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Hickory Knoll Farm Is a Horse Lover's Dream

By Pamela Sosnowski

With its numerous lush pastures, roomy stables, and eight-acre polo field, Hickory Knoll Farm is an equestrian's dream come true. The Fitchburg property, which originally dates to the Civil War era, offers boarding, lessons, and competitive events for those that love to ride or just enjoy watching riders.

"Hickory Knoll was created in 1999 as a home for our horses and horses owned by our 4-H club members," owner John Freiburger said. "The goal was to have a safe place for children to ride. After 27 years as 4-H leaders, we backed away as our daughter left for college. We always have some children in the barn, but most boarders are adults now."

For horse owners, Hickory Knoll features a heated barn, box stalls, specially balanced feed, and its own farm farrier available for appointments at no additional charge. Air quality is carefully maintained in the winter by allowing outside air to recirculate with indoor air, reducing pollutants and humidity. An indoor arena is heated for year-round training, and a smaller outdoor dressage area is available during the warmer months. Numerous trails on and around the property provide scenic routes for riding.

Another feature is the polo field, which was constructed in 2001.

"We played with the Madison Polo Club from its founding by Jack Chopp," Frieburger said. "When he sold his farm to move to St Louis, we put in a field where the Madison and UW clubs play. The field is eight acres of lawn that we use for polo but also for other equine uses."

Hickory Knoll's trainers teach mostly German Classical Dressage, a style of dressage that Freiburger says can be adapted to many disciplines of riding including jumping and fox hunting. The farm frequently offers clinics and other educational events for equestrians. In addition to serving as a boarder and riding facility, Hickory Knoll also manufacturers, restores, and sells a variety of carriages for all purposes, from training to pleasure carriages. Many of the vehicles hail from Europe and the farm also supplies carriage parts and accessories.

Additionally, part of Hickory Knoll's farmhouse doubles as a bed and breakfast, providing an idyllic setting for tourists that want to see the Wisconsin countryside. Many of the rooms' architectural and decorative pieces date to the 19th century and a children's room features a box bed that dates to 1860 plus toys and games for the littlest guests.

"The old farm house had seven bedrooms, a few more than two of us need, so it made sense to start a B&B," Freiburger said. "The rooms are small, like many old farm bedrooms, but the common areas have old finishes and restored finishes, a large fireplace and comfortable furniture. We have miles of mowed walking trails, gardens to visit and ponies and cats to pet."

Throughout the year Hickory Farm serves as a venue for equestrian-themed events from driving to dressage to obstacle races that include fences, posts, and water. Admission to these family-friendly events are free, and tents are provided for shade.

More information about the farm, B&B, carriage sales, and upcoming events can be found at https://hickoryknoll.net.

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