A horse farm for the whole family

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Lee Ann Sides Garrett
Salisbury Post
When Patrick Smith helped neighbor Ben Harrison on his 38-acre watermelon and pumpkin patch as a 12-year- old, he never dreamed that one day he would be building his own horse farm on the same land.
For the past year and a half, Patrick, his parents Bill and Pat Smith and many neighbors and friends have worked diligently on a huge barn and riding areas that will be known as Happy Trails Horse Farm.
“This has been a community project,” says Patrick. “People have come down here and helped us for nothing.”
Patrick says he helped Harrison from the time he was 12, riding a four-wheeler or dirt bike to work.
“The pay wasn’t all that great,” Patrick says, grinning. “But it was something for a kid.”
Harrison promised he would hold the land for Patrick when he decided to sell. The land is adjacent to his parents’ land on Bernhardt Road. Patrick jumped at the chance when it came in January 2007.
After graduating from N.C. State University with a degree in horticulture in 2006, Patrick opened his own landscaping business, Landscape Solutions. Patrick says he started the horse farm “to be able to afford the land and not develop it. Ben wouldn’t want that.”
Having been raised around horses all his life, Patrick says he wanted a way to share that with other people and give kids a positive place to spend time.
The farm will feature 13 stalls for boarding, five spots for pasture board, three paddocks, a seven-acre pasture and a lighted riding ring. Patrick says boarding will be full service.
“We’ll feed and water them and take care of them,” says Patrick. “All they have to take care of is vet bills, farrier and come visit and play with them.”
In addition to riding lessons, Patrick’s mother, Pat, will offer birthday parties complete with petting zoo animals such as miniature horses, donkeys and baby goats. There are nearly 200 acres of riding trails running through the family land.
“A family atmosphere is what we’re after,” says Bill. “A place where a family can spend the day.”
Bill retired from Rowan County Health Department two years ago and has spent most of his time since helping with the farm. With the exception of wiring, the family built everything themselves.
“We even learned how to weld,” says Bill.
The barn interior features an indoor riding ring and individual lockers for saddles and tack. The lounge connected to the barn will have a TV and wireless Internet access and a window for viewing riders in the indoor ring. A horse wash complete with a small “car-wash type” wand for bathing horses stands ready just outside.
Patrick eventually wants to open his own retail landscaping center selling plants and trees and will use the land to grow his own.
For now, he’s looking forward to finishing everything in about two weeks.
“There were times I wanted to quit,” he says. “But Dad kept waking me every morning to finish it.”
For more information, contact Patrick Smith at 980-234-8093 or happy_trails_horsefarm@yahoo.com.