Middleburg’s top private stables open over Memorial Day weekend to support local charities.
By Vicky Moon
A hot shower, automatic water fountains and a soft bed at night – what more could a horse ask for? Just ask the owners of some of Middleburg’s splendid stables.
One such place is “Foosaner Farm,” owned by Robert Foosaner, a retired Nextel executive. Designed by farm and stable architect John Blackburn of Washington, its primary purpose is to house ponies and horses for daughter Nellie Foosaner. She began as a horse show and Grand Prix jumping rider and is now a second year law student at George Washington University.
Horses will always be a way of life here and the flexible design of the barn, currently configured for six stalls while Nellie focuses on her studies, can easily be altered to accommodate ten. Overlooking the barn and arena is the stone residence and when Bob Foosaner is not out walking the property, he can be found at the Middleburg Tennis Club, where he currently serves as president, or at the Hill School, where he is on the board of trustees.
Carol and Landon Butler’s barn at “Gap Run Farm” is a departure from the traditional Middleburg style. Mr. Butler served as deputy to the chief of staff in the Carter administration and is founder and chairman of the Landon Butler & Company investment firm. The stable and main residence were designed by Jack Diamond of Toronto to be connected around a landscaped entry courtyard.
As long-time owners of Quarter Horses and masters of the competitive discipline known as “cutting,” the Butlers’ horses are competitively judged on their ability to control cows. Their horses live in the lap of luxury in a spacious light-filled stable with roomy stalls, ceiling fans and rubberized flooring.
“Orange Hill” dates back to the early 1800s and has been host to numerous hunt meets and parties and has produced top quality Virginia-bred horses for over a century.
The farm was recently purchased by Bryce Lingo, who works in his family’s real estate business in Delaware during the week and comes to ride in the country on weekends. “Orange Hill” is also home to trainer Snowden Clarke, who is in charge of training, boarding and lessons. After several years on the West coast, he has returned to the countryside he loves so much.
The modernized, updated 15-stall barn with indoor ring was built in the 1930s and, while Clarke’s main focus is on horsemanship, he can’t help himself when it comes to pets. So, “Orange Hill” now includes breeding and showing Cashmere goats, Serama chickens and Call ducks, as well as tending to Simon, a 27-pound rabbit.
Organized by the members of Trinity Episcopal Church in Upperville, these three stables and ten others are part of the 56th edition of the Hunt Country Stable Tour on Memorial Day weekend from Saturday, May 23 athrough Sunday,May 24. Blackburn will guide visitors around “Foosaner Farm,” there will be roping demonstrations at “Gap Run” and Clarke will ride his horses and show off the exotic pets at “Orange Hill.” Proceeds benefit S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat) in Washington D.C., the Churches of Upperville Outreach, Fauquier Habitat for Humanity, the Laurel Center and Helping Haitian Angels.
Read the article below, from the May 2015 issue.