When Kaitlyn Keller got the call to manage Racy Casanova, she didn’t expect the opportunity to lead beyond the regal grey stud and carry her to nationwide connections, expanded opportunities and eventually her own company.
Keller lives and breathes the horse industry, her office is a tractor cab and her favorite kind of business meetings usually happen on the breeding end of a mare. After years of experience training breeding racehorses, Racy Casanova represented an opportunity to take a monumental step forward.
“This is a business that I have been crazy blessed in,” Keller said. “It was a side of the business I had always wanted to be involved in and I was given the opportunity out of the blue to jump in.”
Owned by Oregon-based Kim Paulsen, Racy Casanova is a 6-year-old, Corona Cartel bred quarter horse stud currently standing at Iowa State University. Keller manages the stud’s breeding activities remotely from Burlington, Kansas, while working with Iowa State faculty and students to give him the best environment.
“Racy is a dream horse to manage,” Keller said. “He has so much personality and with his pen located right in the center of the school he definitely takes on the persona of big man on campus.”
Keller and Paulsen chose to place Racy Casanova in Iowa to give him the best opportunity and care possible, a decision that has resulted in earning the title for the top racing stud in the state.
“Racy is just a complete package of a stallion,” Keller said. “We’ve crossed him on barrel-bred mares, on cow-bred mares and his ability to pass on smart, athletic babies is what helps him to stand out.”
A million dollar futurity qualifier with a 101 speed index, Racy Casanova has the breeding and confirmation to be more than just a great race stud, and Keller is hoping his progeny begin to show their full potential in the coming months.
“This year is incredibly exciting but also a hurry-up-and-wait season,” Keller said. “Now is when we know the babies are gorgeous but it’s time to get them into trainers’ hands and see their full potential on the track next year.”
Horses are simply in Keller’s blood and the opportunity to be involved in the industry day-to-day is as rewarding as the winning moments on the track or in the arena. The encompassing love for horses is something she said is common industry-wide.
“Seeing your horse that you’ve raised come across the finish line, even if it’s not winning — there’s nothing like it and that’s what we live for,” Keller said. “I don’t think many people realize how much loves goes into the horse racing industry.”
Raising healthy, quality horses requires more than just great breeding and that’s where Keller’s company — KSX Performance — fits seamlessly into her breeding and training endeavors. KSX — named after Kaitlyn and her daughters, Sabra and Xollie — focuses on supplements to support immune health and combat scours for a variety of species starting with equine in January of 2018.
“The difference in KSX products and other products on the market is we’re a complete product with probiotics, vitamins, minerals, an energy source and specific proteins to provide immunity for the toughest bacteria on the planet,” Keller said. “It’s an all-in-one product that not only prevents health problems later on but it also can help support the system to treat current health problems.”
Keller began using the products when she was struggling with scouring foals, and then realized the technology could be applied to a wide variety of species from cattle to goats.
“We use microencapsulation, which research is showing is a gigantic step forward, because it keeps enzymes from losing their effectiveness in the tube or being killed by stomach acid,” Keller said. “They’re actually making it to the part of the digestive system before they open up and go to work.”
KSX Performance has become a word-of-mouth wonder so quickly that Keller can hardly keep the products in stock — a success she owes to the technology developed by none other than Racy Casanova’s owner Kim Paulsen.
“Everything changed for me in that one phone call,” Keller said. “I can’t believe the number of opportunities that Racy has brought into my life but I know I am incredibly blessed with how it worked out.”
The desire to breed and train great horses has been something Keller has carried with her from the moment she saw her first horse, but her unexpected passion has shown in her new business venture.
“I get calls every day from people who have calves with scours or who need to practice better herd health, and I’m able to send them products that actually work and are all natural,” Keller said. “I think the whole reason I love the business is because I get to help people.”