Established in 1950.
Founded by Geraldine and Frank Desiderio in 1950 and continued by their daughter Dana in 2005, Desiderio Ltd. has offered equine education, show coaching and other services for over 60 years in the equine heartland of the Garden State.
Dana Desiderio is a highly acclaimed equine instructor. Members of Team Desiderio place at the top at regional and national shows. Dana's track record speaks volumes of an extraordinarily gifted teacher.
To help handle the growing demand, Lizzy Knight was hand-selected to join Desiderio, Ltd. She is an exceptional rider and trainer with a very versatile background. Her talent and passion are exemplary.
Always eager to be involved with the horses, Brittany Desiderio is the fourth generation. She has long since made her name as an exceptionally accomplished rider with numerous National Championships to show.
At Desiderio, Ltd., our main goal is to provide our clients with the highest quality training available.
A fairy tale story...
Dana's parents met in 1935 when Frank, age 5, met Gerri, age 3, at her parents' farm in West Orange, New Jersey. Frank's father, who was passionate about horses, leased stalls for his Tennessee Walking Horses from Gerri's parents. Their relationship grew over time as they shared their mutual love for horses. Gerri loved barrel racing and other equine sporting contests. In 1951 right before Frank left to serve our country in the Korean War the young couple wed. In 1968 the couple moved to Bernardsville, New Jersey and started breeding and training Saddlebred Horses. In 1972 the couple sold their family home in Bernardsville and purchased the property in Chester, New Jersey from which Desiderio, Ltd. conducted its business. Before deciding to focus exclusively on the equine business, Frank was an important executive in the very successful family recycling business.
The purebred Arabian Petraza was acquired by Geraldine Desiderio in 1983. Foaled in 1979 Petraza soon proved an exceptionally succesful broodmare, producing 14 foals over a span of 18 years (1983-2001). Of these, no less than 13 became champions. Six won national titles.
Sadly, Gerri passed away in June of 2009 and Frank in June of 2013, but their legacy lives on through Dana and Brittany.
Frank & Gerri
...from one generation...
Dana Desiderio was destined from birth to become a major player in the world of horses. Dana started riding at the age of two and broke her first horse at six. She trained with internationally acclaimed trainers, including Gene LaCroix who owned and operated the famed Lasma Arabians in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dana began to travel with her mother to horseshows when school was out. At home she would work for the family business, managing the breeding program and take part in training activities. By 18 she was a professional trainer and by 25 a certified horseshow judge. She worked at Desiderio Ltd. for more than 20 years before assuming sole management in 2005.
Despite the busy schedule of a top-performing equine facility and riding team Dana is active in the community and in local Government. After many years of both elected and appointed community service (including terms on the Township School and Planning Boards and County Planning Board), she was elected Committeewoman in 2010 and in January 2012 was Township Mayor. She is now Mayor for 2021.
In addition to Brittany, Dana has two sons, Chase and Austin. Chase is currently in his Firstie (senior) year at West Point (United States Military Academy) and Austin is a sophomore at the University of South Florida.
...to the next...
Brittany Desiderio, like her mother, has horses in her blood. Brittany began riding at the age of two and was showing at nationals by the age of six. Brittany is a multi-national champion, who earned her first national championship title at the age of 11. Brittany is a very versatile rider and has earned the national championship roses in everything from hunter pleasure and hunter jumper to western pleasure and western sidesaddle.
Brittany has inherited her love of horses from her grandparents and mother. She was her grandfather's special grandchild. She gave him his nickname when she was a toddler. He wanted to be called "Big Frank," but all that she could say was "Bobo." This became the name used by everyone. Brittany and Bobo had a unique bond. She, alone, among all the children and grandchildren, stayed with and helped care for him during the several health problems he had to face in his last years. Her compassion and dedication are exemplary.
A graduate from Rutgers University, Brittany splits her time between her job in Manhattan and riding her personal horses at Desiderio, Ltd.
Hailing from North Vancouver, BC, Canada, Lizzy Knight was hand-selected to join Desiderio, Ltd. Her extensive eventing experience ensures that all of her riders are well-rounded. Using dressage as a basis for her flatwork, her students not only can learn to jump, but also how to execute their flatwork flawlessly. She enjoys teaching all levels of riders, and prides herself on training them reach their fullest potential.
Lizzy's passion for horses began at the age of eight. She excelled quickly and got her first client sales horse when she was just fourteen years old. Her talent was showcased when she trained her mare from a green four-year-old up to both the FEI levels CCI2*-L and CCI2*-S, landing herself in the top 4 year over year. She also took a green three year old and trained her up to the 2020 National Champion title at the Dressage Pony Cup.
Lizzy is looking forward to growing the program at Desiderio, Ltd. and helping more riders and horses excel, whether they are just starting out or with aspirations for the Grand Prix.
The Petraza Story
The story about Petraza brings fairy tales like “The Ugly Duckling” or “Cinderella” to mind. She was bred on an Ohio farm from a rather inconspicuous mare Netraza, that had been left behind as part of a “starter kit”, when Bill and Betty Zekan of Hickory Lane Farms bought the property from Patterson Arabians, a succesful breeder of Polish Arabians. Petraza saw the light of day in 1979 after the Zekans bred Netraza with the purebred Pompej+, another locally owned product of the Pattersons. When this sire placed Top Ten in US and Canadian Nationals in the early 1980s, it was of course an accomplishment in itself, but soon enough he would rather be seen as a harbinger of what was to come from his offspring Petraza, the broodmare.
Petraza was acquired when four years old by Gerri in 1983. How this came about is a story within the story. Petraza, which already as a two-year old had been transferred with her dam to a new owner, was offered for sale on an auction, and whether it was the shared Polish roots or Gerri's sure sense of a diamond in the rough (or both), bid she did, no matter what.
Already seated on a flight, ready for taxiing to the runway, she asked husbond Frank for small change to walk back through the gate and place an important phone call. When she came back, in Frank Desiderio’s words, she looked like the cat having just swallowed the canary. Petraza was hers.
At the Desiderio farm Petraza produced a total of 14 foals over a span of 18 years, starting with the mare Music Inthe Air sired by Wisdom and foaled in 1983. Wisdom would sire six more foals with Petraza, other stallions were Strike, Allience+// and Afire Bey V. An amazing 13 offsprings would become champions and 6 win national titles. Stipulates Arlene Magid-Willams about Petraza, in an article in the Arabian Horse Times in 2010 on which this story is partly based: “If she had been included in the Aristocrats list in Arabian Horse World, she would rank second to TW Forteyna and Kaiynda Special, who are tied for top all time leading broodmare with 14 champions apiece”. Many of the offsprings were shown by Desiderio Ltd. and became part of the company's prestigious trademark.
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