April 20 - our annual Summer Horse/Pony Camp issue
Lone Oaks Farm Trail Ride
Hardeman County Mayor Jimmy Sain hosted at Trail Ride at Lone Oaks Farm on Sunday afternoon, February 19, 2017, with a steak dinner following and commemorative T-shirts, benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The weather for the trail ride was absolutely perfect, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s – a lovely spring day in the middle of winter!
There were about 100 riders, most with their own horses, but some on rental horses provided by Mike Howell, who runs the rental stables at Chickasaw State Park. He had to make several hauling trips in his gooseneck stock trailer to transport his horses to the trail ride. Usually when there are that many horses that do not know each other, as well as that many potently inexperienced trail riders, someone has a problem or someone has an unplanned dismount. This did not happen! Riders settled in at their preferred pace and small groups formed all along the trail. Several times the lead riders stopped to let the stragglers catch up. The trails in the woods were easily navigable and the graveled roads were even easier.
Lone Oaks Farm is a gorgeous, well-maintained 1200-acre cattle farm and event center, originally developed by Scott and Kathy Ledbetter, which is now owned and administered by the University of Tennessee Extension Service. Tennessee Senator Mark Norris, who with his wife Chris came to the trail ride, was very supportive of Tennessee purchasing the farm for 4-H.
To form Lone Oaks, the Ledbetters consolidated 30 individual land parcels over ten years and built numerous barns and outbuildings; blackboard fencing adds to the picturesque look. They also planted pastures, hay fields, and dug numerous lakes to develop the property into a first class farming operation.
Lone Oaks Farm now hosts a variety of 4-H projects throughout the year to connect children with the land, the outdoors, and learn a bit about science and agriculture. The Tennessee Livestock Producers care for about 90 heifers on the property, who are due to start calving in late October this year.
As an event center, Lone Oaks Farm hosts weddings, reunions, corporate retreats and other special events. For example, the Southwest Tennessee Farm Bureau held its awards dinner at Lone Oaks in January. It’s a great place for farm-to-table cuisine, with grilling done on site and wonderful food prepared by Chef Allen Cain, and dining with a picturesque view of the lake. In 2016, Lone Oaks hosted and served over 2,200 guests.
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