Midcrest Farms

Midcrest Farms-Building A Legacy

by Colleen Scott for The Arabian Horse Times

 

Preston Keeter’s first memory of horses isn’t really a specific memory. It’s more of a collection of memories.

“I was born in June and went to U.S. Nationals in October—the horses and the farm have just always been a part of my life,” he says.

A few things stand out for the now 26-year-old, including the 1996 U.S. Nationals when his father, Stan, won the triple crown with WN Ultimate Star. “I remember the parties and the excitement,” Preston says.

Other early memories include playing in the farm’s skybox and running back and forth between the Midcrest and Shada boxes; throwing the football around the show grounds in Albuquerque; and when not at shows, being at the family farm every day, helping take care of the horses, and being led around while on the back of Echo Magnifficoo.

Fast forward to today and he is poised to take on a bigger role in the organization.
Being part of a family horse business since birth has given him a great love for and an understanding of the Arabian horse industry. He learned from his parents Stan and Debbie not just how to show, but how to be a horseman. At their facility in Enumclaw, Wash., the family, including Preston, is immersed in the entire business, from evaluating pedigrees, handling stallions, and foaling out mares, to preparing horses for the show ring.

While Preston was taught many of these things by Stan and Debbie, he also learned a lot simply by being surrounded by the business on an everyday basis for as long as he can remember.

The Past Lays The Foundation
Midcrest Farms’ program was built based on the philosophy that show ring results are just one component of a successful breeding program. And these results are impressive, with 46 national championship titles and two very memorable triple crown winners, WN Ultimate Star and Echo Magnifficoo.

“There really is a lot more to the Arabian horse business than what happens when you take a horse into the show ring,” says Stan. “It’s just the tip of the iceberg when you consider everything that has led to those few moments in the ring.”

In addition to training horses and working on show ring presentation skills, according to Stan, vision, dedication, determination, and a strong line of broodmares have attributed to Midcrest’s longevity.

“We only campaign the horses that we feel exhibit the best of the breed,” Stan says. “The decision about what a horse’s career should be is one of the first things we consider. Is that horse representative of the breed? Does it have the attributes we want to see in our breed in the future? Does it have the type, charisma, and conformation we want to see not just in the show ring, but in future progeny?”

Besides evaluating the answers to all of those questions, the daily care of the horses is part of the complete picture. “Again, the show ring is just one component of a very well-thought-out complete program that includes daily care, conditioning, nutrition and more.”

With Preston now well-suited to carry the Midcrest name forward, what does that future look like?

The Next Generation
If the 2019 U.S. Nationals is any indication, that future is bright. Showing for the first time at Nationals, Preston came home with two impressive wins: a unanimous championship with Rohara Katana in the Half-Arabian Futurity Filly class and a reserve championship with Rohara Seraphim in the Half-Arabian Mare Breeding Stock/Hunter 3 & Over class, both for clients Lee and Jacque Melchi.

“They both were really exciting to win, especially showing at my first U.S. Nationals,” he says. “But what was really special was the support I got from a lot of other trainers that I’ve known my entire life. These are guys that I’m technically competing against, but they were all really excited for me and that meant a lot.”

Adding to their impressive group of mares is the stunning MM Steel Magnolia, also owned by the Melchis. She will be making her debut with Preston this year.

But like his father, Preston’s belief in a successful program goes beyond being just a talented trainer and exhibitor. And two new stallions at the farm they assert will carry the Midcrest name into the future.

Ibn Farid (RFI Farid x Asawir, by Marajj), owned by Ibn Farid Partners, LLC, joined the Midcrest Farm from Elkasun Arabian Stud in South Africa last May. The 2013 stallion already has a champion in EKS Farajj who garnered Junior Colt championship wins with Gold at the Salon du Cheval in Paris and All Nations Cup, Silver at Sharjah and Dubai, and Bronze at Menton.

“We saw what he was doing with a small group of mares,” says Preston. “We were really drawn to him, and you could see that even with just the mares at Elkasun, Farid was consistently imprinting his foals with beautiful faces, well-built front ends, nice size and a lot of elegance. Farid himself is just gorgeous, and you can see that in what he has produced to date.”

Preston, Kaelyn & Lainey Keeter

The Keeter father-son team is excited to see what Farid will produce for them. “We’ve bred him to a lot of different mares—Echo, Odyssey, Psyche, Da Vinci and Versace mares,” says Preston. “The first ones are due in just a month and we can’t wait to see them hit the ground. We have a lot of faith in the future of this stallion.”

With a new exciting stallion at the forefront of their breeding operation, Stan and Preston are looking forward to the continuation of Midcrest—not just as a farm that shows halter horses, but advances the legacy of the Arabian breed from careful, thoughtful and deliberate breeding decisions. While they look forward to seeing the progeny of Ibn Farid in the winner’s circle soon, they know the importance of using outside stallions to maintain a strong breeding program, such as Hariry Al Shaqab and Beijing BHF.

One can’t talk about the Midcrest program without recognizing their long-time clients. Stan, Debbie and Preston consider themselves blessed to have a base of clients that are more like family than traditional clients. Many have been with the Midcrest team for several decades. They are especially thankful to Dale and Gloria Hotchkiss, Lee and Jacque, Dan and Cindy, and the Krichke, Shada and Gallún families for their continuing support and belief in the promise of what the future holds for Preston and Midcrest Farm.

As for Preston, Stan and Debbie are profoundly proud of their son. Stan is quick to add that he believes with all of his heart, that it is the influence and involvement of family, friends and clients that have contributed to the horseman, showman and man that Preston has become.

And Preston? He is looking forward to building on the foundation his grandparents and parents started. “Being raised in the world of Arabian show horses has given me a blessed opportunity to develop myself in a field I truly love. My father’s undying commitment to the breed, the respect and gratitude he shows for his clients—many of whom have been around for a long time—as well as his integrity, has given me the foundation to form my own unique perspective on the Arabian horse world.”