Did old horse discover fountain of youth?

Stallion has been guzzling Mt. Dew most of his life


By Scott Thoma


Budweiser has its Clydesdales to promote its beverage. And if Mountain Dew needs a promotional boost, it has RF Rambo waiting in his stall for a chance at showbiz.


Jaime Liestman serves RF Rambo his favorite beverage, a cold Mt. Dew. Photo by Scott Thoma

Rambo has been slamming down Mountain Dews for the better part of 30 years now. Maybe the sugary beverage is the stallion’s fountain of youth. After all, Rambo is 35 years old; that’s 122.5 in horse years based on the 3.5 year human-to-horse ratio.


The average life expectancy of an Arabian type Stallion such as Rambo is approximately 25 years.


“Two different veterinarians told us to just keep doing what we’re doing,” said Jaime Liestman, when asked what the vets say about Rambo’s health amid the Mountain Dew addiction.


Jaime owns and operates a farm with her mother, Jean Liestman, four miles north of Litchfield. They breed, train and board horses at their place. Currently, they have 40 horses on the farm.


Although it’s obvious both mother and daughter have an extreme fondness for all the horses and numerous cats on the farm, it’s easy to see that Rambo is their favorite.


“He’s one of a kind,” Jean said. “We’ve had him since he was born. We are grateful for every day we get with Rambo.”


Rambo is a Homozygous Bay Tobiano Pinto. Homozygous means that a horse has two copies of the same trait in its genetic makeup. Tobiano is a spotted color pattern commonly seen in pinto horses, produced by a dominant gene. The significance of Rambo being homozygous for the tobiano gene is that he can sire only spotted foals.


“He has a marvelous disposition,” Jaime said about Rambo. “His personal offspring are a trainer’s dream. People want his offspring because they know they will have a very special horse that can be easily trained.”


Rambo was born in Paynesville in April of 1985. Shortly after, the Liestmans moved to Litchfield.


Rambo, who is 13.3 hands high, or 55 inches, isn’t just a soda-guzzling horse. He is a National Champion in Halter & Color, has earned numerous Year End High Point awards in Halter & Performance at the state and national level, has garnered 42 Grand Championships in Halter, and was awarded “Sire of the Year” by the Minnesota Pinto Horse Association.


RF Rambo, Reflection Farm’s senior stallion, with Jaime Liestman up. Contributed photo

Rambo’s Mt. Dew addiction began about 30 years ago when he was at a horse show in Howard Lake.


“We were sitting in the grass and eating chicken for lunch,” Jaime recalled. “Rambo was in his stall and he enjoyed part of the chicken dinner, too. He had water available to drink, but seemed intrigued by what we were drinking. So we gave him a Mountain Dew and he really seemed to like it.”


Initially, Rambo would be offered other soft drinks, but developed a taste only for Mt. Dew and won’t drink any other brand of pop now.


“Over the last 10 years or so, he’s become fussy how it’s served now,” Jaime laughed. “It has to be cold and it can’t be flat.”


Rambo drinks fresh water every day, but he also gets a can or bottle of Mountain Dew a couple times a month or if he seems to need a boost.


Just a few yards from his stall sits a refrigerator that houses Rambo’s favorite soft drink. And he recognizes when a can is being cracked open because he know what will soon be coming his way.


Drinking Mountain Dew and winning awards aren’t Rambo’s only exploits. The stallion has sired 375 foals.


The farm currently houses 15 of Rambo’s offspring and great offspring, plus one great-great offspring, although none of them have developed the fondness for Mt. Dew or any other carbonated beverage like their sire has.


“His son, Mordecai, is working on it and does drink some Dew,” Jaime revealed, “ but is not as proficient at drinking from a can as Rambo. He learned by watching Rambo when he lived in the stall next to him.”


Rambo has also sired several World Champions.


Although Rambo isn’t named for the movie starring Sylvester Stallone, as many visitors to the farm figure. Rather, his name is a derivation of his Dam, Ramblin’ Tabitha, and Sire, Choteau.


But because so many others bring up the movie title when they hear Rambo’s name, and since the film debuted the year RF Rambo was born, the Liestman gals began naming many of the other horses at the farm after movies that came out the same year that particular horse was born.


Jaime Liestman, left, and her mother, Jean Liestman, pose with RF Rambo, the senior stallion at the Reflection Farm. Contributed photo

The following horses currently at Reflection Farm named after movies are: RF Alexander The Great, RF Alita, RF Black Swan, RF Cross My Heart, RF Delta Dawn, RF Dollywood, RF Epic, RF I Saw The Light, RF Jerry McGuire, RF Jumanji, RF Just Like Heaven, RF Make Your Move, RF Mona Lisa Smile, RF Mortdecai, RF Pitch Perfect, RF Red Dawn, and RF The Ultimate Gift. Note: The RF is front of each horse’s official name is to show that it is from Reflection Farm, the name of their farm.


The horses at the farm are pampered, too. Jaime and Jean treat each one as if it were their own children. Even though the majority of the horses they board are owned by others, they have missed many family events and functions, sleep, meals and vacations to make sure the horses are well taken care of.


That’s one of the main reasons why Rambo has lived such a long and healthy life.


“Each morning the stalled horses have their water pail dumped and are given fresh water,” said Jaime, explaining just one of the many ways they horses are cared for. “Not only do they enjoy drinking the fresh water, but this allows us to learn how much your horse normally consumes and this is one of the things that indicates if a horse isn’t feeling well.”


The Liestmans sent a letter to the Mountain Dew company about Rambo’s fondness for their product. Half-expecting an inspiring letter of response and possibly some Mountain Dew for Rambo, the Liestmans instead received only a t-shirt and baseball cap bearing the Moutain Dew logo.


The modest gifts didn’t seem to leave a bitter taste in Rambo’s mouth, though. He continues to enjoy his favorite beverage as much as always.


This is one senior citizen who has captured the hearts of those around him.

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