The Bluegrass is often referred to as the "Horse Capital of the World." Is there something about the land, or is that yet another claim such as "World's Best Hamburger?"  The answer lies in the geologic and geographic history — suffice to say, the Bluegrass region has been at the epicenter of North American farmland since long before the horse industry became what it is today.

A sound horse requires strong, healthy bones in order to have a successful career — and nutritionists will agree that strong bones require calcium and phosphorus in the proper ratio. Thanks to the surrounding geologic conditions, the Bluegrass region has inherited the ideal 2:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio. The limestone that can be seen along our highways is a direct result of marine fossil remains (calcium) combining with the eroding mountains (phosphorus). As rain and surface water trickled through that water-soluble lime, the underground reservoirs became saturated with even more calcium and phosphorus. This water then returned to the grass and soil above, and through the hydrologic cycle (the process by which rain forms, and eventually returns to rain once more), the soil of the Bluegrass counties became the high-quality loam soil that nourished generations of Iroquois, Cherokee, and Hopewell Native Americans, the buffalo that used to roam these fields, and all that have followed in their footsteps.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the Bluegrass is a North American epicenter for both horses and agriculture. Farmers have raised tremendous crops of tobacco and grains here for years — not surprising, considering how well known Kentucky's bourbon industry is! If there are any doubts regarding the claim of "Horse Capital of the World," one need only peruse the history books. The fields of Silver Springs have produced, over the years, such horses as: Elusive Quality, Elusive City, Elusive Miss, Star of Paris, Harlan's Holiday, Noble's Promise — and that's just the tip of the iceberg. The neighboring pastures have produced a laundry list of notables: Animal Kingdom, Shackleford, Bernardini, Personal Ensign, Nijana, Princessnesian, Bubbling, Top Round, Dancealot, Endear, Preach, Face the Facts, Lamb Chop, Quick as Lightning, Jilbab, Full of Hope, Turkish Trousers, Region, King Pellinore, Wedding Party, Thatch, Glow, Prod, Proof, Effervescing, Lure, Private Account, Vanlandingham, Gold Fever, Posse, Blue Ensign, Dancing Spree, Sail to Rome, Sham, Swale, Savings, Singh, E Dubai… the list goes on.

As we discussed in the history of our Bluegrass region, sound horses require strong, healthy bones. However, much like human athletes, a horse is not complete without a sound, competitive mind.  It is the pursuit of developing both of these elements in ourhorses that led Steve Johnson to Paris, Kentucky to transform the original Silver Springs Farm into Silver Springs STUD.

Our mission is to develop bone and condition the mind. Our method is horse first, above all else. With every decision, we ask "Is this in the best interest of the horse?"  At the same time, we also ask "Is this in line with this particular owner's goals?"

For any success to be achieved, we must all be on the same team. Communication is key. Our management team is in constant communication — the managers out in the barns, our general manager, and our office team — information flows in all directions, so that owners should never have to ask "How is my horse doing?"

The development of strong bones is two-fold. Nutrition is one aspect, and as mentioned on the history tab, our horses' bones are strengthened by the 2:1 calcium to phosphorus ratio, thanks to the water-soluble limestone. Thanks to the hydrologic cycle, that ideal nutrient profile is found not only in the water, but also in the grasses that make up our fields. Our water system is fed by the springs that give name to our farm, with an abundance of dissolved limestone making our water super-saturated with calcium and phosphorus in that same 2:1 ratio. Therefore, with every sip of water, and every blade of grass our horses consume, they receive the exact nutritional profile they need to build strong bones.  Our bluegrass bedding is cut from the very same fields, and our forage is cut and bailed within mere miles.

Equally important in the growth of strong bones is the stress of exercise. With each stride up and down our undulating fields, our horses are strengthening their bones — continually adding density and strength, which ensures that they will be able to withstand the rigors of training and competition. While building that athletic foundation, our graduates are also developing and honing the spirit of competition that make up the Thoroughbred namesake. Even while in training, our horses spend well over twenty hours a day outside — running, competing with their classmates, and grazing on that nutrient rich Bluegrass.

We are proud to be at the epicenter of a region that has supplied the Thoroughbred industry with the highest caliber horses throughout history, and we're excited to continue that tradition with new owners as the industry moves ever onward.

Communication is a key ingredient for success. The size of a team has a dramatic effect on the quality of that communication. While large organizations hold power, lengthy chains of command can complicate the spread of information – something the small, efficient teams on family farms are easily able to overcome. With a simple management hierarchy, every member of the team is quickly brought up to speed.

Equally important in the production of a quality racehorse is the ability of the manager to possess an 'over-the-shoulder' view of his managers -- the 'hands on' style of leadership. Thanks to our modest size, our managers have an eye on each and every horse throughout the day, and our farm manager spends the majority of his time walking through the barns and meeting with the vets and farrier. Of our equine management team, 100% live on the farm – and well over three-quarters of our barn crew live within sight of the front gates.

Erik Johnson

Farm Manager

Cell: (859) 753-4779

Email: [email protected]

Destined from birth to be a farm manager, Erik was born and raised on the original Margaux Stud. His farm career began during high school, and he continued working with the horse crew during his undergrad work at Transylvania University, graduating with a BA in Business Management. During the following six years, he travelled and worked in New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, England, and Dubai – both on his own and as a student and graduate of Darley Flying Start – before bringing a world's worth of equine management skills to lead the team here in Kentucky at Silver Springs.

Steve Johnson


Cell: (859) 621-6886

Email: [email protected]stud.com

Steve is an experienced horseman, begun in Maryland in 1971 and enriched with his time at Spendthrift in '75. Best known for his time spent as general manager of Margaux Stud from its onset in 1984 up through his acquisition of Silver Springs Stud in 2014, he also served as the National Forage Spokesperson ('93), president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club ('01), and director of the Kentucky Equine Management Internship Program. He lectures frequently about farm and equine management on the farm as well as in educational and professional settings.

Michele Holbrook

Office Manager

Email: [email protected]

Growing up in Peru, Indiana, Michele showed her Appaloosas and Quarter Horses in 4-H in both Horse and Pony divisions. Following the horse industry to Kentucky, she earned an Associate of Arts degree in Equine Farm Management at Midway College. A part of Steve's team at Margaux since 1997, Michele still enjoys being in the barns and working the sales. Here at Silver Springs, she oversees administration, accounts receivable, billing, booking mares, registration and nominations.

Jeannie Agee

Broodmare Manager

Not a Kentucky native, Jeannie began her Bluegrass life at Midway College, graduating in 2007 with a BA in Equine Management and an AA in Business Administration, with a senior internship project at Foxborough Farm. During her college career, she began working for Steve at Margaux Farm in 2004, and has continued working for him ever since. Jeannie runs the Brentsville Division, overseeing the broodmares, foals, and weanlings.

Luis Beltran

Ag Manager

Hailing from Mexico City, Luis got his start in management while working with two different local restaurants in the Cynthiana and Mount Sterling areas of the Bluegrass. After briefly pursuing a career in construction, Luis came to join our small but experienced team, where he quickly rose to lead our maintenance crew. “Ag Manager” is the briefest description for what Luis does for us, but without him our entire operation would probably soon grind to a halt. Vigilantly patrolling our shaded laneways and sprawling fields, he is the reason the farm continues to look as good as it does.

Kevin Noltemeyer

Farm Trainer

Cell: (502)648-1690

Email: [email protected]

Kevin Noltemeyer is a Louisville, Kentucky native. Growing up, he spent time with his father going to Churchill Downs falling in love with racing and reading the Racing Form. Upon graduating high school, Kevin attended Indiana University Southeast while working on the backside at Churchill Downs for Paul McGee.  Under Paul, he had the chance to travel to Illinois and Pennsylvania to run horses.  In Kevin’s six years on the track, he’s lived and worked on both coasts under notable trainers such as Todd Pletcher, Dallas Stewart, Barry Abrams and Eoin Harty.  In 2008, while working for Dallas Stewart, he completed his Trainers test and began his own stable.  Wanting to expand his knowledge of the industry, in 2012 Kevin moved to Lexington to prep yearlings and work the sales for Lane’s End. A short while later, Steve Johnson gave him the opportunity to oversee the training and breaking program at Margaux Farm. With Steve leaving Margaux, Kevin took the private training position at Dixiana Farm before rejoining Steve at Silver Springs Stud. He has worked with high class horses such as: Well Armed, Colonel John, Victors Cry, Anthonys Cross, Solid Appeal, Avanzare, Grand Arch, Divisidero, Macho Again and Breaking Lucky. He and his wife Liz Crow live in Lexington, Kentucky.