By Jeanna Baxter White
Big Oak Ranch/Gold Leaf Training celebrated its grand opening on Tuesday, August 11th, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Davie County Chamber of Commerce and a Business After Hours event hosted by Nathan Broyles of Nationwide Insurance. Despite the heat, family, friends, and chamber members turned out to congratulate new owner, Amanda Lowe, and to tour the facility and stroke the horses. Attendees were treated to light refreshments and wine from RayLen Vineyards.
Located at 3604 US Hwy 158 in Mocksville, Big Oak Ranch is a full-service training and boarding facility and offers riding and driving lessons for ages 3 & up. Lowe recently hosted her third horse show and has monthly shows planned for October through December.
She is planning future activities with Raylen Vineyards and hopes to open up the ranch for weddings, birthday parties, and corporate events.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, she explained that she purchased the farm in January, began boarding horses in March, and was immediately shut down thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic. Several boarding contracts fell through. Refusing to allow the subsequent financial hardship to defeat her, Lowe has lived in her horse trailer for the past five months as she has worked to establish her business. She urged others not to give up on their dreams.
“After years of tears, lots of laughter, and heaping amounts of faith, my little girl dreams are coming to fruition,” she said. “What some called a hobby or a dream, I called my passion- and for years now I have called it my life. It is what makes me who I am, what gives me the drive to continue, and it allows me to share it with anyone who is willing to listen or participate.”
It was on a simple errand in Mocksville that she accidentally drove past what once was Big Oak Ranch. “I knew it was empty but wasn’t sure of the circumstances. When I drove past and saw the sign that it was for sale, my heart sank. I remembered attending events there years ago and seeing it deserted really made my heart sink. But the life and spirit of the farm were still there- quietly resting and waiting to be brought back to life.”
She called the realtor and then went home to pick up her family to walk around and take a look. “What I wasn’t expecting was to fall in love with this farm, but I did. In walking and looking at the ‘bones’ of the farm, I came across a few things that really were signs to me that this is where I belong. I have loved Saddlebreds since I was old enough to know what horses were- and this farm has never had Saddlebreds on it, to my knowledge. Well low and behold, there atop the barn was a weathervane, complete with a Saddlebred on it.”
“When I combine all the history and memories of Big Oak Ranch, with the history and dreams I have with Gold Leaf Training, a new vision is coming to life,” she shared on her Facebook page. “It is my dream, and it is happening. It is my goal to continue to provide quality riding instruction and training; to raise the next generation in a way that is strong, and powerful, through the eyes and heart of horses.
I desire to share with the youth and adults in the community a sense of peace and contentment and to educate others not just on horses, but on how and why to never give up. Anything you set yourself to do, just do it. I would be honored to share my adventure with anyone who comes along. Let’s grow together.”
To find out more about lessons, horse training, and boarding, or to register for a horse show, visit https://www.facebook.com/bigoak.goldleaf/ or contact Lowe at (336) 705-8966 or firstname.lastname@example.org.