Within the Bluegrass
State of Kentucky lies a little farm in Madison County named
Foxwood Farm. It is barely hidden away from the city of Richmond,
located just south of Lexington off I-75.
On this farm resides a
couple, still young at heart, named Greg and Eve Secrist.
Greg and I (Eve) are originally from Virginia; Greg is from the
Roanoke area and I'm from the Cumberland Gap area. We met
during our first years of college at Radford University in
southwest Virginia and in 1992 moved to Richmond, Kentucky for
graduate studies at Eastern Kentucky University. We both are
science majors, with Greg's focus being in Geology and mine in
Biology. Greg currently works fulltime as a Project
Geologist at Delta
Environmental Consultants, Inc. Greg is also a proud
Kentucky Colonel and enjoys playing golf when he has time. In
addition to alpaca farming, I volunteer for the Humane
Society, Animal League for Life, of Madison County, Kentucky.
After 12 years of
courtship, Greg and I finally tied the infamous "knot"
in 1999. Who knows why it took so long? We don't, but
we do know it sealed our path to eternal happiness....well that,
and the farm helped too :)
In 2001 we purchased
Foxwood Farm, which is comprised of 11 acres, an old tobacco barn,
and a small house and started to dream about what it could
be. My whole life I had dreamed about having horses,
possibly breeding and training Arabians. So with the
help of a few good friends, we went to work. Many long hours
and hard days were put into remodeling the barn and building
you Barney and Richard for all the priceless help!
Excuse my blog,
but my dream was painfully shattered when I started doing research about the horse industry.
What I found out was shocking. I discovered that American
horses are being slaughtered in enormous numbers so their meat can
feed the palates of overseas diners in countries such as Italy,
France, Belgium, and Japan. Show horses, race horses, foals
born as a “byproduct” of the Premarin© (PMU) industry (a
female hormone replacement drug made from pregnant mare urine),
wild horses, carriage horses, 4-H horses, and family horses all
fall prey to this detestable industry. Many people think that only
old or sick horses are sent to slaughter. This is
simply not true. Young and very healthy horses are
everyday victims of slaughter. Hundreds,
perhaps thousands, of horses are stolen every year for the
horsemeat trade. Thinking about selling your horse at
auction? Think again. Meat buyers prowl
auctions for good deals and then in turn sell the horses
directly to the slaughter houses for profit. In 2004, over
65,000 horses were inhumanely slaughtered in one of the two
foreign-owned, U.S. based horse slaughtering facilities
located in Texas. A third plant, Cavel International in
Illinois reopened on June 9th, 2004, so those figures will be even
higher unless the American
Horse Slaughter Prevention Act is passed.
That being said, since
we've been at Foxwood Farm, we have rescued three horses. We
finally got our beautiful Arabs, two of them: Golden Radiance and
Sahlih's Mystral. They came from a Canadian PMU breeder's
farm that had to liquidate most of their stock after the PMU
cutbacks. They, like many, were destined for the slaughter
house. We found out about them on the internet, of all
places. We have gelded our gorgeous young boys and they are
in training here at the farm. Our third horse, a
Thoroughbred cross named Goodluck Charm
(aka Moosey), was an
animal cruelty victim here in Madison County. He was about
200 lbs underweight when we first acquired him. Two months
later, he looked like a horse again. It is amazing what a
little grass and love will do. Greg
and I quickly realized that as much as we would like to have a
herd of 20 horses, we simply do not have the pasture space at this
time (maybe one day!).
Lack of space, but yet
desiring to have a working farm, led us to alpacas. Our
parents have been breeding and raising alpacas in Tennessee at Windy
Hill Alpacas since 1998, so we were familiar with alpacas and
have seen firsthand what wonderful, unusual, genuinely sweet
animals they are. It didn't take much for us to realize that
they really are the perfect alternative for someone with a small
mini-farm. They don't require a lot of acreage, they are
very gentle on the land, and they produce a wonderful usable
product. Best of all, slaughter is not in the equation.
Seeing our retired parents successfully manage, shear, and breed a
high quality herd of 40+ alpacas brought us to the realization
that if they can do it, we can too! So here we are, and we
are loving it!
In addition to the
horses and alpacas, we also do cat and dog rescue with around 30
and 6 respectively! We are finally settling in and can now enjoy the fruits of our
labor, which really has been a labor of love.