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Central Carolina's

Equestrian Quarterly

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Prophet's Thumb Ranch

   It has taken an awful lot of years and hard work, but we're finally getting to build our own dream farm from scratch. No old cow farm or "suburban home with farm as afterthought" layouts to work around. No more mudhole riding rings or haphazard barn designs or long walks down uneven paths from the barn to the house or the pasture gate. No more road-frontage pasture to tempt sick people to fling beer bottles at the horses as they race by in their cars at 80m.p.h. This time all we have to work around it the topography of the land.
   Prophet's Thumb Ranch is 40 acres of rolling land in Stanly County, not far from Mt. Pleasant, NC. It'll be the site of the new Millwater Horseshoeing shop, the new Millwater Publishing office (the mailing address will stay the same), and a place where Anne and I can get back into other aspects of horsemanship that we've been too busy, crowded, and poorly equipped to pursue actively over the last couple of years... Things like riding and conditioning our own horses, as well as training, breeding, and raising solid work horses.

   Designed to be a working horse farm, Prophet's Thumb has a number of useful layout features...
   -Security and privacy. The horse pastures and barnyard are situated so that they cannot even be seen from the public road. One would have to climb the front gate and walk a long, long way to get to the horse pastures. We even left a thick buffer of woods around the perimeter between us and neighboring properties (farms). No more road litter in the pasture or brain-damaged people climbing through the fences to let their kids feed the "horsies"...
   -Horse farm layout. On all the many farms I've lived and/or worked on over the years, I've made mental notes about what worked well and what caused problems. So, for starters, I made sure that the main riding ring and stables would be on high, dry ground. (I hate slogging around in mud half the year!) I laid out a big primary pasture, as well as a versatile setup with many roomy paddocks. (No more rotating horses into stalls because some don't need to be out with others.) The house, stables, main riding ring, and shop will all be in a central barnyard with gates leading to the pasture and all the paddocks. (No driving through horse pastures to get to the house. No leading horses through one pen to get to another.)
   -Places to work horses. In addition to having the main ring on high ground where it can be used in the wet season, we've also preserved wooded areas to be crisscrossed with training trails, as well as the wooded perimeter buffer. There's a wide creek to ride across. A remote training ring and short-work field to prevent monotony, and we have a very long stretch of driveway road suitable for galloping or harness-driving. Even if the neighboring farm fields, woods, and roads fall prey to development at some point in the future, we'll always have the riding areas to train and polish working horses.
   -Clinic area. A segment of the property near the the road which is separate from the main horse facility is well-suited for public events and clinics.

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