Friday, September 9, 2011


Middleburg is home to some of the finest horse country found anywhere in the world. I had the pleasure of visiting my best friend there a couple of weeks ago. All those rolling green hills framed by the impressive backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains are so beautiful.

Low stone walls gracefully wind through pristine fields that stretch to the horizon.

Picturesque farms provide tranquil settings for some of the finest horses in the country.
There are so many beautiful farms in the Middleburg area.

My friend, Jenn Tirrell, trains out of Locochee (pronounced like "Locust Shade"). It doesn't get much nicer than this!

We drove around the area and passed the famous show grounds of the Upperville Colt and Horse Show, the oldest horse show in the United States, first held in 1853. The show takes place beneath the oaks at Grafton Farm, just a few minutes from downtown Middleburg.

The bronze War Horse by Tessa Pullan memorializes the 1.5 million horses and mules who died of injuries or disease or were wounded in both the Confederate and Union Armies during the Civil War, located at the National Sporting Library and Museum, Middleburg.

Paul Mellon's Rokeby Stables, home of some of the finest race horses in the world. Rokeby's 4,000 or so acres was established in the 1940s by Mellon who purchased his first racehorse in 1933.  The stone fences that are lined and topped with timbers are a signature of Rokeby.  The estate even had its own private airstrip.  Mellon passed away in 1999.  Mellon is believed to be the only owner to capture the Kentucky Derby (Sea Hero '93), Epsom Derby (Mill Reef '71) and Prix de l'Arch de Triomphe (also Mill Reef '71).  A statue of Mill Reef stands in the center of the courtyard of the broodmare barns.  Rokeby bred Key to the Mint, Quadrangle, Arts and Letters and Fort Marcy, who became back to back Horse of the Year winners in '69 and '70. 
Heronwood Farm was an outstanding Thoroughbred breeding operation for over 15 years. The farm ecompasses nearly one square mile of pristine rolling countryside. Heronwood now boards horses, has a successful polo team and is home to a colorful herd of Haucaya Alpacas

Newstead Farm owned by Bertram and Diana Firestone. The stable has been completely restored and now boasts 62 stalls. The couple has been breeding and racing Thoroughbreds throughout the U.S. and Europe for 30 years. They've added show horse training facilities for their top level hunters and jumpers.

Monahan Katie Inc Stable / Plain Bay

Llangollen Estate stable

Canaan Ranch at Bolinvar

Rocana Farm

Stonleigh Farm, training base for show jumping Olympic gold medalist Joe Fargis
the most beautful indoor

Hickory Tree Farm - In the early 1920’s, the owner of Hickory Tree Stables, well known horseman William Ziegler, Jr., heir to the Royal Baking Powder fortune, hired wellknown architect William Lawrence Bottomley to design the Georgian style barns, outbuildings, and training track. Mr. Ziegler’s race horse stable operation was very successful, as was the subsequent farms owner, the well-known sportswoman Eleanor Sears of Boston.

The historic town of Middlburg is just as charming and beautiful as the gorgeous farms that surround it.


Anonymous said...

Not only am I bummed that you were here and I didn't get to meet you, I am having a lesson with Jenn this Saturday! Small world, my dear. Small world indeed.

Five O'Clock Somewhere said...

Unbelievably small world! You will love Jenn! She has an amazing way with horses.

I will hopefully be back to lovely Middleburg for a longer visit next time and we will for sure meet up.

Anonymous said...

I have heard nothing but great things about her so I am really, really excited.

samihob said...

Great blog - why not come and visit where you can post your blog for other Equine Bloggers to follow!

John Blackburn said...

What a great collection of barns! Thanks for sharing.

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