Meet Amanda Hodgen

Horse Farm of Distinction Feature: Greene Acres Equestrian Center in Belchertown, Massachusetts

  For six consecutive years, kid-friendly Greene Acres Equestrian Center located in Belchertown, Massachusetts, has been bestowed with Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation’s (MFBF’s) Horse Farm of Distinction honor. This stable’s excellence can be traced back to its owner, Amanda Hodgen, and her passion for equine.
“I started riding when I was five and I’ve been riding, showing and training ever since,” Hodgen said. “And then I went to college at Morrisville State College for equine science and management and I got my associates there.”
While she was in college, her parents acquired the property where the farm is now located. According to Hodgen, originally the barn that she now uses as a stable was meant to be her Dad’s and brother’s storage space for their landscape company. She said that she “just slowly, kind of took it over.”
Now the farm offers camps, horse shows, leasing and lessons. Hodgen also does some training but has cut back on that as her time is now consumed with her two children. In between being busy with her two-legged wards,
Hodgen keeps her stables clean and organized, which assisted in her earning the Horse Farm of Distinction honor.
“Everything is neat and safe,” she said. “Everybody is healthy. We are really on top of keeping everything clean, such as water buckets and that kind of stuff.”
Hodgen’s attention to detail shows as one of her reviewers on Facebook said, “Amanda takes fantastic care of my horse and I never have to worry about him. Been here for years and got to see it from the start.”
While testimonials like that help promote her stables, Hodgen is always looking for new ways to increase interest in her business. While her father originally encouraged her to apply for this honor, she has continued to do so since taking over the business as the sole manager.
“Pretty much as soon as we could, we applied,” Hodgen said. “It was one more thing to make us look better when people are looking for a farm. It’s also one more good thing to add to the list of things that we have.”
Stables must be members of Farm Bureau to apply for the Horse Farm of Distinction honor. But Hodgen stays a member of the organization for more reasons than just to apply for this award.
“It’s a good organization,” Hodgen said. “They provide lots of information and its kind of nice to see the farms that are connected.”
According to Hodgen farms, that are connected are able to help one another if something happens, or if someone needs some help. She said, “it’s just a good source of everybody staying together. This is especially true as she has seen horse shows become smaller with less people to connect with.”
“A lot of the horse shows are a lot smaller than they have been,” Hodgen said. “But there’s still a lot of horses. I get calls all the time for stalls but I’m full and I haven’t had to advertise for stalls in a long time. I don’t believe horse showing is getting any bigger, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is getting rid of their horses either.”
Looking to the future, Hodgen hopes to continue her stables and this year plans to focus on upkeep of the facilities and expanding pastures for horses. This includes redoing some footing in rings and ensure smooth footing in the pasture, which according to Hodgen, “is not as simple as putting fences in and calling it in.”
“Last year, I had my daughter in March,” Hodgen said. “So, I had a newborn and we didn’t get that kind of stuff done. It was more being a Mom and raising a baby. So, this year we have to get some stuff done.”
Be completing projects like this, Greene Acres Equestrian Center demonstrates its continued excellence. This stable also showcases that you don’t have to be a century farm to apply and win the Horse Farm of
Distinction honor from MFBF. Stables only need five years of experience in the Massachusetts equine industry and a positive track record of demonstrated excellence in horse care and management.
For more information on Greene Acres, please visit https://www.facebook.com/GreeneAcresEquestrianCenter/.