Views from PAC: What is a green horse, really?

Published 8:39 am Friday, February 18, 2011

We need lots of green horses in our area. I don’t mean young or untrained horses, I mean horses that live “green” in open pastures where they can move around and live healthfully. In turn, horse farms can gives humans enough open space to encourage clean air and water.
“Saving Our Horse Country” is an upcoming horse farm conservation forum that my organization, The Pacolet Area Conservancy (PAC), is presenting on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 27, at the newly renovated Tryon Depot. We at PAC think it’s really important for people to step up now and protect the horse farms and land surrounding them before our farms are eaten up by encroaching development.
The forum has some show and tell. We’ll hear about how Northern Virginia’s key players not only saved their vast horse country, but doubled their property values in the process! We can follow Northern Virginia’s lead to get a start on doing our albeit smaller version of protection and doing it together as an equestrian community movement.
If you are not a horse person, you may wonder why PAC is spending time on horse farm conservation. It’s like this: horse farms represent a powerful amount of greenspace in our area. If you start to link them together, we come out with huge wildlife corridors, protected water resources, and agricultural lands. Not to mention that conserving horse farms supports a rural industry that contributes mightily to our community’s economic health.
Some folks may come to the forum out of curiosity to see where their farm is situated on the “Horse Country Green Map” which PAC has prepared. This map shows what’s already permanently protected, and then a futuristic overlay of the huge “green” impact if lots of horse people get together to conserve additional farms.
You don’t have to own a horse farm to come to the forum. If you’ve ever considered preserving your land, come see what conservation is all about. We like to say that it’s like making a will for your land. You decide what you want to have happen to your land in the future. Now is also a great time– through the end of 2011–to apply for enhanced federal conservation tax benefits.
Please just come to the forum. We don’t care if it’s just for the refreshments or great door prizes like a Block House Steeplechase parking space donated by the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club, a doggie stay at Dogwood Farm Kennels, or a gift certificate to Little Mountain Farm Supply. Let us introduce you to what PAC is doing to protect and conserve the area’s natural resources. It’s our life… and yours.
– Sally Walker