the historic Dodge Stables Dispersal at Tattersall's changed their direction in the equine world. Dale's sister had a Saddlebred so we went to the sale looking for a horse for her.
Not only did they find a horse for Dale's sister, the Arnstons bought a few for themselves that day. We went to that sale and saw all of these wonderful horses. We bought a few, came home and sold them right away. That did it, we were hooked on Saddlebreds from that moment on.
Now armed with American Saddlebreds, the Arnstons training and lesson program started growing. Dale loved to teach and Michael loved to work the horses and be the general repairman. They have a way with people that is just as effective as their way with horses. At the height of their business in New Lenox they were giving close to 100 lessons a week.
Along with restoring the facility, the Arnstons have steadily upgraded their show string. Their strong lesson program has produced riders for the show ring at all levels. One of their strongest points is the attention they give to everyone in the barn.
The strong family values and teamwork displayed by Country Meadow Farm are what have made them so successful.