Local equestrian history abounds at FENCE Barn Tour

Published 6:04 pm Thursday, November 18, 2010

This years FENCE Holiday Barn Tour on Saturday, November 27, presented by Carolina Storage Solutions, will feature several local stables that figure in the Foothills long history of horse sport.

Among the seven barns on the tour this year is Long Shadows Farm, owned by Michael and Helen Atkins. Long Shadows in Campobello, the former training barn for three-day eventer Michael Pollard, occupies the site of the Blackwell farm, once 500 acres in size and a well-known stop on the carriage and cattle trail taking livestock to market.

For many years Blackwell ran a country store at the familys homestead where travelers could stop along the way to pick up supplies. Stonework from the original Blackwell home is incorporated into the present main house, while sweeping views of the Foothills and the Pacolet River Valley can be enjoyed from Long Shadows 14-stall barn. Visitors to Long Shadows during the barn tour will enjoy a demonstration of dressage and cross-country riding.

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Also on the tour this year is Terra Cotta Farm in Mill Spring, whose farmhouse with a view of White Oak Mountain rests on a foundation dating from the mid-19th century. Terra Cottas shed row barn, built in the early part of the last century with many subsequent additions, is a typical Tryon-area hunt box and is clad with wood siding cut from timber on the property.

Many local equestrians will remember Mollywood, a prominent center for horse sport for many years. Now renamed HulinnDalur and owned by Sara Lyter and Larry Greenspon, the farm has been undergoing restoration to house the owners Icelandic horses, a hardy and ancient breed purebred since the tenth century, famous for their endurance, double-sided manes and long tails. Many of Mollywoods original structures have been preserved, including the original 10-stall barn, now joined by a new 200-foot-long covered arena.

Also on this years tour is Born Free Farm, which occupies the site of the stables for the former Fairview Farms, an important training center for race horses during the last half of the 20th century. It was managed for many years by Tony Wallace, whose former office now serves as the main barns tack room and lounge. Many of Fairview Farms most famous race horses, hunters and show horses are buried on the hill behind the main barn.

Completing this years self-guided barn tour are Spiegel Farm in Campbello; Ring Farm in Mill Spring; and Still Creek Farm in Columbus, where visitors can observe a demonstration of aquatic therapy for injured horses. Lunch will be available for purchase during the tour. Tickets can be ordered online at www.fence.org or by calling 828-859-9021; they are also available at a number of local merchants.