Virginia Horse Farm Essay Contest

Win a Virginia Horse Farm Via Essay Contest … Again

It’s just 200 words and an entry fee away!

Did you miss out on last year’s opportunities to wordsmith your way to ownership of Rock Spring Farm or Big South Fork Lodge? Don’t worry, because there’s another chance to write a farm-winning essay, this time to acquire Newstead on the James of Cartersville, Virginia:

Newstead Manor at Newstead on the James. Photo provided by Carol Carper.

Newstead’s current owner, Carol Carper, is today a certified wedding and event planner who coordinates weddings on the beautifully-restored farm. She’s also a retired Morgan Horse breeder and an American Driving Society judge. While her herd of Morgans is reduced to just four at the moment, Carper has added a flock of Katahdin sheep.

The barn with its new residents, a flock of Katahdin sheep. Photo provided by Carol Carper.

All you need to do is a submit a 200-word essay telling Carper and a three-person panel of judges why you would like to own Newstead. There’s also an entry fee of $233, which allows Carper to recoup the estimated $1.5 million market value of the property, and award the winner $100,000 directly to help ease takeover as long as the predicted 7,000 entry level is met. While a $200-plus entry fee sounds steep, it’s pocket change compared to the cost of purchasing Newstead directly. A winner will be chosen on September 21, 2016.

Still not sure if Newstead is worth an entry fee and an essay? Take a look around and see for yourself.

Carper painted this mural herself. The 1905 Steinway O is not included with the property. Photo provided by Carol Carper.

The library, including on the left a watercolor of Carper’s matched pair of Morgan mares, Glick’s Night Wind and Glick’s June Twilight. Carper bred their dams, foaled, trained and presented them over two decades, forming the basis for her eventual four-in-hand. Photo provided by Carol Carper.

The East Paddock, where Carper’s Morgan mares and foals once roamed. Photo provided by Carol Carper.

Carper’s four Morgan horses still on the property (as well as the sheep and dogs) are not included as contest prizes, but are available for purchase if the winner so desires. Here is Carper’s Morgan stallion Zoey, “D-J Zoba”:

Photo provided by Carol Carper.

If your curiosity is piqued, head over to Newstead on the James’ website to download the official rules and entry form, as well as browse the farm’s history and FAQ page for more information. You can also “like” Newstead on the James on Facebook for updates.

We’re adding our own unofficial rule that if an HN reader happens to win, we all get to come visit. Go riding!

A Virginia couple offered writers a shot at owning their bucolic, 18th century horse farm, so long as they can explain in 1,000 words or less why they’re worthy of the property.

Owner Carolyn Berry, along with her husband Randy Silvers, said that she harbored no ill will toward real estate agents, but dreaded the idea of a potential owner “traipsing across the property, and pointing out what they might consider a flaw,” according to local radio broadcaster WAMU.

To safeguard against gut renovations, the couple has announced an essay competition to give away Rock Spring Farm in Essex County, a property valued at $600,000, Berry says, to “somebody who loves the land as much as we do.” Essays will be evaluated by an expert panel of “educators, hobby farmers, and horse enthusiasts,” according to the contest’s submission guidelines.

The catch? Contest rules require a $200 submission fee, which the couple hopes will net enough funds to pay off their mortgage and retire comfortably in the knowledge that their farm won’t be redeveloped into a property solely for humans.


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