Sarde Morgans: 2014 New England Morgan Horse Association Hall of Fame Inductees
Written and presented by Tami Johnson, February 2015, Newport, RI
Like many truly great and worthy endeavors, this one started with a little girl’s dream. Her name was Joan Rose, and when she grew up, she was lucky enough to wed Vincent Sardelli, a loving husband and successful entrepreneur. Joan and Vincent lovingly raised three horse crazy girls in Warwick, Rhode Island (oh, and there was a brother, but not being a horselover this is all the mention he gets).
Joan lived her love and dreams of horses through her daughters, Beverly, Cheryl and Roxanne. Although she was actually afraid of the horses, her fear never kept her from nurturing her trio of young equestriennes into strong, competitive and hard working horsewomen. All three began riding before the age of 10, and all began hitting the show ring in short order. As we all know, either by experience or by witness, keeping horse crazy kids in show clothes, training barns and on top of the best horses takes a small fortune and a huge commitment in time and dedication. The Sardelli family was very blessed to have all of these ingredients, along with a liberal dose of love and respect for the beautiful creatures who would come to play a huge part in the lives of their daughters and granddaughters.
In 1978, Vincent and Joan purchased their first registered Morgan, Paramount Osohigh, who was followed by Orcland S Colonel. As luck would have it, Joan happened to purchase both of these nice Morgan geldings from Jim and Ann Anderson of Hobby Knoll Stables, who entered the sisters’ lives at just the right time.
Roxanne talks about how she idolized Jim and Annie at that time, who were celebrities by their many pages of win ads in The Morgan Horse magazine, the family chronicle of the time. It wasn’t long before they began to acquire great horses like Ponderosa’s Bleu, Austin Gentry, Quail Run Buckaroo, Quail Run Warlord, Shaker’s Pedro and Lady Hot Topic. Regional, Grand National and World titles began to pile up and their success sparked the genesis of one sister’s personal dream.
Here is where our story begins to evolve from a family growing up with horses and enjoying the sport of showing, to a Morgan horse farm that today is well respected in our breed for the quality of their stock, their devotion to the Morgan, and possibly most important—their integrity.
Roxanne Sardelli Greenway was one of those completely insane horse girls who studied bloodlines forward and backward, went bonkers when the new magazine came out each month and would pretend to “buy” mares and then “breed” them to advertised stallions, pretend they had foals who she would then name and create imaginary show careers. Crazy right? Who does that? Uh, I did. I used to spend hours on my Dad’s office typewriter making “farms” with horses that I “bought” out of the magazine. Like Roxanne, I too had a dream of creating my own World Champion. It is to this day an endeavor that requires tenacity, endurance and LOTS of vision…
The Sarde Morgans we know today started in 1988 when the very determined young Roxanne convinced her mother Joan to breed their show horse, Austin Gentry (who Joan dearly loved), to a mare leased from John Paluga of Tedwin Farms. The result was the first horse to carry their prefix: Sarde’s Royal Legacy, a winning show horse who's lived a long and well loved life. This was of course gasoline on the fire for Roxanne.
A lifelong admitted mare-aholic, Roxanne eventually weasled World Champion Lady Hot Topic away from her sister Cheryl with a bit of help from Mom and a true Morgan breeding farm was born. The dam of World Champion Sarde’s Manistique, Regional Champion Sarde’s Samurai, and the beautiful and good producing mare Sarde’s Victoria Anne, Lady Hot Topic gave Sarde Morgans a grand start in the breeding shed and inspired Roxanne to choose her own path and continue the pursuit of her dreams.
One of the important people to enter the Sarde Morgans theatre was trainer Rick Stevens, who was a strong influence in a young breeder’s thought process and vision. Roxanne has mentioned many times how much she learned about shape and beauty and quality from Rick. It was during this time that another important member of the distaff side came into the Sarde fold, the very beautiful and charismatic World Champion Mare, Stonecroft Shalimar, who produced World Champion Joan Rose, Mrs. Sardelli’s namesake. Joan Rose gave Roxanne her much loved and many time champion Sarde’s Insatiable, who then inspired Sarde Morgans to venture into stallion ownership with the purchase of her sire, Minion Millennium, who is now leading the farm into the future with outstanding new generations.
Sarde Morgans today is nestled on an 85-acre valley paradise that was hand crafted by Roxanne and her very talented husband Rob Greenway, who began reclaiming the land before they married in 2004 and won a state conservation award for their efforts in 2007.
“It is what it is”, and what it is is a gift to the New England Morgan horse community to have this aspiring farm in their circle. Truly living the dream, the Sarde Morgans family is a generous one, supporting shows with sponsorships, hosting parties and encouraging comraderie, volunteering time on the World Morgan Futurity committee, and generously supporting efforts within the Morgan horse community from the grass roots to the Grand National.
Sarde Morgans is all about the strength of a family, belief in their dreams, and generously sharing their dreams with the world. The New England Morgan Horse Association is extremely lucky to have such a force in their fold and I am very honored to recognize their good choice to induct Sarde Morgans to their Hall of Fame.