Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE)
Training and Promoting the Finest in the Western Carolinas
An Equestrian Paradise
The Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) is a unique nature education and recreation facility nestled on more than 320 acres of green space in Tryon's Old Hunting Country. FENCE combines facilities for nature education, including more than five miles of nature trails and nature exhibits at the FENCE Center, with an award-winning equestrian facility featuring three lighted show rings,a covered arena, two warm up rings, cross country course and stabling for over 300 horses. An active bird watching program includes FENCE Ventures (professionally guided travel programs to other parts of the Southeast and to Europe and Central America) as well as a number of nature study programs for adults.
FENCE came into being in 1985 as a non-profit nature education and recreation center, built around the original deed for 85 acres generously contributed by the Mahler family, who had come to Tryon in the 1940's. Since then, FENCE has grown to its present 390 acres and serves some five thousand people each year with programs in nature study, outdoor recreation and equestrian competition. Classrooms, meeting rooms and administrative offices are located in the FENCE Center, which overlooks a varied terrain of open meadows, marsh, and woodland. Five miles of hiking and riding trails thread their way through the property, including a hard-paved trail for the physically challenged. The trails are equipped with information stations and shelters. A nature pond with an observation boardwalk serves as an outdoor classroom for observing wildfowl and native plant species.
The Equestrian Center comprises three lighted show rings with all-weather footing, stabling for over 300 horses and spectator seating. The nationally-famous Block House Steeplechase, sponsored by the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club, is run each Spring over an eight-furlong course which encircles the equestrian area. Hunter/Jumper competitions, cross-country events, dressage and carriage driving are among the equestrian disciplines which make use of the Center.
During the school year, some one thousand elementary and junior high school students join our natural history field trips around the FENCE grounds or to nearby locations. FENCE also provides facilities and classes in nature study for home-schooled children and for youth organizations like 4-H and the Boy and Girl Scouts. Teachers not only bring their classes to FENCE, but FENCE travels to the classroom with our outreach, Project FENCE. Schoolchildren in Polk and Spartanburg Counties enjoy programs like "Schoolyard Scavenger Hunt" and "Insects and Creepy-Crawlies". Five summer day camps during June and July provide a wholesome and fun way to teach children respect for our natural heritage FENCE also hosts a regular series of nature-themed discussions and outdoor activities in cooperation with the Palmetto Trail Foundation, the Pacolet Area Conservancy, the Foothills Astronomical Society and others.
Foothills Equestrian Nature Center (FENCE) also offers TROT, a therapeutic riding program teaching horsemanship skills to adults and children with physical and developmental difficulties in a safe, friendly and supportive environment. TROT is a Member Center of the North American Riding For The Handicapped Association (NARHA) and adheres to standards set by NARHA for safety and effective teaching. The program is open to residents of Polk, Henderson and Rutherford counties in North Carolina, and Spartanburg and Greenville counties in SC.
For more information on activities in and around The Foothills Equestrian Nature Center in North Carolina, visit:
Foothills Equestrian Nature Center Homes and Real Estate
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