Wisconsin resident Ann-Marie Haas Niec’s search for her horses’ former owners has taken her on a virtual journey that led to Greenfield. And she’s still looking.
In 2019, Niec and Judy Mansell, a friend Niec has been riding with for about 50 years, decided to purchase a pair of Haflingers named Jim and Jack at a sale in Ontario, Wisconsin.
Niec posted in the “Greenfield Daily Times” Facebook group in March hoping to identify the horses’ former owners.
“If we could find the parentage, that would be very interesting,” Niec said. “We’re also looking to see if they’re actually brothers. We’ve been told they were a team, brothers, half-brothers — we just don’t know. It’s just pure curiosity.”
After countless Google and YouTube searches and dead ends, Niec has been able to trace Jim and Jack’s path after they left their original owners.
According to Niec’s research, when an older man passed away in 2016, his wife contacted a veterinarian, who connected her with Cedar Brook Ridge Haflingers, a farm owned by Peggy and Steve Strahler and located a few miles outside Buena Vista, where Jim and Jack were ultimately consigned.
An Amish man living near Greenfield, possibly Allen Miller, gave the horses a refresher course in driving before they were sold.
She believes the “haffy” team came to Wisconsin after a veterinarian in Oconomowoc saw Cedar Brook Ridge Haflingers’ sale video for the pair, which helped Niec herself track them back to the farm.
All Niec knows about Jim and Jack’s former owners, the older man and his wife, is that in 2016, the couple lived off a major state road near Greenfield and the man may have been a Massey Harris Ferguson tractor dealer or collector, information she got from the Cedar Brook owners, who couldn’t remember the couple’s names.
But the members of the “Greenfield Daily Times” Facebook group have given Niec new leads.
“People were very helpful and kind of invested, I guess, to see that someone from Wisconsin was looking for their horses’ owners in Greenfield, Ohio,” Niec said. “People’s generosity of knowledge and desire to help out was really, really cool.”
Now, Jim “A Whim” and Jack “Cracker Jack” live in Waterford, Wisconsin, where Niec and Mansell ride them and give them treats. The horses are also being refreshed for driving.
Niec said that when the horses are apart for any amount of time, they call to one another.
“They’re not million-dollar horses, and we wouldn’t care if they were,” Niec said. “We love them as much as anything.”
Niec also thanked everyone who commented on the original post in the “Greenfield Daily Times” Facebook group.
Those with information regarding Jim and Jack’s former owners should email Ann-Marie Haas Niec at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.