to Foxvangen Farm!
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as you peruse these pages you will come to know and understand who we are and
what we stand for here at Foxvangen Farm. We hope you enjoy the site!
names are Dyan ( pronounced "Diane") and Carl Westvang. Carl's actual
first name is Martin but since he shared the same name with his uncle he was always
called by his middle name, Carl from childhood. Both Carl and I were born in the
state of Washington. Carl was born in Everett in December of 1936. I was born
in Seattle in September 1944. Guess that makes us a bit long in the tooth and
past our prime but we are still going strong! As of March, 2010 we have been married
37 years and between us have five children all grown with six grandchildren and
three great grandchildren to date.
name "Foxvangen" is pronounced "Fox VONGEN" (sounds like LONG).
It is a coined name which combines the "fox" from Fox Trotter and the
root name "Vangen" which is the ancestral name of my husband's family
The word "Vangen" pronounced
"VONGEN" means glen, meadow or field. It was given to the area surrounding
the churches in Norway where the ancient people met to receive news, hold meetings
etc. The "Vang" was a pastured meadow used to graze livestock when it
was not being used for meetings. Norway was divided into church districts. The
church was the center of politics and acted as the place of authority and was
the center of social gatherings in each region.
name "Westvang" is unique to our family and a few others that chose
the name later when sir names were adopted in Norway in the early 1900's. There
is an area and road by our name near Eidsvold, Norway which was named for my husband's
great Grandfather who built a farm there in the late 19th century.
name "VANG or VANGEN" was a name the family had while living on a farm
in Norway called "Vangen". All who lived on the farm were given the
same name because sir names at the time were not yet in use. If someone moved
from that farm they could no longer have that name unless they were the land owner.
Therefore when our ancestor bought land of his own and moved off Vangen, he had
to change his name from Vangen. Since he moved west he chose the name WESTVANG
and thereafter that has been our family name.
farm name "Foxvangen" then expresses respect for the breed of horse
we appreciate above all others, and respect for our heritage by incorporating
part of the family name.
Farm originated in the state of Washington where my husband and I began a small
breeding operation dedicated to production of the "Foundation style"
Missouri Fox Trotting horse. By "FOUNDATION STYLE" we mean our interests
lie in breeding horses with similar bloodlines, type, genetic balance and style
as the original Fox Trotters for which the registry was developed.
goal is to produce well conformed horses who are born foxtrotting naturally,·
have calm, quiet natures,willing attitudes and the bone and stature of a well
balanced horse. People loving horses with kind spirits and a genuine desire to
please their humans.
Serious illness befell me in
the 1990's which caused me to have to retire and sell my businesses in Washington.
When my husband retired in 2000, we relocated from Washington to Arkansas bringing
with us 12 mares and foals and one stallion. The mares were all in foal to Montana's
Blue Nugget P., a stallion we had sold in Washington prior to our move. We also
brought along dogs, cats and chickens! All our "family of critters"
made the move with us. As they are loyal to us, so we are loyal to them!
started the trip with two dogs, 6 cats, a dozen chickens besides our horses! Our
dog, Luna is a cross breed. Her mother is a registered Wire Haired Fox Terrier,
and her dad is a registered Red Heeler. We call her our "Disney Dog"
because she is so funny looking, but she is extremely loyal, intelligent and fun
to be around. Luna has more personality than most people and she is so brilliant
she has a very large vocabulary. She is also my constant side kick and has been
for that last 13 years. She is a great mouser and ratter, but she can also round
was 13 years old in October of 2009.
other dog that came to Arkansas with us is Biskit. She is a purebred miniature
Australian Shepherd. She was given to me for my birthday as a new puppy. She is
a faithful, perfect farm dog. She herds everything from chickens to goats and
loves to lay out and watch the stock. She is a happy dog with a lot of personality.
Biskit is a header and Luna is a heeler so in years past they worked stock very
efficiently for us.
has blue eyes and long silky hair. She turned 15 in October of 2009.
first winter we were in Arkansas there was a bad ice storm, in January. During
that time there was no water or forage available to deer, turkey, or any of the
woodland creatures. It was bitterly cold with wind chill factors well below zero
for six weeks! It was during that time two puppies showed up at our farm. Living
on a gravel road seems to be an invitation for uncaring people to dump dogs.
pups were starved half to death and had burn marks where someone had stubbed out
cigarettes on them. The male pup was so weak he could not get up the steps. The
little female was so terrified of humans only her dire hunger allowed her to get
close. It took hours to finally encourage her to let me touch her. They were perhaps
6 to 12 weeks old at the most.
certainly did NOT need two more dogs, but we could not allow them to freeze or
starve to death either. There is no animal control or pound in our county or any
of the adjoining counties so what could we do but adopt them?
were covered in ticks and just too pathetic to turn away. So we brought them in,
fed and warmed them and of course they became additions to our animal family!
The other dogs took to them without issue and we became one big happy family.
was so weak when he came to us, he could not get up the steps. He was 9 years
old in 2009.
is a Catahoula Hound. He has blue eyes and the gentlest nature in the world but
he is also extremely protective and territorial when it comes to anyone or anything
that shows aggression toward us or our property.
is a miniature Border Collie. She is fast as a speeding bullet, smart as any dog
we have ever known, overly sensitive and fiercely loyal. She loves to run and
is so bonded to Murphy they sometimes sleep together with their paws around one
another at night!
is a miniature Border Collie who is overly sensitive, fast as lightning, and totally
loyal. She sees everything and anything that comes on the farm and lets us know
2009 yet another pup was dumped on our road. It was freezing terribly hard and
during the night sleet was raining down. Carl went down to the lower pasture to
feed Toy his nightly grain ration. He left the truck door open because it's only
about 5 steps from the cab to Toy's barn.
he returned to the truck which was sitting right next to my daughters house, there
was a dog sitting on his seat. Evidently the car stopped down the road we had
seen earlier, was dumping this little dog.
brought him home to me. "Look what I found" he said. Well really the
dog found HIM but I wouldn't quibble. Carl said " maybe this little guy will
help fill the void when one of our old ones leaves us".
night we became a FIVE dog family...eegads! But we are so happy with this little
boy we would not part with him now even though he's only been here a few weeks
at this posting. We named him aptly... Carl called him Scruffy!
is a very quiet little dog who never seems to bark unless there is a good reason.
He is active yet not hyper. He can run and keep up with the big dogs even though
he is only 11 inches tall and weighs maybe 10 lbs...12 at the most. He is a delightful
little addition to our canine family.
from his teeth appears to be a year old. He is a smart dog that learns very quickly
and is extremely obedient.
farm can function well without farm cats. Our cats are similar to Rag Doll cats.
They are just friendly and lovable but they are excellent hunters and keep our
barn mouse free! They hunt the area around the house and though occasionally they
will take a bird they are not much interested in birds. They hunt right around
baby chicks and do not bother them and they will eat with the chickens at the
our Bantum hens will nest in the same place the cat has kittens. The two mothers,
cat and hen, share the same box! If I move one the other will get angry and move
to a new nest.
and Zelda just loved one another. All the horses seem to like the cats...and the
cats seem to adore the horses!
cats love the goats and horses and can often be seen in winter time sleeping on
a back of a horse or goat. Some of the cats like the foals to drag them by their
tails! I used to get really upset seeing that because I felt the horses may hurt
the cats but the cats go back for more if I remove them from harm's way! The foals
never bite them or step on them so I guess they are all happy with the arrangement!
The goats seem to enjoy the cats as well and some of the horses will seek the
cats out. It's sort of like a Dr. Doolittle movie!
we found that the neutered and spayed cats do not survive here! There are virtually
hundreds of wild cats, bob cats, coyotes etc that EAT domestic cats here! For
some reason the in tact cats manage to live longer. We do not mind them having
kittens because we always have people wanting them. They do a good service for
our farm and are also pets.
nursing her kittens along with Spooks kittens. Both had their kittens in the same
nest at the same time!!!
Our cats function
much the same way as a pride of lions in that one female will tend all the kittens
while another female hunts. When the hunting female returns she will nurse all
the kittens while the other mother cat goes on a hunt. Our male cats babysit the
kittens and when they are old enough will take them out in a single file line
to teach them to hunt. It is a communal and very peaceful setting. No fighting
and no nasty behavior.
We keep self feeders in the
barn for the cats so they have access to food 24 hours per day and fresh water.
They still hunt constantly and stay healthy.
have full access to all the stalls and the barns. They do not leave our property.
They help desensitize the horses to things suddenly jumping into view and their
purring seems to sooth the horses. Often I will catch a horse nuzzling a cat just
to make it purr!
Everything on Foxvangen Farm has
a job to do and must be cooperative and kind. We do not keep any animals that
show mean attitudes nor any that are not kind to other animals or those smaller
warming their feet on Jasmines neck on a cold winter night. This is not an unusual
site at our farm. Sometimes the chickens will hunker down on one of the horses
rumps to keep warm when the temperatures dip below zero.
applies to even our chickens! The chickens forage all day and only go to the coop
at night or in very bad weather. They eat tons of bugs and keep the ticks away
from the farm area. They hunt and eat baby snakes and mice as well. They are a
valuable addition to the farm ecology.
Even the foals
do not mind the chickens roosting on them and the chickens never relieve themselves
while on the horses. They will politely step to the edge so their droppings do
not soil the horses. We find the fluttering of the chickens when they jump up
on stall doors or into the rafters helps to desensitize the foals and horses to
things suddenly and unexpectedly jumping into their range of vision. Later in
life birds flying up from the ground do not tend to spook them.
chick was sleeping on the foals rump all night even while the foal walked around.
do have a chicken coop and a chicken run that most of the chickens retreat to
at night. In the very hottest heat of summer they take to the rafters of the barn
where it is somewhat cooler but in fall we give away our surplus chickens from
the year's hatch and send the remainder back to the chicken coop where they are
locked up for the winter.
the spring they are released to come and go as they wish again. This protects
them from wild things and keeps them tame enough so we can handle them. We enjoy
our chickens very much. They are entertaining. We have one hen called Henny Penny
that is tame. She eats from our hands and allows us to pick her up. She sleeps
in a box up on a stand in the barn aisle at night. She is a funny bird but we
Bantum Roosters are not fighters. They get along with one another or they do not
stay on our farm!
In winter it is not unusual to see
a chicken warming it's feet on one of the horses backs.
Often one will become attached to a horse and will sleep
on it's back each night. The horses seem to like the
chickens. We have seen Ribbon let half grown chicks
run up her neck and stand on her head. Then Ribbon walks
over to the middle of her stall, lifts her head way
up and lets the chicks hop onto the rafters they could
not hope to reach otherwise. We have watched her do
that many times. The chicks will sit on her feeder edge
and wait patiently for her to eat her grain, and then
Ribbon will come lower her head while they scamper up
her neck . If humans could get along half as well as
these animals this would be a happier world!
Orpington hens and rooster with a Bantum tag along. Henny Penny is the darker
of the hens.
The Bantum chickens are the
best at bug elimination but the Buff Orpingtons actually hunt out snakes and mouse
nests. Buff Orpingtons are very friendly and not flighty chickens. They lay beautiful
brown eggs and are easily trained to eat out of one's hand or to do minor tricks.
Our Bantum hens are such good mothers they will brood virtually anything! On more
than one occasion we have had a broody hen mother kittens that were orphaned by
coyotes. It is a wonderful thing to see such cross-specie interaction. They really
put the human race to shame sometimes!
the hen brooding orphaned kittens. She raised them and stayed with them until
they were over a year old!
Life on the
farm is not always easy or pleasant for animals. There
are hawks, eagles, fox, coyotes, raccoon, possums and
snakes that simply love chicken for supper! Though we
try to keep predators away there are times when we lose
chickens. It is important then to have good hens who
will set and brood chicks so we always have a supply.
We allow them to set as much as they wish then each
fall we give away our surplus chickens to families who
one brood there may be pure Orpington chicks, pure Bantum chicks and cross bred
moving here we decided to purchase a few goats. It is good to have goat milk on
hand in case a foal needs supplemental feeding for one reason or another. Our
"few" goats developed into a hobby for our adult daughter and soon we
had 20 goats! At first we had a variety of breeds then soon found they do not
always mix well. Some breeds also do not do well in our extremely volatile weather,
the humidity and extreme heat of summer. So over the course of a few years she
has paired down to mostly Alpine goats who are hardy and tolerate the weather
here. All the same we still have a few Nubians and a couple Boer goats as well.
When they live out their days we will go to straight Alpines as they seem most
tolerant of the climate.
the goats at Foxvangen Farm are considered as living beings with feelings. Here
a mother goat takes her kid for a romp at the "kid park".
enjoy all our animals immensely. But what is perhaps more rewarding is our animals
enjoy one another also. We like harmony and peace on our farm but also treasure
happy animals. Crazy as it sounds we would not trade places for all the money
in the world.
Kids sleeping with kittens is
a common thing to see at Foxvangen Farm!
We like our
Dr. Doolittle farm because we enjoy the serenity and
the serendipity. The animals seem to thrive in the low
stress atmosphere and everyone gets along. It is so
interesting to observe the cross-specie interaction
and friendships that abide here. The human race could
actually take a lesson!
Orphan Annie the goat doe, and Pandora the cat became best friends. They slept
together and kept company during the day.
are not "big potatoes" and never aspired to be. Bigger is not always
better in our opinion. After more than 50 years of living on the fast track of
the west coast where we had a very large home and a ton of responsibilities that
oft times as not kept us busy and away from the things that truly matter to us
we sought a quieter, simpler life for our retirement years. We found that here
in Oxford where the birds sing all night long and the seasons all hold a special
beauty as well as a challenge we can quite enjoy just being down home folk. We
live with a friendly attitude and a love for our country way of life.
land we bought was once part of a dairy so it was cleared and in pasture. It had
a ton of broken down old fences that had to be cleaned up and new fences had to
There is a spring fed pond
on the west side of the property with an overflow wash that runs down from it
all the way to the road. At the road a culvert carries the surplus rain water
under the road and then down to the creek that borders our east boundary.
land is divided by that road. 12 acres is on the east side of the road and is
all bottom land. We have good pasture there and one of the two mobile homes we
installed. Our daughter lives in that mobile home. There is a small run in barn
there where our senior stallion resides in his 2 1/2 acre pasture.
farm runs to the tree line at the bend of the road in this direction and is divided
by the road. Our daughter lives in the house below and we live on the hill. At
the tree line there is a creek.
west side of the road, we have an additional 28 acres with the main barn, a 12x36
run in shelter for our jr. Stallion and his pasture mate, another 24x32 enclosed
hay barn, a 18x24 foot goat barn, a 10x12 small goat barn, a 18x24 foot small
hay barn and our main barn which is 40x60.
functional, not the Ritz or a show place. Our driveway circles around our round
pen which sets between the main barn and the house yard.
barn has 9 stalls that are 12x16 with 12x40 foot paddocks. The barn also has a
12x16 tack room.
we bought raw land we had a big job to do. First we had to clear away miles of
barbed wire fences and rotting posts. Then we had to build fences and install
gates. There had been a 75x 48 foot hay barn on the lower pasture when we bought
but it came crashing down in the ice storm of 2001, the first winter we were here!
had to run water lines and power in from the road and cut a driveway to both home
sites. Then we had to pour concrete slabs upon which to set our mobile homes.
Next came the decks and roofs and ramps. Quite an undertaking all on it's own!
We set the round pen
up between the house and barn so it is handy to access and someone can sit on
the porch and watch the goings on from the shade of the deck.
at the barn and round pen from the front deck
we first arrived in Arkansas we must have looked like Ma and Pa Kettle coming
to town!! Our daughter and I came down first pulling our horse trailer full of
small farm supplies, our farm cats, and our chickens! Can you just imagine going
through countless towns, stopping at traffic lights and having a rooster crowing
it's head off in the trailer? We got some mighty odd looks through many states
I can tell you!!!
arrived on the hottest day of the year. The poor cats and chickens were about
done for by time we got them out of that trailer even though they had water and
food in there. They all survived but had that trip been 20 miles longer they may
not have been so lucky! It was 108 degrees out and so humid it felt like we were
breathing water! We had left Monroe, Washington two and a half days earlier with
a balmy 69 degrees! Needless to say we were introduced to Ozark summers with a
can just barely see the south pasture through the trees. Our property runs to
the next road in this direction.
stayed in Washington to ship the horses. A hauler from Texas by the name of Quality
Horse Transfer had built a run specifically to haul all our mares and foals down
for us. They did a superb job and the horses arrived four days after we did.
were hot and tired to be sure but they faired much better than the cats and chickens.
In true Foxtrotter fashion they stepped quietly off the transport, walked into
their new grassy pasture, looked around, ran the perimeter and then began to graze
in contentment as if they had lived here all their lives. The foals scampered
and played and didn't seem to mind the blistering heat near as much as we did!
few days later, Carl arrived driving a rented furniture van and pulling our heavy
hauler trailer with all the household goods, farm equipment and anything else
that hadn't come down in our truck and trailer.
we first arrived here we had a deep sense of coming home. A fitting place for
Foxvangen Farm to relocate! Nestled along the eastern slope of the Ozark Mountains,
Foxvangen Farm is located in the sleepy little village of Oxford, Arkansas, population
642! Quaint and extremely rural, living in Oxford is on many levels like taking
a step back in time where communities pulled together to accomplish things and
where everyone knew everyone...and everyone's business! Neighbors squabble like
children one day and are hugging buddies the next. Friendly, country folk who
have embraced us as their own have made us feel like we are at home here.
west from our porch, this is our back pasture. The trees on the left screen a
spring fed pond.
Deer, wild turkey, bobcats,
fox, and all manner of furry and feathered creatures live for the most part harmoniously
in the multitudes of gullies and washes that score the landscape. The occasional
bear, cougar and the illusive black panther can be spotted from time to time and
coyotes sing at the full moon in choirs of many voices.
part of the Ozarks can be gloriously beautiful, dangerously brutal, blistering
hot, breathtakingly cold. It is a place of extremes however the large majority
of the year is very pleasant and comfortable. Winter and summer seem to be the
shorter seasons while spring and fall seem longer.
is a place where sunrises are so red the entire world is cast in it's light!
year we had dozens of sunrises like this!
is a work of slender. With so much open space there
is no distraction from buildings or obstructions. Who
would not want to wake early to catch glimpses of such
2008, sunrise on the farm
Peace and harmony
abound here and the soft southern wind carries the scent of honeysuckle in spring
time while the bitter winter winds often bring harshly beautiful ice storms. It
is a green land that always has something to offer by way of beauty even in the
harsh seasons. Phenomenal sun rises and sun sets take one's breath away.
is difficult to decide which is more breathtaking, the sunrises or the sunsets!
can one not relish the beauty of such a place?
we live on the east slope of the Ozarks we are away from any major lakes or rivers.
It was really just luck that made us pick this spot but we are forever thankful
we did. For some reason all the bad storms skip over us. We live in the tornado
belt but our particular area has not had a tornado within 20 miles for more than
90 years. We hope to extend that record!
can sometimes sit on our deck and see the storms building. We have seen two vortexes
form that spawned tornadoes 60 miles west of us but usually the storms split and
go around us. We do get some straight line winds to write home about and those
can do a lot of damage but so far we have weathered the storms well.
storm brewing...see the front line? Sometimes storms make a sunny day turn dark
It is not
unusual for a storm to come up and make it look like night in the middle of the
day. Usually they pass over quickly and the sun comes back out. The barometer
can play havoc with the sinuses during these times.
here are short but can be very brutal. Every year since we moved here we have
had wind chill factors that drop well below zero, sometimes as low as 50 degrees
below zero! We get snow each winter but normally only one or two times and only
a few inches, rarely over a foot.
More common here are ice storms. This ice rains down like regular rain but freezes
instantly on contact with everything or anything but because it comes down as
a liquid it shrouds every seed or blade of grass individually. It hardens clear
as glass! It is very treacherous, yet very beautiful at the same time. It can
cause untold damage and has at least twice since we moved here in 2000. In January
of 2009 we had a devastating ice storm that broke off hundreds of thousands of
power poles and broke the tops and /or limbs out of every tree for hundreds of
miles in a swath. On our farm, every single tree standing more than six feet tall,
was in some way broken or knocked down by the ice.
snow often comes in spring! In January it is not unusual to have temperatures
below 0 with chill factors as low as -50!
ice storm of 2009 set many records. Power outages lasted from a couple weeks to
over a month in an area covering thousands of miles. Our farm was not spared.
Every fence was broken down by trees falling on them. Every store, gas station
or other facility for more than 60 miles was closed. It was nearly impossible
to stand up on the ice much less drive in it.
water coming to the animals was a trick because the town wells were powered by
electricity and our tiny town didn't have a generator to run the pumps on the
We also had goats
kidding during that time. Some of the kids' tiny ears froze before we could even
get them dry. We had no way to heat the barn and no way to warm them other than
to put sweaters on them but the sweaters did not protect the ears. We lost 7 new
baby kids and 3 does as a result of the ice storm.
ice rains down as liquid to coat each stem separately!
blanketed all the horses and kept them in off the ice for the first few days until
we could assure ourselves they would not break a leg on the ice! It was much easier
caring for them in the barn than outside anyway! Their ears would encrust in ice
and even with blankets on the ice would form ice sickles on their manes, tails
power poles were some of the very few that didn't break off but the transformers
blew and it was more than two weeks before we regained power!
The horses we brought to start our new life in Arkansas,
were hand picked individuals gleaned from some of the oldest genetic strains in
the breed. Horses that were using ranch horses and exemplified the natural foxtrotting
horse as it was in the early origins of the breed.
Foxvangen Farm we are traditionalists. We wanted to perpetuate and preserve all
those good qualities in our horses because that type horse is very handy. They
are athletic, sure footed, sensible, and versatile. AND they are as a breed beginning
to evolve into another type!
We are living our dream
to have Foxvangen Farm be a successful contributor to the Missouri Foxtrotter
breed even though we are not a fancy barn and do not breed for the show ring.
Our horses have good stride length without prostituting
the smooth, gliding gait the breed was founded around. We are not interested in
producing race horses, however our horses move at a good rate of speed within
the true gait and in doing so keep their feet under them well enough to be extremely
sure footed, agile and athletic. We expect our horses to be able to canter a proper
3 beat canter rather than a four beat lope seen and called a canter in some places.
We also expect them to be able to gallop a true four beat gallop. After all their
ancestors did these things and were prized world wide as far back as 1100 B.C.!
lower pasture as viewed from our daughter's front deck.
the first 20 years of the Missouri Foxtrotter registry there were fewer than 10%
Tennessee Walkers taken into the registry. After 1969 nearly all the horses brought
into the registry were Tennessee Walkers. While both types can foxtrot and both
types are nice horses the registry was founded to preserve the original type,
so that is what we breed. Today nearly every Missouri Foxtrotter has a percentage
of Tennessee Walking Horse blood. That blood has diluted the original Foxtrotter
to the point where a good percentage of Foxtrotters today are 7/8, 15/16 and 31/32
Tennessee Walker by blood. Many others are 100% Tennessee Walker.
we value the original style horse and do not wish to see it go extinct, we breed
Foundation Heritage Registered horses and participate in the Foundation Foxtrotter
Heritage Association. We feel strongly that if we wished to own and ride a Tennessee
Walking Horse we would buy one registered in that breed registry!
The old timers of the Ozarks knew
the benefits of having horses such as the original Foxtrotters.
They used them to do all manner of work including working
cows in the rugged hills. Their interests were in having
a good all around horse with endurance and stamina to
hold up over long hours of grueling work in these inhospitable
hills that bested other breeds. The Ozarkians wanted
horses that would not fall out from under them while
negotiating the tricky footing of the area. Our goals
are the same.
We try to breed horses ranging in height
from 14.2 hands to 15.1 hands. We have occasional foals who will get taller but
we try very diligently to not exceed our boundaries. WHY? Because to get taller
horses one has to sacrifice something. 16-17 hand horses have the same size heart
and bone ratio as those smaller. Therefore they have to work much harder to pump
blood down those long legs and back up again. This puts needless strain on the
heart and lungs. Taller horses are not as agile or well balanced for steep climbing
as a rule and in some places make riding through woodlands a nuisance for their
riders because they have to keep bent over to miss tree branches. Our horses are
strong and stout enough to carry the largest and tallest riders without handicap
but are much easier to mount! The height of the horse is not what is important,
the strength, frame and body mass is what makes a horse able to carry weight.
also try to put a bit of color on them although color is the least of our concerns...without
the horse under it, color is worthless. My personal preference is a red horse!
Especially those who have the glorious deep hues some of ours get. But each person
has their own preference and isn't it grand. Otherwise we would all want the exact
same thing and life would be rather boring!
you have had a glimpse of who we are. Come along and view our site! Please
take time to sign our guest book. Return often. Or come by and sit a spell, we
are always happy to receive visitors.