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Hickory Springs Falabellas
New York
Early Falabella Imports: The Regina Winery
Written by and used with the permission of Tammie Cappuccio

The Regina Winery was a company that had a big impact on the American Falabella of today. The Regina Winery (or Regina Grape Products Co) was owned by the Ellena brothers, John B and Frank and was one of the first to import Falabellas to the United States from the Falabella Ranch in Argentina.

It is documented that John Ellena had 12 Falabella horses imported in 1962 to his farm in California. Mr. Ellena decided that these tiny horses would be a great attraction for his Winery. He had six brought to the Regina Winery grounds in 1965 to pull the famous scaled down stagecoach which displayed the words "Regina Winery Stage Line, Buenos-Aires Argentina". They also occasionally used a buckboard type wagon with a four or six horse hitch. In keeping with the Winery atmosphere, Mr. Ellena had the six stalls made out of huge wine barrels with each horse's name above the door.

The Falabellas were advertised as "Miniature Lilliputian Horses" and also "Falabella Lilliputian Miniature Horses". They became a big attraction and continued to delight visitors until early in 1970. In 1970 the Regina Winery was merged with Heublein Inc, of Hartford, CT. The Theme Park atmosphere was not adopted by Heublin and horses and all other attractions were discontinued that year. Heublein remained on the site until the mid 80's and another wine company used it until 1992. It's now unused and in disrepair. Sadly, Mr. Ellena, the sole owner at the sale of the Winery, passed away the next year in 1971. In late 1971 Mr. Norman Fuller purchased the herd of 22 miniatures.

They were sent to Mr. Fuller's farm in Mira Loma, CA (see article regarding Mr Fuller's Falbella's) to be an attraction for his up-and-coming family recreational park to be known as "Running Springs Recreational Park". Unfortunately, Mr. Fuller's park never materialized. Mr. Fuller continued to breed his small herd and registered the majority of the herd in 1974 with AMHR and then a few years later with AMHA. (Although not confirmed, it's believed they may have been registered with the IMHR). Many of those horses can be found in today's American bred Falabellas.

When the twelve horses were originally imported, the Argentine pedigrees were not recorded and have not been found as of yet. Research has found the following horses are most probably the original imports: (10 horses are listed below, as two could not be identified - presumed died before registering or were geldings and never registered)

1014P Senor - Brown/white pinto - 30"
1015P Chianti - Black leopard appaloosa - 32" - IMHR 100014B
1019P Barberra - Solid black - 34"
1020P Angelico - White - 33"
1021P Pearlette - White - 34"
1023P Sherry - Chestnut with flaxen mane & tail - 34"
1024P Champagne - Dark chestnut, 2 front white socks, chestnut mane & tail - 34"
1025P Senorita - Dark chestnut, flaxen mane & tail - 33"
1026P Regina - Solid black - 33"
1027P Morsola - Solid black - 33"

The original six horse hitch consisted of Senor, Chianti, Regina, Sherry, Champagne and Seniorita. Other horses used in later years were Grenache, Burgundy and Barberra.

The horses of the Regina Winery had a large impact on the Falabella lines of today. Many pedigrees trace to these old lines. They played an important part in miniature horse history and there are still many pieces to the puzzle yet to find.


Front right horse: Sherry / Front left horse: Senor
Middle right horse: Champagne / Middle left horse: Chianti
Back right horse: Senorita / Back left horse: Regina
The large wine barrels in the background were the horse's stables


Front right horse: Chianti / Front left horse: Regina
Back right horse: Senorita / Back left horse: Champagne