The next step in our effort to protect the farm was to find a way to involve more people. The underlying assumption was (and remains) that the more people there are who care about the farm, who are invested in its long term survival, the more likely it is to survive. Our produce business used only a small part, around ten of the farm's more than four hundred acres. We needed a way for the whole farm to support its own continuation.
In early 2001 our daughter's riding coach, Pam McNair, asked "Why don't you build a boarding facility? I'll help...." We were driving. I answered "We've thought about that....."
We didn't say much for the rest of that trip,... but we broke ground for the barn only a few months later.
Building The Grey Barn was a wonderful experience in itself. My sister, Libby McClintock, was the architect. She wove together Pam's vision with the ideas and suggestions that grew out of all the many ensuing conversations , then shaped it all into the beautiful barn so many of us love.
In January, 2002 we opened The Grey Barn to boarders with Pam McNair as opening manager and trainer.
Although Pam only stayed at Ashland for a little over a year, without her The Grey Barn would not exist, and who knows when - or if - we would have found a way to open Ashland Farm to the world of horses.
Almost from our opening day we were looking for more ways to open the farm to our local riding community.
We invited our local pony club, The Hilltoppers, to hold monthly meetings here. (Once a year Hilltoppers hosts a "Mock Hunt" (photo to the right). A senior pony clubber is chosen to be the fox. Several upper level pony clubbers are hounds. In this picture, the Master of Hounds is, in "real life," a Master of Hounds with the Shakerag Hunt Club.)
In 2003 Ann Haller, who had been part of the development team from early on, became Ashland Farm's primary riding instructor and advisor. With her help we began hosting small schooling shows. The shows were fun and very popular, but limited by only having one arena. In 2005 we decided to build a facility specifically for these schooling shows. Designed by Roger Haller, who designed the 1996 Olympic Equestrian Cross Country Course, we created two regulation, sand, dressage arenas, a large, sand, show jumping arena, and a cross country schooling field with banks, ditches and a water jump. (See photos at Schooling Facility.)
For the last ten years we have been hosting clinics, schooling shows, and hunter paces. Managed by Ann Haller and staffed by great volunteers these events have been a wonderful way to share the farm with the riding community.
Late in 2010 Ann resigned from her active role with Ashland Farm as Primary Instructor and Show Manager and became a kind of "professor emeritus". She continues to teach, is especially active with the pony club, and she and Master still patrol the trails.....
2011 was a year of transition for Ashland Farm. With Ann's retirement as Show Manager we stepped back, temporarily, from hosting shows and began to focus on opening the farm more widely through a membership program. As it turned out, life intervened, and it took us much longer than we expected but in early 2012 we were able, finally, to launch the Ashland Farm Riding Membership - the beginning of a new chapter for Ashland Farm. Late in 2012 we committed to hosting our 9th Annual Haunted Hollow Hunter Pace with the intention of starting to host schooling shows again.
See "The Idea of Membership"