The Virginia Horse Center Foundation, in partnership with the VHCF Equestriennes, is pleased to announce the 2013 Barn Tour, which will take place on Saturday, October 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Middlebrook and Staunton. The Barn Tour offers a unique chance to see the inside of our area’s most beautiful and competitive stables. The 2013 Tour includes six area properties and various horse breeds and disciplines.
Participants may tour the farms at their leisure and in any order, although organizers suggest participants begin at the Middlebrook General Store. The Middlebrook General Store, cooperatively owned and managed by community members, offers the option of purchasing delicious homemade boxed lunches for participants to enjoy at the picnic areas on several farms.
Trimble’s Mill Farm is the first suggested stop on the tour. Built in 1885, it is the subject of the book, See You in a Hundred Years, written by Logan Ward, the former owner of Trimble’s Mill. The 1910 bank barn houses rescued race horses and Connemara ponies. Participants can also visit North Mountain Outfitters, which rekindles the cowboy way of life by offering day or overnight trail rides in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This offers a firsthand look at horses and the chance to book your own unique wilderness adventure.
Grey Gables Farm, the next stop on the tour, spreads across 227 conserved acres and is the home of Polyface Farm cattle, the Mary Baldwin College Riding Club and Team, and a personalized riding instruction program. From there, the tour continues north to Cedar Creek Stables, a large riding facility that houses the therapeutic riding program, Ride with Pride, and unique Knabstrupper horses.
Coming down the home stretch, participants will stop by Meadow Walk Bees. Meadow Walk features a substantial bee yard, forest walk, Cabernet Franc trail vineyard, dog paddock and breathtaking pastures. As an added bonus, participants can also visit Bill Heizer Stables to watch demonstrations by a nationally recognized Saddlebred rider and trainer.
Participants can purchase tickets at the Virginia Horse Center, the Middlebrook General Store, Hamilton-Robbins in Lexington and at The Emporium in Staunton. Tickets can also be purchased online through a secure payment process at www.horsecenter.org . The pre-purchase prices for tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children. Barn Tour participants receive a map of the area, including demonstration information, descriptions of the farms, and other points of interest.
All funds raised will benefit the Virginia Horse Center’s Turn up the Lights campaign, aimed at upgrading the lighting in the Anderson Coliseum. By replacing the lighting fixtures with more energy-efficient options, the Virginia Horse Center can save over $30,000 annually in electricity costs. The Equestriennes, a dedicated group that supports the Virginia Horse Center, raised more than $4,000 from last year’s Barn Tour for the Lighting Campaign.