When Amanda Purdin Standish began riding horses as an 8-year-old, her parents, Suzanne Turner and Scott Purdin, tried to talk her out of it.
“We thought it was just a passing fancy and really tried everything we could to discourage her,” says Turner. “We didn’t know anything about horses except that they’re huge, expensive and a bit scary.”
The Purdins know a little something about horses now. They breed pedigree Arabians at Boisvert Farm, which spreads over 131 picturesque acres in West Baton Rouge Parish. Standish, meanwhile, has been nationally recognized and even featured on the cover of Arabian Horse Times for her expertise in riding, showing and breeding.
“I’ve always loved horses, particularly Arabians, “ says Standish, now 25, who, with her husband Rhein Standish, runs Boisvert Farm and oversees the breeding operation. “There’s nothing like it.”
Turner has come to the same conclusion, despite her initial reluctance to embrace the equine experience. Her love of the animals and all aspects of riding, showing, and breeding evolved gradually over the years, as Standish grew into an ever more experienced rider. Turner recalls being the ultimate “horse mom,” traveling with Standish to shows and supporting her only child in what was clearly more passion than pastime.
“When you only have one child and there’s nothing else in the world that makes her happy, that’s what you do,” Turner says.
The family began breeding Arabians at Boisvert in the early 2000s. They had acquired the property in Erwinville, about 30 minutes from Baton Rouge, a decade or so earlier, because Turner, a landscape architect, fell in love with the Creole cottage on the site and Purdin was looking for a place to locate his budding Koi breeding operation. As Standish’s experience with horses increased, Purdin became intrigued with breeding Arabians as well as fish. He teamed up with Standish’s trainer, Joel Gangi, himself an expert in breeding and training Arabians, and moved Gangi’s horses from Prairieville to Boisvert. The farm has grown steadily ever since.
Today, Amanda and Rhein Standish run Boisvert with Gangi. At times, they have more than 100 horses on the site. Currently, they have about 60—beautiful, highly coveted animals that are carefully bred and, as a result, get nods from Arabian experts around the country. Boisvert stallions routinely win or place in national championships, and earn rave reviews from the equine trade pubs.
But the Purdin and Standish families don’t do it for the accolades. They do it because they love it and all the people they have met through it.
“You travel around because of it and end up meeting all the same people,” says Turner. “It really becomes a community of friends.”
It has become a passion for the entire family—including Rhein Standish, who married Amanda last year after meeting her several years earlier at various Arabian events. For the Purdin and Standish families, horses have brought them together and kept them together over the years.
“It really became all-consuming for the whole family,” Turner says. “I love it. There is nothing more exciting.”