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Situated on 185 acres of rolling hills and farmland just north of Sweetwater, Dry Ridge Farm is a full service horse boarding and training facility specializing in equestrian three-day eventing — essentially a triathlon for horse and rider with challenges in dressage, cross-country endurance and show jumping. The facility is owned by Paul and Pat Green. What started more than a decade ago as a place for the Greens’ daughter, Alex, to keep a single horse is now one of the top eventing barns in the Southeast.
“This business, it’s a way of life for us; Alex has been a top eventer nationally since her teens,” said Paul Green. “Since being ranked globally several years ago, and with the contacts she and her mom have made, clients come to us by word of mouth.”
The business has grown organically alongside the family’s love of the sport. The original barn has been added to and expanded with room for 16 horses, their equipment and care and a fully stocked lounge area for students indoors. Outside, the grounds include a 37,000-square-foot arena, paddocks, riding trails and pasture. Alex, now an internationally known eventer and University of Tennessee graduate, oversees the training of horses and their riders through her business, Alex Green Eventing. She continues as an eventer and also trains horses for sale.
Although the farm is a second venture for Paul Green — he and his sons, Daniel and Bradley, work in the financial industry full time — the Greens continue to improve the business side of the farm as well. One significant cost is the electricity needed to heat, cool and light their facilities. In 2015 they installed solar panels on the roof of the barn. They partnered with Knoxville renewable energy firm ARiES Energy to install the system. ARiES also helped the Greens apply for a $25,000 USDA Renewable Energy for America Program grant, available to small businesses and farm-based businesses, to cover part of the installation fees. Now renewable, clean energy powers the facility and gives the Greens extra funds to reinvest in Dry Ridge operations.
“We thought it would be a break even at $400 to $500 a month to pay the electric bill, but it’s paying for itself and giving me a couple thousand dollars each year in extra,” Green said.
Paul Green likes to be a good steward of the land, and his community, in other ways, too. The farm also boasts 200 muscadine grape vines. Fruit can be picked by appointment by calling 865-567-3585.
“Originally I wanted to sell to the winery, but instead I just let people come and pick them — for free, just give me a call first,” he said.
Alex Green is currently accepting eventing students (clients must supply their own horses). Her students’ ages range from 14 to 70. Details on boarding or training can be found at www.dryridgefarm.com.