Located on 35 acres in New York’s Hudson Valley, Blue Wood Farm & Vineyard is a family-owned and operated business. Originally purchased with the intent of having a farm-to-table growing operation, Blue Wood’s steep terrain, altitude, and soil made growing produce difficult. Once this was discovered, for many years Boer Goats called Blue Wood home, however now it has transformed into a gorgeous sport horse facility that also hosts a Poitou Donkey breeding program.
Natasha Sprengers-Levine has been involved in horses for most of her life. She shared, “I grew up doing a ton of trail riding and fox hunting in addition to attempts at eventing, dressage, and show jumping through my involvement in Pony Club. At the University of Vermont, I was captain of the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) team and was IDA Individual Champion at First Level in 2014, my senior year, after coming in dead last at almost every show my freshman, sophomore, and most of my junior year. After graduating, I worked for a number of top trainers in dressage and eventing up and down the east coast and during that time I was able to earn my USDF Bronze and Silver Medals thanks to some really great horses and humans.”
Natasha’s proudest achievements in the saddle are with her 2009 KWPN mare, Ellavanta. She explains, “She has been (and continues to be) tricky, to say the least. Figuring her out is an ongoing process, but the moments where it all clicks are very rewarding!” Natasha’s current goal with the mare is to compete for the first time at Dressage at Devon.
Also close to her heart is the off-track Thoroughbred her family adopted on her 11th birthday. The gelding, Keeping Count, kept Natasha company at the University of Vermont, although he nearly got himself kicked out of college for his antics. Together they competed at the United States Pony Club Championships, and even went to Canada for a summer. He recently turned 24 and is enjoying keeping up his wild streak while retired at Blue Wood.
At Blue Wood, Natasha oversees a gorgeous 7-stall barn with a spacious tack room, feed room, heat lamp-equipped wash stall, and rubber paved extra-wide aisle. “With horse happiness first and foremost, turnout is a big deal for us. We have 13 large grass paddocks with varied terrain, many of which have run-in sheds,” she explained. “ My absolute favorite thing to do is turn horses out and see how genuinely happy they are in their first few minutes of turnout. I don’t think it will ever get old.”
The quality facility doesn’t end with the lush turnouts though, in 2020 Natasha began building out a trail network on the farm, and last year they upgraded the arena to feature FootingFirst’s TravelRight footing which enabled Blue Wood to open its doors for training and trailer-in lesson clients.
Additionally, Blue Wood is home to the critically endangered breed of Poitou Donkeys. “We are absolutely smitten with our Poitou Donkeys – Otis, Carmen, Cici, and Willow. The Poitou Donkey is considered a critically endangered breed and this year we joined the ongoing efforts of the Livestock Conservancy to save these incredible animals,” Natasha shared. “Willow was born on our farm in 2018, and this year we’ll breed our two older jennies, Carmen and Cici to hopefully welcome two more in 2023!”
In addition to running Blue Wood Farm & Vineyard, Natasha also works in the horse tech space with STRIDER. It was here that she first heard of StableSecretary, before introducing the barn management tool to her facility in the fall of 2019. “It was tremendously helpful as I was in Wellington and Ocala in early 2020. Even though I was far away, I could easily communicate with the team at home about the horses and donkeys who had stayed behind – they updated me on farrier visits, etc. through the app,” Natasha explained.
Natasha prioritizes proactive care in the management of the horses and donkeys at Blue Wood, and credits StableSecretary with helping her stay ahead. “Being able to quickly reference when one of the horses or donkeys started/ stopped a medication or treatment is incredibly helpful, too. Coordinating our team of veterinarians, farriers, and body work specialists would be such a challenge without StableSecretary. I especially love the email reminders and that I can upload documents straight into the app from the barn aisle.”
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