The Center for America’s First Horse is a non-profit organization focusing on the preservation of the rare Colonial Spanish horse, also known as the Spanish Mustang. Stephanie Lockhart, founder and executive director of The Center, teaches natural horsemanship education programs and provides clinics and training on and off site. She explains, “Our mission is to provide life-enriching experiences through the spirit of the Colonial Spanish horse. The organization was founded in 2010, but has been a vision of mine since I became involved with the preservation and promotion efforts of this breed. We are home to the most diverse herd of Colonial Spanish horses in the eastern United States, and also home to equine movie star ‘Oscar’ from the movie Hidalgo.”
As The Center began to grow, it became critical to have a large indoor space, both for riding and to shelter the herd. Says Lockhart, “Due to the amount of rain and snow we get in Vermont, we needed a building so we could continue our programs during inclement weather. Since our horses are not stalled, we also needed a structure that could act as a shelter so the horses have the option to come inside.” Lockhart began researching building options when she found the ClearSpan website. After learning about the flexible finance options offered, purchasing a Hercules Truss Arch Building from ClearSpan was clearly the right choice for her organization.
The building has not only provided shelter and riding space at The Center for America’s First Horse, but it has had other surprise benefits as well. “During a recent fundraising event, artists and alternative care practitioners set up their booths in the building. We have held clinics and performances in our arena, and even hold our monthly board meetings in it during the summer time,” reveals Lockhart. She continues, “The best thing about the structure is that the horses like it! They like to be inside it in the summer when it’s hot and buggy out, as well as when it’s rainy and cold. They enjoy their work and perform better when they’re in a building that is open and light. The horses spend a lot of time with children and I have found that everyone is relaxed because the environment is bright and airy. If the horses are happy, then I am happy!”
Lockhart is extremely pleased with her decision to purchase a Hercules Truss Arch Building for The Center. She explains, “For me, the versatility of the building is a huge advantage. I just like being inside it. It also helps that we designed the building to have an open front end so we can look out onto the beautiful pastoral and mountain views while we’re riding. Now that winter is coming, we will be temporarily closing the front. The flexibility in design was another key factor in making the commitment to a Truss Arch Building. We hope to expand the size at some point by simply adding to the length.” The building has helped The Center for America’s First Horse change and grow. Says Lockhart, “The building is working out great! We use it for many more purposes than we ever thought we would. It is the center of our facility.”
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