As Harlinsdale Farm looks to continue its growth and restoration, it now has a boost from a local company in Williamson county. As part of the effort to return the horses to Harlinsdale Farm, Tractor Supply has made a five-year sponsorship commitment to Friends of Franklin Parks.
By doing so, it will enable the non-profit organization to introduce more people in the area to a variety of equestrian experiences through this new facility. In addition to horse competitions, riding lessons and arena polo matches, Friends of Franklin Parks plans to use the Tractor Supply Co. Arena to implement educational partnerships with schools and work-to-ride programs that ensure every child has an opportunity to learn to ride.
“Tractor Supply values the equestrian lifestyle and the significance of horses in the lives of our customers,” said Steve Barbarick, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer. “We are proud to be part of the campaign to bring horses back to the historic farm at Harlinsdale, and we believe the Tractor Supply Co. Arena will provide exciting events and meaningful experiences for horse enthusiasts of all ages.”
Founded in 1937, the 200-acre Harlinsdale Farm was a nationally recognized breeding operation for more than 75 years before it was acquired by the City of Franklin, placed under a permanent conservation easement and opened as a passive park. A long-range plan to bring horses back to the historic farm was advanced with the establishment of Friends of Franklin Parks in 2011, a public-private partnership designed to leverage corporate and individual support to enhance public opportunities across the 16-park system.
Working with the City’s Parks department, Friends of Franklin Parks broke ground in February on the arena project, and has raised nearly all of the funds necessary to cover the cost of the five-acre facility that includes the arena, a concession stand, public restrooms and the restoration of a 24-stall barn adjacent to the arena site.
Monty McInturff, DVM, an equine veterinarian, owner of Tennessee Equine Hospital and president of the Board of Governors for Friends of Franklin Parks, worked at Harlinsdale as a teenager, and attributes his career path to the experience. McInturff said the community support for the initiative has been overwhelming.
“So many individuals and corporate partners have believed in this project, and Tractor Supply’s support has put us in a position to dream even bigger,” McInturff said. “Our focus is on making this park a landmark that celebrates the importance of the horse to not only Tennessee’s history, but to its future, through education and opportunities to interact with these incredible animals.”
Franklin Mayor Ken Moore, M.D. says it’s another illustration of the sense of community that makes Franklin such a special place.
“Friends of Franklin Parks, with Monty McInturff at the lead, has done a wonderful job in working with corporate sponsors to make the dream of bringing the horse back to The Park at Harlinsdale Farm into a reality,” said Mayor Moore. “Working with companies like Tractor Supply is key to public-private partnerships that bring national attention to our award-winning parks system, and create venues that Franklin residents and visitors can enjoy for years to come.”