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Inspector Spotlight: Amy & Matt Haygreen

Inspector Spotlight: Amy & Matt Haygreen

By: Alexis Arbaugh

To qualify for accreditation and receive a grant from Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, every facility within an organization must undergo a comprehensive inspection. These inspections are carried out by either Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance staff or one of many approved inspectors located across the country. Sight inspectors are Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance’s eyes at every facility. They include veterinarians and other equine professionals. Inspectors have prior experience in animal care and Thoroughbred aftercare, which makes them well-equipped to assess facilities seeking accreditation. During an accreditation inspection, the facility and everything that goes into running it is under review. This includes the staff, equine management and care practices, fields, barn/buildings, cleanliness standards, maintenance protocols, and financial management, among numerous other factors, taking pictures as they go. When an inspector visits a facility, all these elements are thoroughly examined.

Amy Haygreen has been an organization inspector for Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance since 2017. In 2023, she enlisted the support of her husband, Matt Haygreen, to join her, forming a cohesive and effective inspection team. Operating within the northern North Carolina area, they strategically conduct inspections while staying close to their farm. Amy currently serves as a Care Manager at Vaya Health, where she utilizes her expertise as a licensed mental health therapist. In this role, she plays a pivotal part in ensuring that North Carolina Medicaid members receive the essential services and support they need. Meanwhile, Matt applies his expertise in the technology division at Wells Fargo, where he serves as a lead software developer.

Matt and Amy are the proud owners of Stone Mountain Creek Farm, a small breeding farm nestled in northwestern North Carolina. As owners and operators of their own facility, Matt and Amy devote most of their free time to caring for their farm and their horses. Their primary focus revolves around breeding Friesians and Friesian Sporthorses, although they occasionally breed Warmbloods as well. According to Amy, they find great joy in “raising and working with the foals they breed, preparing them to succeed in their future homes and finding them their perfect homes.” They find great fulfillment in staying connected and witnessing the accomplishments of the offspring of their Friesian stallion, Otto P. Additionally, they take pleasure in observing Otto P. compete in upper-level Dressage with his trainer.

Matt and Amy’s home is filled with the companionship of two dogs—an English Mastiff and a Dalmatian—and two cats. In her free time, Amy takes lessons and competes in Dressage on Otto P. She also enjoys creating art, particularly pottery. Meanwhile, Matt, an avid soccer enthusiast, dedicates his spare moments to watching the Chelsea Football Club on television. He also likes to learn more about breeding, as he volunteers with their local veterinarian working with stallions.  As a couple, they enjoy outdoor activities, whether it’s cycling, hiking, or simply sitting outside and appreciating the beauty and serenity of their farm.

Amy’s connection with horses, particularly Thoroughbreds, traces back to her childhood, forming a profound and enduring bond. Amy has been riding since she was young, taking lessons for many years, and eventually purchasing her own horse upon reaching adulthood. Amy’s second horse, Maewyn, an off-the-track Thoroughbred, is now nearing 29 years old and still resides on Amy and Matt’s farm. Born on St. Patrick’s Day and registered under the name “Tigard”, he raced 43 times and his race earnings totaled $235,248. After he retired from racing, Maewyn was a pleasure to ride on trails and over fences up until the day that his joints could no longer withstand the strain of being a riding horse. Now he enjoys a peaceful retirement as a pasture pet on their farm.

Matt found his love for horses after meeting Amy and moving to the United States from England. He enjoys handling horses, as well as a bit of riding and driving throughout the years that they have been together. Described by Amy as an “amazingly supportive horse husband,” Matt fully embraces Amy’s equestrian lifestyle and shares her deep affection for their equine companions.

“Seeing that the horses are receiving the best possible care and are meeting and even exceeding Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance standards of care--that is the most rewarding,”

Amy & Matt Haygreen

When Amy attended the University of Louisville for graduate school, she became interested in the ongoing efforts of rehoming off-the-track Thoroughbreds. She soon realized that there was a great need for aftercare programs.  Matt also has similar feelings towards the well-being and welfare of not only Thoroughbreds but all animals. Together, they continuously seek ways to enhance their own farm, a motivation behind their involvement in inspections. In addition to their work with Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Matt and Amy have actively contributed to the rescue and rehoming of multiple horses.

Photo Courtesy of Sherry Billings

“[We find] helping Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance with inspections to be a very important way to help improve the lives of off-track Thoroughbreds,” wrote Amy and Matt. For this reason, Matt and Amy view farm inspections as necessary and a vital part in the aftercare process. They also find it interesting to visit different farms and see new ways of doing things. They have found that Ex-Thoroughbred racehorses often require specialized care and nutrition due to the unique demands placed on them during their time on the racetrack, which differs significantly from any other lifestyle they may experience after coming off the track. “It is important to monitor the farms that provide aftercare services for these horses to ensure that they have the best chance to enjoy a healthy and successful life going forward,” wrote Amy and Matt.

When asked why they feel that accredited aftercare is important, Matt and Amy explained, “Certain standards must be met to achieve and maintain accreditation; this is why accreditation is important. It ensures that these standards are met and thus ensures proper care of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance horses”.

In their extensive experience with Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Matt and Amy have seen some great examples of best practices during their inspections. When asked what their favorite things to see on an inspection, they described having safe and clean facilities with tidy feed rooms, safe and well-maintained fencing, shelter for horses from the weather, and evidence of close relationships with local vets and farriers to ensure the continued well-being of the horses.

Photo Courtesy of Sherry Billings

They recalled an inspection that they really enjoyed seeing involved a farm that partnered with its local college equestrian team. They noted this partnership proved as a great example that was mutually beneficial for both the organization and the equestrian team. It ensured that the horses received regular exercise and training while providing the equestrian team with additional horses to ride. It enhanced the lives and fitness of the horses, which they really loved to see.

Qualities of equine care that are most important to Matt and Amy include, “safety, a calm and peaceful atmosphere which is not stressful to horses, well maintained and safe fencing, shelter and barns”. Matt and Amy feel that horses always need free choice shelter and should not be stalled an inordinate amount of time each day. Stalls can be beneficial, but horses also need plenty of turn out to keep their bodies and digestive systems healthy, so they explained that they really enjoy seeing ample free choice 3-sided shelters in pastures. “Pastures should not be overcrowded, and herds should be managed to ensure peaceful, healthy interactions among the horses,” they told us. “Routine farrier and vet services at the recommended intervals are also vital to horses’ well-being.”

Matt and Amy shared with us that the most rewarding part of performing inspections is witnessing high quality care and attention that these horses deserve. “Seeing that the horses are receiving the best possible care and are meeting and even exceeding Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance standards of care–that is the most rewarding,” Matt and Amy elaborated.

“Matt and I greatly appreciate the high standards of care mandated by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance,” Amy wrote.  “The fact that these farms are monitored to ensure that the standards of care are upheld is wonderful to see. We are both honored to be a part of this endeavor”.

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