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Pura Vida Farms is based in the beautiful rolling hills of Bahama, North Carolina. Inspired by challenging life events and several visits to beautiful Costa Rica, the name “Pura Vida” was chosen for our facility. Literally meaning “Pure Life”, Pura Vida also describes an easygoing lifestyle of appreciating each day, since life is short.


Ellen & Jerry


Jerry Waddle and Ellen Ziemer were classmates at the Ohio State Veterinary School, Class of 1981, and married in 1980.  Ellen completed an internship and residency in large animal medicine at the UC Davis College of Veterinary Medicine, and Jerry completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, while Ellen worked at the New Bolton Center.  Erica was born in 1984, Mark in 1988 and Bryan was adopted from Guatemala as a 6 year old in 2002. Jerry and Ellen continued with veterinary careers, raising a family, and breeding, raising and riding horses.

We moved to North Carolina to be close to our aging parents. Our North Carolina farm gradually expanded to 150 acres, with a focus on horses and breeding.  We have also raised a variety of livestock through the years.

Ellen’s horse passion never left her.  Ellen bred her first horses as a teenager in Virginia, then started breeding horses again in North Carolina after veterinary school and post doctoral education.  Ellen was awarded the USDF breeder of distinction award at the Gold level in 2021.  Ellen’s riding has been continual and eclectic, including saddle seat, western pleasure, competitive trail rides, polo, combined training (eventing) and dressage. Ellen’s goal is to progress through the levels in dressage with her schoolmaster pony, promote and market homebred horses and ponies, and support developing riders.

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