Continuing on with the tour!
Takora Farm is a private facility, with two barns, the one above, and another stone one, but bigger with a center stall block with the aisles on the outside, and a huge apartment above it. The owners ride and train their own field and show hunters, but there are two trainers based out of there.
Heather Wright LoCascio owns Longwood Rehabilitation and Stables, a full service rehabilitation and boarding facility. She has successfully rehabilitated horses with suspensory tears, fractures, severe wounds, and eye issues. She’s also a super nice lady, and Dave and I (mainly social butterfly Dave) spent a while talking to her. Unfortunately, this was during the demonstration ride, so perhaps not the best timing. There was a brief, hilarious, “Heather, come here for a minute,” and then she never returned to us. Womp womp.
The other trainer is Tiffany Catledge, who runs as Allforit Farm. She specializes in starting young sport horses for multiple disciplines. I knew of her as an eventing trainer, but for the demonstration ride, she brought out two thoroughbreds who are going to Upperville in a few weeks for some hunter classes. They were so amazing gorgeous, I think anyone who saw them would forever want a thoroughbred.
The Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE) Center was established in 1949, covers 420 acres, and is home to Virginia Tech’s internationally regarded equine research and education programs.
Back in the stone ages when I was a teenager, the MARE center had a breeding program with about 40 foals a year, and every year they would auction off all the babies. All the babies had a VT branded on their necks so they would always be recognizable. I knew a lady who had one of these horses, and one time I attended the auction to check it out. At the time, they were all thoroughbred babies, and they sold for thousands, which seemed crazy to me as a teenager. Auctions are supposed to be cheap!
I watched them for a few years, and their breeding changing to warmblood breeding, reflecting the current breeding trends. So when we visited, I was expecting lots of foals around. Not the case – they do not do that anymore.
They are now nutrition based research, although they have a few babies a year, so the students get experience caring for pregnant mares and foals. I was a little disappointed not to be in foal heaven, but that’s okay, nutrition research is very important.
They are selling off last years foals, now yearlings. Two colts and a filly, private sale, information available to interested parties.
Unrelated to the horses, they had an orphaned lamb, rejected by her mother at birth, raised by some teenage boys. The little lamb loves men.
Now Dave wants a lamb.
The original property is basically exactly what Virginia horse country is about. Look up Virginia Horse Country, and this is the definition.
What was actually part of the tour, was this enormous barn and indoor.
This was by far my favorite stop. This barn is so gorgeous!! I can’t get over how beautiful it is.
Sloane Cole bases her business, Spring Ledge LLC, here. She competes in major Grand Prix competitions all over the U.S., and trains horses and students for hunter, jumper, and equitation ring.
Salamander Resort and Spa
The tour focused on the Equestrian Center at Salamander Resort and Spa. The facilities include a 22 stall barn, a huge outdoor, and miles of trails. When we showed up, they were having a polo demonstration.
Turns out, polo is really fun to watch. It could have just been because this was a demo, and the players knew the commentator, but there was lots of funny banter back and forth as both teams raced up and down the arena.
My camera ran out of batteries at this point, so I was reduced to using my phone.
Everything about this barn is huge. The stalls are huge, the aisles are huge. They also had a huge carriage, just to have more huge things I’m sure.
Also, a huge horse.
We walked up towards the main building, but it seemed much too fancy for us, and we turned back around.
We ran out of time to see anymore of the farms. This tour really requires a full day to do. Next year, we will plan to start first thing in the morning!