Like most family businesses, Heritage Farm has a long and varied past that laid the foundation for what we have today.
Jerry and Marie Raucher both were interested in horses from young ages. Jerry grew up in Coney Island, New York and helped his grandfather deliver milk with a horse and wagon in the 1930’s and 40’s. During the 1950s he worked summers at various camps in Maine and Pennsylvania on his college breaks.
Marie grew up in Brooklyn and rode horses on holidays and in the city parks. Their paths crossed in the late 1950’s when Marie’s brother Jimmy was working for a trainer at the same stable Jerry owned in New Jersey. This was known as Sunnyside Riding Club.
After getting married, they lived on Long Island, NY, where they operated several stables, including Blue Spruce in the early 60’s and then the Smithtown Riding Club 1968-1972.
This business of buying and selling horses is what Jerry was all about. In those days, horses were typically sold for $150-$500. Between buying and selling, Jerry and Marie would use the horses in lessons.
Marie enjoyed her horses in many ways, from casual rides, as an avid foxhunter with the Smithtown L.I. hunt and enjoyed showing as well as teaching riding lessons. Jerry stuck with the business end of things by traveling to and from horse auctions buying and selling with others dealers of the day. Many were often good friends as well as business contacts.
As their business took them to different stables in New York and New Jersey, sons David, Donald, Douglas and Dennis came along to keep them busy as well. Diane was born later, once they had made the permanent move to Easthampton. The Raucher kids were all involved with horses as they grew up, of course.
Each of the Raucher kids developed their own interest in the horse business. David spent his younger years actively showing a number of horses in Hunter and Equitation classes. He later developed more interest in team penning and western speed events.
Donald always had a talent with a microphone. He is the voice behind our auctions, using his quick wit to keep the mood light and pace fast. Donald runs an auction company, Raucher Brothers Auctioneers, which has developed a strong base in estate and dispersal sales for local families and businesses. You can keep up with Raucher Brothers Auctioneer auctions on http://www.auctionzip.com/cgi-bin/auctionlist.cgi?vuid=30811.
The Racing Industry has also always had an appeal for Donald. He has worked as an outrider at several MA tracks and currently owns Thoroughbred race horses across the East Coast.
Douglas also showed often as a Junior. Now he is both a Certified Equine Dentist and a USEF rated “r” judge. Between his work for Heritage, his dental clients and his frequent judging commitments, Douglas spends most of his year traveling across the country. In 2010 Douglas was elected to be Vice-President of the WNEPHA, the local chapter of the Professional Horseman’s Association.
Dennis always had his main focus on Western horses and also cattle. He and his family own Heritage Livestock in Mt. Vernon, MO where they also buy and sell horses. His children are active with their local Pony Club. Dennis has become one of our main sources for buying horses from the Midwest.
Diane showed as a Junior and now runs the lesson program at Heritage. She also handles the day to day office work, advertising and schedule of events here at the farm. Diane’s 2 children, Riley and Erin spend much of their time at the barn where they enjoy playing with friends, riding their ponies and have also begun vaulting with a team in CT.
In June of 2003, Jerry passed away at home, after a lengthy illness due to complications from Diabetes. His presence is in every corner of Heritage Farm still today, although his wit, intelligence and advice is sadly missed.
Marie passed away on January 20, 2017 after a short stint of congestive heart failure. She left behind a valuable legacy for her family and the farm.
This interest in horses and the horse business lives on today through the entire Raucher family, now bringing the 3rd generation into the business at Heritage Farm.