"Horse Country" Expands in the Sandhills

Oct 05, 2010 No Comments by

Mention the North Carolina Sandhills to a golfer and they immediately think Pinehurst – Southern Pines – THE HOME OF AMERICAN GOLF.

Mention the same Sandhills to an equestrian and they immediately think Pinehurst – Southern Pines – HORSE COUNTRY.

And guess what – they’re both right!

For well over a hundred years, the benefits of this area and its unique micro climate continue to attract golfers and equestrians.  Mild winters make outdoor pursuits like golf and riding comfortable options all year.  The sandy soils and gentle topography create high percolation rates that provide great drainage for growing golf turf, and excellent footing for horses.

While Southern Pines is the actual home to the Walthour – Moss Foundation properties, and the historic horse farms along famous Youngs Road, “Horse Country” continues to expand north, west and south.  Now the phrase includes many newer equestrian farms, facilities and communities in the villages of Carthage, Cameron, Vass and West End.  In fact, one could now say that all of Moore County and south to the Carolina Horse Park at Five Points in northern Hoke County is truly “Horse Country”.

Throughout the year, this area’s excellent facilities are home to most all branches of equestrian sports and clubs for training, shows, and events.

Walthour – Moss Foundation – In 1974 Virginia Walthour and her husband William Moss wanted to provide a sanctuary for wildlife and unique plant species, as well as equestrian pursuits.   Now consisting of several thousand acres in the heart of Horse Country, “The Foundation” is open to the public, and devoted to nature conservancy and equestrian activities.

Here you will find everything from fox hunters to pony clubbers, race and steeplechase, dressage and hunter – jumpers, as well as all levels of horsemen from world-class professionals to amateurs just riding the miles of trails for pleasure.

Pinehurst Harness Track – Pinehurst has been home to the Harness Track since 1915, and in 1992 was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Parks and Recreation Department now operate and maintain the 111 acres.  Facilities include a public restaurant, 18 barns, 300 stalls, 3 training tracks, tack and blacksmith shops, and the Fair Barn which was originally built for the 1917 Sandhills Fair.

From October to May, standardbred trotters and pacers train and race on the ½, 5/8, and mile tracks.  Summer sees a busy and varied schedule of events that are open to the public.  The Village of Pinehurst’s 4th of July Fireworks celebration is held here, as are dressage, hunter – jumper, antique car and dog shows.  Polo and rugby matches also dot the schedule.

The Carolina Horse Park at Five Points

Carolina Horse Park at Five Points – The Carolina Horse Park at Five Points is located in Northern Hoke County, about 10 miles south of Southern Pines.  The facilities accommodate training and competition for most major branches of equestrian sports including; hunter – jumper, dressage, eventing, steeplechase and turf racing.

2010 Stoneybrook Steeplechase

Stoneybrook Steeplechase – The Carolina Horse Park hosts the Annual Stoneybrook Steeplechase which draws several thousand spectators, and local, national and international competitors.

The social events begin on Friday night with a “gala” and continue through Race Day on Saturday.  The Pegasus Club serves an excellent luncheon, but tailgating is welcome and popular.  There are activities for the whole family with various contests, a children’s area, and horse exhibits.

Weymouth Nature Preserve – Weymouth is a 500 acre state park established to preserve virgin longleaf pines that includes a few miles of bridle trails used primarily by neighborhood riders.

Southern Pines Horse Farm Tour – The Southern Pines Horse Farm Tour is held annually to benefit charity.  Tickets for this self-guided tour of several spectacular horse farms and equestrian demonstrations are available in advance from several Southern Pines businesses, and from the Prancing Horse Center website.  This year’s Tour is scheduled to begin at 11am on Sunday, October 17th.

A wonderful cross section of equine activities is presented at up to 10 different horse barn venues. Equine demonstrations include jumpers, dressage and carriage driving by local equestrians.  In 2010, two additional disciplines have been included this year.  Polocrosse and Sport Horse Versatility are gaining popularity both regionally and nationally, and we look forward to these new demonstrations.

Destinations, Equestrian

About the author

Randy Cavanaugh, co-founder of The Avid Sportsman, became a Quarter Century Club Member of the PGA of America in 2007. Randy has USA, European, Asian and South American PGA Tours experience and has taught thousands of lessons. When not on the course, he often can be found fly-fishing in shallow saltwater.
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