Running Cedar Spring Farm More Than Horseplay

December 2, 2009  
Filed under Business

By Stephanie Choate

Charlotte horse trainers Bonnie and Keely Sogoloff are either working with or thinking about the horses in their barn 24 hours a day, they say.

“To work as hard as we do for as little money as we make, you better like it,” Bonnie Sogoloff said. “We’d probably be really bored doing something else.”

Bonnie Sogoloff, 65, and her daughter, Keely, train, breed and sell Morgan show horses at their 26-stall Cedar Spring Farm. It is the horses themselves that keep them going, Bonnie Sogoloff said.
“They’re just an amazing animal. They’re mystical and just totally absorbing to learn about,” Bonnie Sogoloff said. “Riding itself is exhilarating.”

While the Sogoloffs have worked with other horse breeds, they focus on Morgan horses. The breed was developed in Vermont, and Morgan horses are mostly known for the proud way they carry themselves and friendly temperament.

“They’re beautiful, absolutely a gorgeous animal,” Bonnie Sogoloff said. “They’re also people-oriented. They love people. A lot of other horses are more aloof, but a Morgan is not. They love to go places and love to be with people.”

Bonnie Sogoloff started Cedar Spring Farm in 1976 in Essex, at the urging of her husband, Hayes Sogoloff, an optometrist whom Keely Sogoloff called “the backbone of the farm.”

“It is a family affair, he is our manager,” Bonnie Sogoloff said. “We can’t do this without him … he’s our right hand.”

Hayes Sogoloff doesn’t ride or train the horses, but he does everything else, from maintaining the facilities to driving to horse shows, Bonnie and Keely Sogoloff said.

Keely Sogoloff joined her mother as a trainer at Cedar Spring Farm, after looking into a couple different career options, including opening a jewelry store.

“I thought maybe there was something else I wanted to do, and there wasn’t, so here I am,” she said. “You try to get away and they just draw you back in. Once it’s in the blood, you cannot get away from it.”

The Sogoloffs moved their farm to Charlotte in 2005.

“It’s been a great move for us,” Bonnie Sogoloff said. “They really welcomed us and we were thrilled to come here.”

Last month, the Sogoloffs competed in the Morgan Grand National — an eight-day championship show in Oklahoma City. Bonnie Sogoloff said the show “is sort of like our Olympics,” and the Sogoloffs took home the most prestigious prize.

MEM Bailamos, a champion stallion that Keely Sogoloff trained, won the Open Hunter Pleasure World Championship, where approximately 25 horses perform together.

“Cedar Spring has a reputation right now of being one of the best stables in the U.S. for training,” said Bailamos’ owner, Jerry Nau. “(Bailamos) is phenomenal, and I’m very proud of Keely for what she accomplished.”

Jerry and Mary Jane Nau, who own 14 horses, currently have three horses at Cedar Spring Farm. The Naus, who live in Shelburne, have worked with Cedar Spring Farm for about six years.

Jerry Nau, who described himself as “a very young 71” just started competing in pleasure western riding events in the past couple years. Mary Jane Nau said he has “a cult following at some shows.”
“It has been a wonderful relationship where I know that they are taking care of the horses the way I do at home,” Mary Jane Nau said. “The magic of this breed and the caring and concern and quality of what Cedar Spring brings to a horse owner, I think is exceptional.”

While rewarding, the business can also be stressful, the Sogoloffs said.

“You have to live and breathe this place,” Keely said. “You can’t just leave the paperwork on the desk and go away for the weekend. You’re being held accountable for all those lives in the stalls.”
The Sogoloffs charge $900 per month to board and train horses, but their main source of income is selling horses. Morgan show horses can sell from $15,000 up to six figures, Bonnie Sogoloff said.
Although the Sogoloffs can always find buyers for their best horses, business has definitely taken a hit because of the economy, they said.

“I’d say it’s taken kind of a nosedive,” Bonnie said. “But it’s coming back and it’s improving a lot and we think within another year, hopefully we’ll be back to what we’ve been doing.”

Local Alzheimer’s Support Groups

December 2, 2009  
Filed under Health & Wellness


Rowan Court Nursing Home

Community National Bank
476-5116 or 476-4822


Birchwood Terrace

Converse Home


Elderly Services

Helen Porter Healthcare Center


Lamoille Home Health




The Arbors
985-8600or 288-8117

Shelburne Bay Senior Living


Adult Day Center

St. Albans

Franklin County Home Health

St. Johnsbury

Caledonia Home Health

If you need assistance in reaching any of these groups, please call the Alzheimer’s’ Association at 802-316-3839.

5 Creative Tips for the Holidays

December 1, 2009  
Filed under Money

By Mary Hunt, CNS

The cleverest holiday gift wrap I ever have seen was as ugly as it was unique. It came from the mind of a teenage boy, who used pieces of drywall to wrap his gift. Nails served as tape, and duct tape was ribbon. It did the trick to disguise the gift for sure, but more than that, it was entertaining and memorable. So, what do you have around the house that could double as gift wrap? Our first reader tip offers a great idea that would make any gift stand out as both attractive and unique.

• MAP WRAP. Many public libraries sell old books, magazines and periodicals. I buy old maps for 10 cents each and use them as wrapping paper for gifts. I buy plain ribbon from the $1 bin at my local craft store. Some people spend $20 for gift wrapping for the holidays; I spend $2. If only books and magazines are available, buy old copies of National Geographic with maps inside and use those. — Melissa C., California

• TURKEY TIP. Supermarkets often run good sales on whole turkeys before and after the holidays. I remove the legs and wings and pack them separately in freezer bags. One turkey can make quite a few meals, and it’s easier to fit in the freezer once it’s cut apart. — Jill M., e-mail

• GIFT GAME. My daughter started a game with the presents at Christmastime. We wrap gifts without name tags. Each person chooses a gift and, after opening it, tries to determine whom it is for. We also wrap “junk” in fancy packages and watch the faces as each gift is opened. Then we hand out the real gifts after the laughter dies down. The important thing is to know your family and what would work with them to make it fun. — Veronica B., e-mail

• CHRISTMAS TREE SKIRT. Several years ago, I gave up on the velvet Christmas tree skirts that need to be dry-cleaned. Instead, I use a metallic flannel-backed tablecloth. They come in gold, silver, red or green for $1 to $5. I cut in from one side to the middle and place it around the base of the tree. I tuck it in and scrunch it up a little, and it reflects the tree light. After Christmas, I clean the skirt with a damp cloth or just throw it out with the other holiday trash. — Bonnie K., California

• IMAGINATIVE IDEA. This Christmas, my family has agreed not to spend our usual amount of money on one another. Instead, we’re going to buy one another small gifts. Then we’re going to pretend we have a million dollars, cut out photos of the gifts we would give to one another from magazines or catalogs, tape the pictures inside boxes with notes saying why we wanted to give these gifts, and wrap up the boxes in beautiful paper with bows! — Pamela B., New York

Give Namby-Pamby Neutrals the Color-Punch of Black

December 1, 2009  
Filed under Home & Garden

By Rose Bennett Gilbert, CNS

Q: I have always liked living with calm, neutral colors, but lately, I’ve decided all that beige may just be too bland. Without getting all new furniture (not the year for that!), what can I do to punch up my color scheme (taupe, cream, and beige-beige-beige)?

A: Contrast. It’s an eight-letter word for adding zest to a color scheme.
See what we mean in the up-market pictured sitting room. New York designer William Sofield casts a golden glow over his Greenwich Village pied-a-terre with a palette of mostly neutrals. It’s the exceptions — the black armchair, strong artwork and deep-toned wood furniture — that give the space its visual energy. And without ruffling the overall calm and luxury feeling, those draperies are made of cashmere, the better to ward off the winter chills, says the designer.

“Real glamour is rooted in practicality,” Sofield told Michael Lassell, author of “Glamour: Making It Modern,” the new book published by Filipacchi, from which we borrowed this photo.

Sofield’s touches of gold on accessories like the drapery rods, candlesticks and mirror don’t downplay the glamour. But all that glitters does not visual interest make: hence those strokes of black for gravitas. You can easily follow the design pro’s lead without jettisoning your current furniture. Add dark-toned decorative pillows to a beige sofa. Change white picture mats for black ones. Paint the inside back of a bookcase charcoal gray … you get the idea.

While we’re on the subject of neutral color scheme, listen to the advice of The Trend Curve, a marketing group that tracks the latest in decorating ideas. They identify four categories of neutrals you should consider:

1. “Whisper-Light Pales” — from cream to muted olive to a purple so faint it may look brown or pink

2. “Pliable Mid-tones” — think of the variations in a bouquet of dried multicolored roses

3. “Metamorphic Mid-Values” — greenish browns and grays with splashes of mauve, beige and deep blues

4. “True Deeps” — tones you might find on a dense forest floor: greens, browns, grays and the blues of evergreen needles, accented with golden moss and light mineral tones

A far cry from your same-old beige, yes? Who says neutrals are boring?

Q: Our neighbors added a great room to their home, which practically sits on the property line. It has big windows all around, so they can look into our living room. We put up blinds, but I hate having them closed all the time. What else can you suggest that will let in the light but give us a little privacy?

A: Do it with mirrors. There are window films that let you see out but not vice versa. One version turns the outside glass into a mirrored surface that also reflects heat and glare, more good reasons to consider window film (sources include Vista, 3M, and Sears).

Uncle Sam is even offering up to $1,500 tax credits for making your windows energy-efficient (

Remember what designer Sofield said about real glamour being rooted in practicality?

You might also consider something more decorative. and Brewster Home Fashions (800-366-1700) make appliques that look like stained or beveled glass when you press them onto your plain old windows.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Dark accents add life to a calm, cool and luxurious townhouse sitting room. Photo by Laura Resen, courtesy of Filipacchi Publishing.

Men’s Holiday Must-Haves

December 1, 2009  
Filed under Blogs

By Sharon Mosley, CNS

It’s time to lighten up and do some partying, guys. So, put your best blazer on and get back into the swing of dressing up again. You know you’re tired of that same old navy blazer and khaki routine. But first, you might need to do some holiday shopping – and buy a few things for yourself at the same time.

“With the economy stabilizing, expect customers to loosen their purse strings for some long overdue holiday shopping,” says Tom Julian, a menswear industry expert and author of “The Nordstrom Guide to Men’s Style” (Chronicle Books, $19.95).

“The holiday 2009 season takes a slight departure from the seriousness of the fall runways,” adds Julian, “but customers are still looking for intrinsic value and quality in investment pieces that can carry them through the winter season.”

So guys, here are some “must-have” fashion trends to put on your holiday wish list:

• At the top of the debonair holiday fashion list for men, according to Julian, is a cashmere blend or plush-touch, velvet, two-button black blazer. “It can work for proper black tie or creative scenarios,” he says. Layer a velvet blazer over a sweater and trousers or a trim dress shirt in a dark color like smoky gray. Oh yeah, Johnny Depp has this look down in an all-black Tom Ford ensemble at a recent Museum of Modern Art tribute to Tim Burton.

• While black may be one of the most sophisticated choices for celebrities on the party circuit, a rich shade of wine, claret, russet or merlot is another festive way to drink in the season. “For fall, purple was the predominant color on the runways,” says Julian, “but for the holidays, it takes a warmer turn. Wine adds a depth to traditional winter fabrics and provides an understated pop of color to any holiday wardrobe.” Try pairing a deep merlot blazer over a camel sweater or a merlot patterned shirt with a burgundy tie.

• Another must-have on Julian’s holiday list for men? A half-placket pullover. This makes a great gift, too, girls! “From wools to cashmeres, this pullover works for any man,” says Julian, “and age appropriate options can be found everywhere at retail.” So, Grandpa, get ready to party! You can dress it up with tailored pants or dress it down with jeans.

• The quilting trend also steals the spotlight in holiday menswear. “Quilting is the perfect graphic accent to add a touch of luxe to a man’s wardrobe,” says Julian. “Whether it’s a minimal nuance like quilted elbow patches or a standout piece like a quilted tuxedo, this trend can be very versatile and classic.” Julian suggests looking for everything from quilted hunting jackets and knits, as well as a variety of quilting in accessories, such as bags, shoes, belts and gloves.

Tweed is another way to make the holidays bright … and this isn’t just for Grandpa anymore. “Tweed is not just for college professors,” Julian says. “Look for tailored cuts this season, such as mandarin collar tweed suits or slimming belted trenches, as well as tweed accents on shirts and sweaters.” And hey, don’t forget those tweed caps! Makes a very dapper gift!

OK, so you want to get the favorite man on your holiday gift list a new coat. No problem, says Julian. “For those who value performance and value, consider the trench coat, the car coat or a down puffer,” he says. “For those who look for style, a washed leather motorcycle jacket or a military canvas coat can be great options.” Make sure to look for extra details like zip-out linings and waterproof fabrics that can make a big difference in cold temperatures. And you know after all the parties, those bone-chilling days are ahead!

PHOTO CUTLINE: A new coat is a holiday must-have gift for men this year. Photo courtesy of Banana Republic,