Arrowwood Farm, York Springs PA

Managing a 250-acre, highly successful thoroughbred breeding farm is no easy task, but former barn hand Layne Shaffer is loving every part of this extremely challenging, exciting, busy, and fulfilling job.

Arrowwood Farm in York Springs, PA is owned by Tom Coulter, who decided over 20 years ago that he wanted to breed and race his own horses. He bought his farm in Pennsylvania and his first Broodmare, Princess Par, who today is still living on the farm, enjoying retirement. The farm has ranked among the top 10 breeder award recipients from the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association for the last several years. Layne started working there part-time in 2014, and when the manager decided to relocate to Kansas to be with her husband, Tom promoted her to the farm manager position. “I thought, well, I’m not sure I’m really qualified for this, but I’ll give it a whirl,” she remembered, taking over in 2016.
Her family wasn’t involved with horses, but her uncle had dairy cattle, and she helped with showing the cattle. She started riding when she was 10 years old, which developed her deep affection for horses and pointed her down that career path.
A typical day for the busy Layne starts early with feeding; administering medications to those in need; taking the temperatures of the foals, which are required twice a day; checking with the veterinarian on hand in preparation for breedings; cleaning stalls; any other tasks that need attention. On Tuesdays, she spends time at Hollywood at Penn National, meeting with the veterinarian evaluating any horses that may need attention. “I don’t know that there is a ‘typical’ day,” she laughs, “especially at this time of year with breeding season beginning, you can’t plan anything.”
Layne and her OTTB gelding Floo Powder

Those horses that don’t make it as a racehorse, Arrowwood Farm sells them for potential second careers. “We raised them and we know their whole history and we know the kind of treatment they’ve been getting their entire lives, so that gives us an advantage of finding them suitable and loving homes. This is one of my favorite parts. As much as I am sad when we sell horses, I love to see our babies go on and do other things. It’s cool when they are super competitive on the racetrack, but it is just as cool to see them go on to their second careers!” She even keeps track of where they are after they leave the farm, making sure that if something doesn’t work out, they can return to the farm and have a home. She owns three of her own, two from Arrowwood, on the farm where she resides with her boyfriend in Thomasville, PA.

Super competitive on the racetrack may just describe the farm’s shining star of the moment, Jakarta. Out of the mare T J’s Stormy Wit, sired by Bustin Stones, the filly overcame difficult odds at birth to become the stakes standout that she is. “I can’t tell you how many times we had looked at her and thought ‘she’s a nice horse’, and it felt like forever to get her to her first start, but once she did…just to see her go to the levels she’s gone! I can’t even put into words the excitement we are feeling!” With a recent strong fourth at Gulfstream Park, she has eight wins; three seconds; and two-thirds in 20 starts, and her earnings are now over $337,000.
A filly by Mucho Macho Man born on Laynes birthday

Currently, with 19 mares at Arrowwood Farm, Coulter has ramped the breeding program up a bit, only purchasing a few mares in the last few years. The most recent purchase was the dam of Jakarta in 2014, their most successful homebred to date, along with two other mares. They breed locally to Pennsylvania and Maryland stallions, and about half go to Kentucky. Six foals are on the ground at this time, with several more due.

Layne has a busy and fulfilling career, and she just turned 30 on February 28! Her present this year was extra special. After many sleepless nights spent patiently waiting for the mare Look Deep to foal, she gave birth to a filly by Munnings in the early morning hours of Layne’s birthday. From anxiously awaiting the birth of foals; to monitoring the horses currently in training and racing at Penn National; to successfully placing horses in loving homes or to owners for a second career; this passionate young woman looks forward to another year at the thriving Arrowwood Farm, doing what she loves, taking care of the Pennsylvania bred horses.
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