Carysbend Farm: Beautiful views and unique horses

Published 8:40 pm Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Carysbend Farm, located on King’s Fork Road, specializes in Arabian and Half-Arabian horses. They’re known for their stamina and endurance. Carysbend is one of four locations that will be open to the public during the Nansemond River Garden Club’s Historic Garden Week.

Carysbend Farm, which stretches across 40 acres on King’s Fork Road, features a contemporary home with wide windows, offering beautiful views of the horses that live and train there.

Betty Delk, chairman of the Garden Week tours taking place as part of Virginia’s 78th annual Historic Garden Week, said the breathtaking views at Carysbend will draw guests in during their visit.

“The home itself is very contemporary with a lot of glass and windows,” she said. “Wherever you’re standing, you can see horses.”

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Carysbend owner Douglas Cary said when the Nansemond River Garden Club, which is sponsoring this year’s festivities, contacted him he was surprised and a little apprehensive.

“I didn’t know if I was going to have to have bunches of roses,” he said, with a laugh.

But when Cary found out there would be an equestrian theme to the tour, he was motivated to be a part of it.

Cary bought the farm in the ‘80s and built the home and stables in 1987. He said the family aimed for consistency in the structures.

Cary said visitors also will enjoy seeing the 20-stall stable that makes it easy to get to the horses.

“We tried to have the barn match the house,” he said. “We wanted something we could be proud of.”

He said horse enthusiasts especially will appreciate seeing the living conditions of the horses, which will be unique to this year’s tour, because Carysbend is the only farm on the tour that specializes in Arabian and Half-Arabian horses.

Cary’s daughter Lee cares for and trains the versatile breed from which all other horse breeds descend, he said.

Arabians are known for having strong qualities, such as great stamina and endurance, that breeders hope to incorporate into other breeds, he said.

Their “animated carriage,” in which they hold their heads and tails high, makes them very showy, Cary said.

Lee Cary, who won the 1998 U.S. national horse championship, will be at the stables the day of the tour to show the horses and answer questions.

Using his family as evidence, Douglas Cary said the love of horses is something the entire family can enjoy, and he hopes families learn that when they visit the farm.

“It brings people together,” he said.

The Garden Week tours will take place on April 17 from noon to 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale at The Suffolk Visitor Center, Smithfield-Isle of Wight Convention and Visitors Bureau, and A. Dodson’s on Bridge Road.

Adult tickets are $25 if purchased before April 3 and $30 if purchased after that date. Children, ages 6 to 12, tickets cost $15. All children 5 and younger are free.

For more information on Carysbend Farm, visit