For years, I've been concerned enough about the safety of the kids and horses at Spence's Farm to recommend to any parents (should it come up in conversation) that they not use the facility as a camp or after school resource.
I once witnessed a horse owned by Spence and boarded at a local stable be returned in a trailer, with the saddle still on and un-loosened. After a hot afternoon being ridden in a local parade the horse came back to the barn with a nasty saddle gall - an open, weeping sore caused by an ill fitted girth strap. No competent horse trainer ships a horse like that.
When my child was in elementary school, I attended a birthday party at Spence's. Because of my concerns, I stayed for the event. At one point, I saw a young girl attempting to ride a horse away from the barn, un-attended by any adult. The horse attempted to re-enter the barn, and came close to "brushing off" the rider against the side of the barn.
The paddocks are always denuded of any grass and appear overcrowded. Standing constantly in mud requires constant attention to keep hooves healthy.
I am no equine expert, but I did have a neighbor who was, until he was killed in a riding accident. I also grew up with a family friend who's face was forever marred by being kicked in the face by a family horse. Notwithstanding any other issues about personal behaviors, I would not be inclined to rely on Spence's Farm to adequately protect my child.
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Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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