After watching a Discovery Channel show documenting how residents of Greensburg, Kansas, were rebuilding their tornado-ridden city as a “model green community,” horse industry veterans Chad and Tammy Hassenpflug became determined to support that community in a special way.
The Hassenpflugs, who run a joint training operation at Delta Downs and raise and condition horses at their Southwind Farm facility near Vinton, La., sold a 2-year-old colt they named Greensburg for $7,000 at the March 22 John Franks Memorial sale at Evangeline Downs. Half of the proceeds will benefit the reconstruction of the town for which the Thoroughbred was named.
“We’ve been through a couple of hurricanes here and have lived through a lot of devastation in our part of the country, but (Greensburg) lost their entire town,” said Tammy Hassenpflug of the 2007 disaster. “Those tornados were devastating to them, and they had nothing left. And when they decided to rebuild Greensburg, it just inspired us to do what we could to help them.
“We hope the money will make some kind of difference; we’re directing it toward the youth, but they can do as they see fit to do whatever their greatest need is.”
Greensburg, who is especially fitting to carry the city’s namesake as he’s by Storm Passage, was bought by Rolando Cabral Veras.
While the colt did not fetch the high price tag the Hassenpflugs had hoped for, he did raise the kind of awareness for which they were aiming.
In addition to financially supporting the cause, the Hassenpflugs practice what they preach as their home at Southwind Farm is a model of energy efficiency and eco-awareness.
“We built our house after Hurricane Rita with the idea we would build it as energy efficient as possible,” said Tammy, who also competes in various charitable foot races around the country with her husband. “Through the research and development that we encountered during that process, we became more and more educated in the aspects of a green life.”
The Hassenpflugs, who also bred, raised, and sold the John Franks Memorial $77,000 sale topper, a Roar of the Tiger colt named Taylor’s Tiger, started out in the Quarter Horse industry more than 35 years ago.
Tammy delved into the business as a trainer’s assistant at Pompano Park in Florida and, after going out on her own, was the leading trainer there in 1991. She also met Chad, a former jockey, at Pompano, and they married in 1994.
The couple gradually switched from Quarter Horses to Thoroughbreds through a friendship with Randy Hartley of the Ocala-based Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds.
“Actually, one of Randy’s first jobs was working for me,” said Tammy. “He and I have been very close friends our whole lives; he sent us one of (Hartley De Renzo’s) Thoroughbreds (owned by client Barbara Wennik), Raymond’s Dream, and we ended up winning five stakes races with her, and that led to bigger and better things.”
The Hassenpflugs now put forth a joint effort in training horses, which run in Chad’s name. They currently have a barn of about 40 runners at Delta Downs. Raymond’s Dream, who retired with earnings of more than $230,000, is now a broodmare at Southwind.
In the future the Hasenpflugs plan on continuing to find ways to translate aspects of their profession into helping others and improving the world in which they live.
“I’m sure we’ll be on the lookout for another opportunity to present itself,” said Tammy. “It makes you feel so good, and I’ve received e-mails from so many people, in Kansas especially. It’s just heartwarming. It’s gotten to the point where every time you turn on the TV, there’s so much bad news, and everything is so negative. We just wanted something positive in our lives, and this was a way to get it.”