Friday, June 2, 2017

Beauty You Can Feel: An Appreciation

By Thomas Gallagher

Freedom Farm’s environment is a reflection of the happiness of its horses and humans. It is a place where both can learn from each other and grow together in a natural setting. As one of the premiere competition stables on the Olympic Peninsula, ‘the Farm’ is known for it’s professional yet peaceful environment. Owner Mary Gallagher maintains this balance between sportsmanship and serenity as she works alongside the like-minded individuals who help shape her vision into reality. One of those folks is Fred Voorhees, a landscaping professional who takes the utmost pride in providing the ranch with its aesthetic appeal.

When you arrive at Freedom Farm you notice Fred’s handiwork immediately.
Perhaps the neatly groomed pines, or the meticulously organized, colorful flower garden catches your eye. Or you notice the simple yet elegant layout of shrubbery framing the entrance. The overall effect is calming. It’s a fitting first look at Freedom Farm, which projects a feeling of welcome, and of home. Stepping inside the gates, you enter a world where human and horse relate as partners.

There have been many changes over the years; however, since Fred took over the job of grooming the landscape a little over a year ago, I find myself stopping and admiring the love and care his special touch can make.  “How do you do it? I asked him. "Open communication with Mary" he replied. "Any changes I wish to make, I run by her first." Mary's vision for the farm definitely comes through in Fred's landscape design. A sense of belonging and peace can be felt when walking through the open doors of the arena. Every flower, tree, and plant has received Fred's gentle attention, and the result is an appeal that everyone can appreciate.

The dedication Fred has brought to improving Freedom Farm’s aesthetic appearance has deep roots. He has worked in landscaping his entire life. His parents owned a nursery, and Fred learned from a young age to care for the environment. He relates to plants and trees like a friendly barber. "I like to think of it as giving them a haircut" he says of pruning. For him this is no simple job, it is a passion, and in simple yet powerful words he says "If you like it, do it." It is a simple yet powerful truth that he lives by, reflected in the steady patience he shows when working with the earth.

    So please, the next time you visit Freedom Farm stop a moment, take a deep breath and appreciate the beauty Fred has nurtured. The Farm is a peaceful place full of love and learning, a dream come true for Mary Gallagher. However, no one knows better than she that this dream could have never happened without the help of people like Fred, who give her vision expression, bringing the dream to life.

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