Tobi Taylor's Journal

News > Wednesday, June-06-2007

Mayo Clinic sells Brusally Ranch House to Developer

Brusally Ranch was one of several large Arabian horse farms in the Scottsdale, Arizona, area from the 1950s to the 1980s. The ranch's owner, Ed Tweed, did a great deal to make Scottsdale the Arabian horse capital of the country. He was a founding member and first president of the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona, and in 1955, the association put on the first Scottsdale All-Arabian Horse Show, held every February at WestWorld. Today, the Scottsdale Show contributes more than $50 million each year to the local economy.

In the 1960s, local breeders began going abroad to buy Arabians to improve the quality of their breeding stock, and Arabians became big business. By the 1970s, various farms held yearly auctions timed to coincide with the Scottsdale Show. I grew up in Phoenix and began attending the show, and the sales, in the mid-1970s. Each year, I'd tour the well-known farms in the area, like Brusally Ranch, Lasma Arabians, Karho Farms, Gainey Ranch, and Tom Chauncey Arabians. Those were the days when on one drive you could see such famous stallions as Bask, El Paso, Aladdinn, Naborr, Ferzon, Gai Parada, Orzel, and Zbrucz. Lasma, Karho, and Gainey are long gone, replaced by housing developments and office complexes; Chauncey's farm is under a car dealership. Over the years, the Scottsdale Show itself was held at different venues, and two of those locations -- at Paradise Park and on Bell Road -- no longer exist.

Now the only vestige of the heyday of Arabian horse in Scottsdale, the Brusally Ranch house, is threatened. The 6,000-square-foot house, built in the 1950s by Tweed, and the five acres on which it sits are all that remain of the 160 acres that comprised the ranch. Tweed's daughter donated the house to the Mayo Clinic in the mid-1990s to be used as a temporary home for those awaiting  organ transplants. Known as the Arizona Transplant House, it has served thousands of patients over the years. However, the Mayo Clinic needs a larger facility, and so it has sold the property to a developer.

I breed Arabians and half-Arabians with Brusally bloodlines, and I'm currently at work on a book about the ranch's imported Arabians. Through my research, I've discovered that the horses born on Tweed's ranch have descendants throughout the world that excel in a number of disciplines. I was interviewed for a recent article in the East Valley Tribune about the plight of the ranch, and I tried to make the point that Brusally isn't simply a name from the past: "Tweed’s importation of about two dozen Arabians from Poland in the 1960s put Scottsdale on the equestrian world’s map. From the 1960s to the 1980s, Scottsdale was basically the place to be for Arabian horses. Three generations on, we’re talking about thousands of horses that have the Brusally bloodline. These horses are so good that they’re sending some back to Arabia to be race horses.” (East Valley Tribune, May 9, 2007)

An Arabian owner who relocated to the Phoenix area last year asked me if I could give her a tour of the old-time Arabian ranches. I still haven't been able to bring myself to give the tour  -- there is so little left to see -- but I think we'd better visit Brusally before it's too late.



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