Morgan horse farm wants feedback on its future
WEYBRIDGE — Area residents will get a chance to help shape the future of the University of Vermont Morgan Horse Farm, a beautiful, Weybridge facility that celebrates one of the most acclaimed animal breeds of the Green Mountain State.
Officials at the farm had hoped to host the public on campus this Friday, March 20, but postponed that event until sometime in the future after fears of the spread of coronavirus have settled down.
The scheduled event was a community design workshop aimed at giving the Morgan Horse Farm input for its new master plan — a blueprint for how the historic facility could be improved to better serve the Morgan horse breed and participating students, and better showcase the property to locals and tourists.
Established in 1878 as a working farm by Joseph Battell, the Morgan Horse Farm is considered the oldest, continuous Morgan breeding program in the world. It’s dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the Morgan horse through breeding and selection, according to the institution’s website. The farm is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to significant Morgan history and a variety of educational programs. For more than 60 years, the farm has provided learning opportunities and training for students and visitors, while perpetuating the Battell, Government, and UVM bloodlines.
UVM Morgans are prized as pleasure horses for recreational use and as foundation broodstock.
The master plan will include and address current and future programming and operations at the Morgan Horse Farm site, as well as landscaping and building facilities. It will specifically touch on such things as:
• Visitor amenities to be reinforced and developed.
• Wayfinding and interpretation.
• Parking and circulation.
• Recommendations and standards for site furniture.
• Trail networks and connections.
David Raphael is a professional landscape architect with LandWorks and is a lecturer with UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources. He said there are opportunities for a Morgan Horse Farm trail to connect with the Trail Around Middlebury. Raphael is assisting in the farm’s master planning process.
• Outdoor gathering spaces and gardens.
• Aesthetics, view corridors and view management.
• Landscape and general woodland management.
• Considerations for long-term management, maintenance and energy conservation.
• Management of historic site resources.
• Siting and footprint for a new welcome center and other potential future facilities.
Raphael hopes to start the conversation now on what can be done to improve the Morgan Horse Farm, even without the March 20 event.
“In light of the workshop postponement, interested individuals can contact Margot Smithson at the Morgan Horse Farm (Margaret.Smithson@uvm.edu) with their input and ideas for the farm and to be on the contact list of future events and announcements,” he said.
For more information about the Morgan Horse Farm, log on to uvm.edu/cals/morganhorsefarm.
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