Friends of Franklin Parks, LLC, will join in the fun of the City of Franklin’s Family Day Oct. 22, bringing an array of horses to the Park at Harlinsdale Farm for demonstrations.
Dr. Monty McInturff, president of FoFP and co-owner of Tennessee Equine Hospital, said demonstrations featuring various breeds of horses will be given from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in an area to the side of the Historic Barn at the park, located on Franklin Road just north of Liberty Pike.
Friends of Franklin Parks, LLC, was formed earlier this year by Franklin Tomorrow to provide a mechanism for individuals and companies to provide tax-deductible donations for improvements and expansion at the city’s existing 16 parks. The organization exists “to cultivate stewardship within our community to preserve our cultural and natural resources, enhance the park experience and expand its legacy for future generations.”
The demonstrations will include breeds such as a Tennessee Walking Horse, European Warmblood horses, American Quarter horses, and Thoroughbreds, with riders showing Western and English styles.
“Given the rich history of Harlinsdale Farm, it is exciting to participate in bringing the horse back to Harlinsdale, even if just for this day,” McInturff said. “Restoration of the facilities at Harlinsdale, such as the Historic Barn and the Hayes’ Farmhouse, is important not only for the history of Franklin, but also for keeping a piece of Middle Tennessee history in place.”
The Park at Harlinsdale Farm was created in 2004 from the former Harlinsdale Farm, which has been called the most significant historic farm associated with the modern Tennessee Walking Horse industry.
In 1933, W.W. Harlin established the farm on the northern outskirts of great renown in the fledging Tennessee Walking Horse industry. As famous as the farm itself is its prize stallion Midnight Sun. This famous horse became the first repeat World Grand Champion. The success of Midnight Sun in the ring and as a sire has never been matched by any other Tennessee Walking Horse. Even today, most champion Walking Horses trace their lineage to Midnight Sun.
From the 1940s until the early 21st century, the farm served mainly as a breeding operation, run by the Harlin Family. The 200-acre farm is being developed as a passive park while maintaining and protecting the Horse history. The City of Franklin began an extensive public planning process to design the master plan that would reflect the history of the farm, while including the wants and needs of the public.
The City opened the park’s first phase for the Community’s enjoyment on Sept. 22, 2007. All activities at the park are limited to passive activities such as walking and picnicking on 60 acres of parkland.
Friends of Franklin Parks, LLC, sees the restoration of the Historic Barn and the Hayes Home on the site as priorities in its work, according to McInturff, who spent several summers working on the farm as a young man. FoFP is currently working with other organizations, such as the Heritage Foundation and Historic Zoning Commission, on the roofing at the Hayes Home, which is the oldest structure on the Park at Harlinsdale Farm property.
Donations may be made to Friends of Franklin Parks, LLC, by contacting Executive Director Mindy Tate at 794-0998 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A Web site is under development for the Friends of Franklin Parks, LLC, as well.