Owner: Barb Ellison, Wild Turkey Farm, Oregon
This is the Stallion Story of LioCalyon, and also a memorial tribute to the stallion, who passed away just as it was being planned.
Standing at: Wild Turkey Farm, Oregon
LioCalyon, April 2, 1992 – February 26, 2019, was the cornerstone of Wild Turkey Farm. Says owner Barb Ellison, “He started my breeding business; he put Wild Turkey Farm out there.
“I came to own Lio because Butch and Lu Thomas sent me a video of this young stallion - back in the day of VHS tapes - and said, ‘you have to buy this stallion.’ I was like okay,” Barb recalls. “At that time, I was taking a break from the horses to raise my kids. But I put the video in my VHS tape player, and right after that I called them and said, ‘yes,’ and so Lio became my boy.
“There is so much to say about Lio. He was special from day one. Not only was he so incredibly handsome but he was Lio
. He came to the ring with a rag in his mouth, he liked to hold on to something.
“Lio did so much for the farm. He competed for over 10 years with multiple riders: Lu Thomas, Mandy Porter, Stevie McCarron, my daughter Megan. Lu started him out; then he went to Mandy where he showed so successfully up to 1.50. He loved Spruce Meadows, doing so well in the 1.45 – 150 division. He took Stevie McCarron Wigley to her first Grand Prix. When Megan needed a horse to show in Young Riders, who filled in? Lio.”
Barb retired Lio from competition when she sensed he wasn’t having fun with it. “I remember at Showpark, Mandy took him in the ring and when she dropped the reins after the last jump and he didn’t do his signature move (Mandy had taught him how to jump an imaginary jump when he was finished competing) and instead dropped his head and walked out, I told Mandy he was done, he wasn’t enjoying his job.
“He came home to the farm in Woodside, where his new job was to be a breeding stallion. He liked
his new job.”
Barb has described Lio as the King, and like many top stallions, he took his responsibilities seriously. “When we moved to Oregon in 2011 I got worried. Poor Lio all of a sudden had an empire to control. The poor boy lost several hundred pounds because he felt he had to control his universe – the farm, the mares, the other stallions. But we let him choose his stall, choose the field he wanted to be in - and he settled.
“He was always the stallion people wanted to see and he never disappointed. If he was turned out, all you had to do was call ‘Lio Lio’ and he came trotting over to the fence to say hi.
“I loved and admired Lio. He gave 100% no matter what he was asked to do and with a smile on his face.
“I am at a loss for words to convey how much Lio meant to me. He was my world, he created Wild Turkey Farm, he was my signature stallion, and he is the statue you see when you drive up into the property, which is why he will be buried—by his statue. He was part of my life for over 22 years. I miss him; I can’t express the sadness that I am feeling that he is gone from the farm.
LioCalyon's legacy will continue with his offspring that he never failed to stamp with his likeness. Shown here is approved son Peterbilt.
“Lio’s offspring make me smile as he has stamped them all,” says Barb. “You can go through a field and point out a Lio baby—they all have his look.
“Rest in peace and gallop green fields. You deserve it.”