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Quarry Hill Farm

Down the Driveway

by Joseph Montebello

Rae Paige Schwarz fell off a horse at age seven and she didn’t think she would ever ride again.

“ When you fall off, you’re supposed to get right back on the horse. But I broke my arm, and of course my parents wouldn’t let me do that. So I got scared and decided I didn’t like horses anymore.” But eventually that changed.

Years later Rae and her husband Marshall owned a house in Kent where they spent weekends. Down the road was a stable. Rae decided it was time to get over her fear and start riding again.

“I asked the owner of the stable if she gave lessons to adult beginners. She said that she did and there was a class at one o’clock in the afternoon. That wasn’t so convenient since I had my children to take care of, including a newborn. Then the woman told me that she had a kids’ beginner class at eight in the morning. Perfect! So I learned how to ride with a bunch of eight-year olds. Thank God my ego could handle that,” Rae said.

Thus began her obsession with horses and riding. Rae got her first horse, which she describes as a handsome black horse, but a real clunker. It wasn’t long before fate stepped in and the seeds of Quarry Hill Farm were sown.

“Someone gave me an Arabian, if you can believe such a thing could happen,” Rae explained. “I met a woman at a committee meeting in New York City who asked if I had a place in the country. When I said yes she offered to give me her beautiful gray Arabian. The horse was nineteen years old and needed a permanent home, so, of course, I said yes."

“He was amazing,” Rae said. “I loved my old horse, but it was like driving a pickup truck and suddenly I was behind the wheel of a Ferrari. That was how my Arabian addiction began.”

Arabians are beautiful, athletic and spirited. Rae is a tiny woman, very slim, with sparkling eyes and a great big smile. When she starts talking about these horses her eyes light up and her smile gets even bigger.

“After Marshall retired, we bought this place in Lakeville, with about 85 acres,” said Rae. “There were no farm buildings and I just had this one Arabian. I decided I wanted to breed Arabian horses and Marshall agreed to take the plunge.”

They went looking for a brood mare and found the full sister of a famous Arabian mare. They bought two more mares and then found their stud. Quarry Hill Farm was off and running.

Twenty-two years later there are several outbuildings, spacious paddocks for horses to exercise, and an amazing expanse of land for the twenty-four horses to roam. Most horses get sold, when they're sold, after they're three or four years old and have been ridden.. The farm has clients all over the world eager to buy the beautiful Arabians.

The day of this interview, Rae was particularly ecstatic about a recently born foal. At three weeks old, he was standing and prancing in tandem with his mother, gracefully dancing through the field.

“He is just so beautiful that we’ve decided to keep this one,” she exclaimed.

Today with so many horses to care for, Rae is not as involved in the day-to-day operation of the farm.

“I miss tending to the horses as much as I used to,” she. “But I still make time to ride every day.” She smiled. “That’s never going to change.”

The farm is open to the public by appointment.