Who We are...
Throughout this site we consistently use the terms
"we", "ours", and "us". But who are "we"? We are
Jeff Bartko and Victoria Hauser, Jeff's Son, Thomas, plus our good friends and the horses.
Part of an article published
in a Southern California
|Jeff began his career in horses at a rather late age
in about 1986 when he was hired to perform as a mounted, armored knight,
competing in full-contact jousting exhibitions. Prior to that
he was a computer technician and TV-repairman (remember the
days when TV's
were repaired rather than thrown away). However, he had some
acting experience, and was skilled in stage-combat. So ran off
to join the circus (figuratively speaking of course).
He eventually became director of one of the company's
two travelling jousting troupes. He really enjoyed the work,
and learned a lot about the horse, and the connection a
person can have to that animal. He worked with the horses every day (except Monday),
and performed on the weekend for live audiences.
The performances were done primarily using draft horses
specially trained for the necessary skills. So was born his
love for the draft horse.
Upon retiring from the
jousting business, Jeff knew he wanted to continue having these big
horses around him, and decided the Shire Horse was to be that breed.
acquired his first Shire horse shortly thereafter, and seemingly never
stopped bringing them home. He and his late wife, Christine, would travel overseas to the
largest Shire shows in the world, and learned much about the breed
from it's origins in England.
From that point, it didn't take long
for them to discover the Gypsy Horse. They (Christine & Jeff)
brought over their first Gypsy Horses in 1999 and began promoting
the breed. By 2001, the interest in the breed was strong, but
they could not bring horses in from the UK due to the foot & mouth
epidemic. It wasn't until February of 2002 that they began
importing the breed in numbers to satisfy the demand for the breed
in North America. The last horses they brought over came
in 2008. Through this six year period they imported over 1500
horses into North America.
Their philosophy regarding the Gypsy Horse breed
contributed much to their success. They knew the breed would
take hold and grow in popularity, and that they were creating a
foundation for the breed. They were disappointed at how
some Americans were using the breed for various marketing schemes,
and that some European breeders saw America as a place to sell
inferior horses for big money. Chris & Jeff believed that the
foundation of the breed in America should be based on truthful
information, respect for the Gypsy people, and importing the highest
quality horses available.
Christine passed away in 2010.
Although the economy has slowed down the horse
industry, the breed is still of interest to a great number of
people, and Jeff believes we will see the breed continue to grow in
popularity as the economy improves.
Today, Jeff and Victoria continue to support their clients and
introduce newcomers to the breed. Jeff also serves on the Board
of Directors for the Gypsy Horse Registry of America. In his
spare time, Jeff enjoys travelling, amateur radio, and flying
airplanes with Victoria, and Thomas.