Outdoors Recreation

Davis Ranch Offers Equestrian Programs in Leicester, Mills River

Photo by Anna Toomey

By Allison Taylor

Davis Ranch is a growing equestrian venture, with properties in Mills River and Leicester. Both locations boast a beautiful setting with a diversity of offerings. The ranch commits to sustainable agriculture and also prioritizes education, advocacy and promotion of the equestrian community.

The Leicester location offers 52 acres, which is primarily pasture. Among the amenities are a 150’ x 250’ riding ring, a round pen with footing, run-ins, trails and bridlepaths, and wash stalls. Onsite trainers are available to assist all ages in multiple disciplines. A family farmhouse serves as an Airbnb rental, and camping is available as well. Anna Toomey operates MoonRaker Farm, a full-service dressage farm, at Davis Ranch. She is a United States Dressage Federation (USDF) L grad and USDF bronze medalist, and earned an AA in Equine Business. All levels of riders are welcome, with some school horses available. “I try to communicate theory and my understanding of feel in clear, calm, repeatable steps to bring training back to comfort and basics for both horse and rider,” says Toomey.

Lexie Arlt, who is the Western and Barrel trainer, also works at the Leicester location. Arlt grew up on a horse farm and has been immersed in a range of disciplines including barrel racing, colt starting, eventing and reining. She is a certified equine sports massage therapist and a collegiate rodeo participant, and brings 11 years of teaching experience and nine years of professional horse training to the ranch. “What is most important to me is helping horse and rider to accomplish their goals in harmony while having fun,” Arlt says.

As Davis Ranch’s Leicester location continues to grow, events are being added. Plans include an Open Show on October 22, as well as various educational clinics, ag days and a dressage “fix a test” on October 1. Monthly events such as clinics, shows and tack swaps are being planned for 2023.

At the Mills River location, Davis Ranch offers a riding arena, training round pen with footing, run-ins and trails onsite. Three trainers cater to multiple disciplines. This property offers pasture board, stall boarding and two Airbnb’s through owners Tilt’n B Farm, and allows horses to trailer in for lessons.

Mills River barn manager Katrena Pace has more than 40 years of horse experience, with 22 years in barn management. Pace’s love is Western pleasure events and the Appaloosa breed, and she has a passion for fostering local rescue horses and dogs.

Elexa Moyers, riding instructor and horse trainer at the Mills River Barn, primarily teaches English riding to people of all ages, and trains problematic horses, bringing 11 years of riding and training experience and skills gained working with farriers and as a vet tech.

As Mills River’s location is always improving and looking for growth opportunities, the owners and staff are looking forward to the open show circuit in spring of 2023. This fall, they plan to hold a tack resale and to open lesson programs.

For more information on Davis Ranch, visit DavisRanchWNC.com or call 828.989.4046. Events, updates and news are also updated regularly on Facebook @ Davis Ranch LLC.


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