Historical Horse Country Opens Its Gates for Charity
Every aspect of the event has been planned with enthusiasm by the cadre of horse lovers planning the annual Sandhills Farm Tour.
"We have a wide range of horse disciplines and farms available to our patrons for 2009," said a spokesman for the tour, which benefits the Prancing Horse Therapeutic Riding Program.
Gina and Ken Brown have graciously opened their historic Southern Pines farm with 16 stalls, show ring, and series of paddocks for tour patrons to visit this year, as in years past.
They purchased the farm in 1988.
"It is nice to see the community enjoy the historic farm," says Brown, clearly proud of the restoration work that she and her husband have done to restore the barn to its original majestic splendor.
The flat topography and sandy footing contributed to the national reputation of the Sandhills as an ideal spot for training and riding young horses -- as well as seasoned competitors.
The white-pillared rotunda containing the living room was constructed in 1950 and is the site of food concessions.The pine-paneled living room has a parquet wood floor and contains a huge fireplace that serves as a focal point, while the horse stalls are just outside the aisle.
Old photographs adorn the walls, and cedar closets store hunting attire. The burgundy leather furniture is the ultimate in horse country dcor.
Visitors will relish the architectural detail found in this historic building, where demonstrations will be held.
The farm is currently a boarding facility and home to horses who participate in dressage, three-day eventing, show jumping and fox hunting.
Pappy Moss built the facility in 1949-1950 for the original owner, George Brewster, who lived in Pinehurst and New Jersey. Since they spent the day riding here, the lovely structure had every convenience including an apartment, four full baths, and even a pool table in the basement area.
The Browns converted one of the bathrooms into a Pullman kitchen.
Friendship Farm, also in Southern Pines, was aptly named due to Maureen Wurzel and Amy Bresky's long-time friendship that made this farm a reality.
They met in 1983 at a boarding stable and have remained close friends showing in the show hunters together, and later diversified into other equestrian disciplines and life interests. Both are amateur riders; Wurzel and her 14-year-old son Patrick (with support from nonriding husband, Joe) still ride in the hunt, and Bresky now focuses on dressage.
The farm was built in 1998 and purchased in 2002 after they visited and fell in love with Southern Pines.
The house, garage and barn are attached. The house, formerly a guest house, was the smallest part of the trio. The centrally- located barn was the first building to be renovated. Walls were removed so the horses can look out. Built-in shelves were created for grooming tools, and a stall became a grain room. Visitors will also see a small connecting tack room.
The garage is truss roof construction, and was re-engineered so the trusses could be removed for headroom.
A small addition on the first floor of the main house gave access to a new living space with two bedrooms, a sitting room and a bath.
An arena will feature a dressage demonstration by Elizabeth Hart and Rhonda Dretel. Sue Smithson will set up the arena.
The Prancing Horse Farm Tour will be held Sunday, Oct. 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tickets are $15 (in advance) and $20 on the day of the event (children under 12 are admitted free with an adult).
The N.C. State Equine Health Center, 6045 U.S. 1 North, (across from Hyland Hills) will be the staging area and place for guests to pick up their maps and for those wishing to purchase tickets on the day of the event.
Tickets and maps are also available at the tour barns.
Advance tickets are available at Southern Pines Feed and Supply, Cabin Branch Tack Shop, The Country Bookshop and The Clothes Horse, Southern Pines; Given Book Shop (Olmsted Village), and Poppy's (Pinehurst).
For further information, call 246-3202 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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