Sale of Horse Trainer’s Dream–by Ilse Schwarz

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I rarely use dressage-news.com to write personal stories. However, in this case, I have convinced Ken Braddick, my husband and founder/owner of dressage-news.com to make an exception.–Ilse Schwarz

Ilse Schwarz with Nemo and family dog, Matilda, at Magnolia Farm

On February 15, 2019, Magnolia Farm is going to luxury auction. Given the amount of foot traffic the farm has been receiving on its multiple open days, I am fairly sure that I will be looking for a new residence for Ilse Schwarz Dressage before the end of the Wellington winter season. I really do want the farm to have a successful sale. Gaye and Joe Scarpa have been the most amazing owners, and deserve it. However, my heart cracks just a little bit every time I think of leaving.

The truth is, that over the last 16 years I have spent more waking hours in this barn than in my house with my American husband whom I married almost 21 years ago after leaving Australia.

I have been a resident at Magnolia Farm over two renovations. It was a mere seven stalls when I moved in and has now grown to 12 beautiful stalls, all with “gossip” bars so my horses never feel alone. During the last renovation and expansion, I was also able to be involved in adding ideas to the design, to make the best possible situation for a gorgeous, functional working facility. Wide aisles, centrally located air-conditioned, humidity controlled tack room, power outlets at every second stall, multiple water faucets spread around the barn. Air-conditioned office/kitchen/laundry, also with lots of storage. Rubber-matted multiple cross ties. Covered wash stall with hot and cold water. Hay room, feed and preparation room and more storage, lots of storage. Slightly larger than regulation arena with GGT footing. Everything designed for a facility in full use all year round in South Florida. I could go on and on, and probably already have, but all of the above is covered in the brochures advertising the farm.

However, looking at the farm on paper can’t describe the feelings this farm evokes. As I watch people walk through the barn, yes, the open houses are happening in a working barn, I want to stop everyone and tell them what makes this such a unique and special place to work from.. I am about 100% certain I will never be able to put into words the warmth and ambience this place has. I doubt I can describe the perfect flow this space enables as you work through the day. The horses are at peace and happy. The paddocks are grassy and large enough for long, really long (by Wellington standards) turnout. The surrounding farms make you feel as if you are in a rural paradise, not five minutes from the heart of the Wellington competition scene.

Magnolia Farm.

As you enter the barn and take in the beautiful open plan courtyard, a sense of calm and peace envelopes you. I can’t explain it, it has always been present, and many, many people have commented on it. You just have to take a deep breath and smile. The horses all know my car, so of course there are welcoming nickers, and heads appearing out the windows to greet me. Happy horses, happy trainer, happy clients. This is a happy place. The layout also ensures that I quickly get an overview of everything that is going on, always important for a business. Yes, I have run a very successful business out of this barn from the beginning. Ilse Schwarz Dressage focuses on training, competition and sales. My arena is right next to the barn, which means I can keep an eye on the running of the barn, even while I am teaching. I never feel separate from the operation and running of the barn, something I have discovered is important to me. I like to KNOW that the routine I expect, is actually occurring. Of course, should I choose, I can also just turn up the music, enjoy the speaker system installed through the barn and into the arena, and focus just on my training.

I mentioned that the facility is centrally located in Wellington. In fact, it is about as central as it gets. I can choose to hack to either the Global Dressage Facility, or, through the summer, to the Palm Beach Equine Sports Center. Or, I can hook up the truck and trailer and be at either in under 5 minutes. The luxury of having either option never ceases to astound me.

I am not sure how many people are looking at this as a year-round facility, but it is important for everyone to know just how brilliantly it works through the hot, humid, stormy summer. I am not a fan of summers here, but have figured out how to make my horses as comfortable as possible. It involves airflow. This barn has the most amazing airflow. And shade and wide aisles and high, heavily insulated (and beautiful!) ceiling and roof. And thick walls. All of which serve to keep the heat from penetrating into the body of the barn.

Did anyone mention hurricanes? I wouldn’t have my horses anywhere else during one. The farm is on city water, so I NEVER worry that they won’t have water access. The hurricane shutters are perfect at their job and the design of the barn, with outlets for the wind means that it is remarkably quiet in all the stalls during a hurricane. Yes, I do know this for a fact. Something that many people don’t think of is after the storm. Hurricanes happen when it is brutally hot. When you have to close up a center aisle barn to block the elements, I don’t care how many fans are running (until the power goes out). It is hot and muggy inside. Miserably so. This has never been a problem for my horses.

Guarding Magnolia Farm has been the day job of Matilda, Ilse’s Old English Sheep Dog (clipped much of the year) companion for the past 14 years.

I could continue for the length of an essay, but I am sure you understand how I feel about this facility by now. This is a special place and very close to my heart. My identity as a business in Wellington is as much about Magnolia Farm as it is me. I will wax lyrical, and talk facts, to anyone interested in looking at, or moving to this facility. To replace it will literally be impossible, believe me.