Bentfork History

In the beginning…

Bentfork Farms is a small family owned business originally established in 1984. Owners, Bob and Jean Ball envisioned a quiet retreat to raise their family outside of the busy city bustle and enjoy the simpler things in life that come with the rural lifestyle. With that in mind the farm was started with 3 weanling calves, chickens, goats and guineas. Eventually with two of their four children crazy for horses, Kaye the middle daughter, purchased a small Arabian cross and another older retired horse was adopted for the younger children, Robert and Christie. Eventually, more goats, peacocks, Ostrich (Rheas) and turkeys were added to the farm. As much as all the animals were enjoyed, interest was shifted to focus mainly on the horses as the girls pursued their dream of riding and showing.

Built in stages, the barn which currently stands on 23 acres was built by hand with the help of friends and family. The original section which houses the hayloft was erected in 1983 with 8 stalls and a feed/tack room. As lessons and weekend trail rides progressed, boarding was offered for a few outside family members and friends. The rural Kelleytown community offered many miles of dirt roads and trails in the 80’s that hosted hours of weekend miles on horseback. As the interest in showing became more prominent, the riding arena was added. Christie became involved in the local Henry County 4-H Club where she participated in the local shows, judging and competitions. The farm hosted many 4-H sponsored events such as fun shows, fundraisers and clinics. Lessons were offered by Kaye and a select few other instructors focusing mainly on hunter under saddle and basic horsemanship.

With a booming interest in the community for equine activities, phase 2 began on the barn and 5 more stalls a bunkhouse and restroom were added to accommodate the demand. One year later, phase 3 was complete which is now our tack room and double wash rack. Overnight summer camps were a favorite among the kids which offered basic riding, drill teams, stable management, trail rides, swimming, fishing and more. Our students finalized their week of camp with a horse show where they demonstrated skills learned throughout the week. Many memories were made by students and staff alike. By the late 90’s business had shifted to focus more on boarding and less activities. Kaye returned to work full time and left Jean with the daily management and upkeep of the farm. By now, Bob was ready to retire so in 2002 the decision was made to close the barn and take to the road in their RV for a well earned start on retirement. Our farm was quiet once again.

7 Years Later- **Under New management**

In 2009 a random phone call opened the doors to new venture for the barn. Lorie Delk, a former lesson student of Kaye’s, called to ask some advice about opening her own boarding barn which had been a dream of hers since childhood. This simple gesture opened up a whole new possibility which led to her becoming the new Manager/Operator for the farm. Lorie and Bryan Delk opened up under the name of Galloway Farms in December of 2009. The farm once again was alive with activity. During their 5 year tenure Galloway built up a reputable business with a family atmosphere offering boarding, lessons and training for all ages.With limited trail riding due to community development, Galloway offered a variety of riding opportunities in the arena, pasture access and local parks and farms within reasonable trailering distance. The Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers, Ga. Is a favorite for endless trails, arena practice and showing. Boarders were able to take advantage of onsite instructors or welcome to bring in their own personal trainers to assist them with their riding skills. Lesson horses were also available to students who did not own their own mounts. Once again, summer camps, picnics, pony parties and clinics kept the staff busy as business continued to boom. The riding disciplines at the farm varied including hunter/jumper, western pleasure, running events and roping. Keeping a simple approach Galloway welcomed each and every discipline encouraging the overall enjoyment of horse ownership as their main goal. Nearing the end of their tenure, Lorie and Bryan made the decision to turn their focus onto family and retire from full-time barn management. With many happy boarders so disappointed to see them go, they reluctantly pulled away in December of 2013 and turned the reins back over to Kaye to re-open under the original name of Bentfork Farms. The Delks have announced that they will be welcoming a new addition to their family in June, 2014! Their only daughter, Kensley, has officially decided to pass her pony down to her new little brother when the time is right!

Where we are now

The transition back to Bentfork Farms was supported graciously by the entire group of boarders and barn affiliates. The barn family drew together and offered assistance as needed, volunteering services and time to get the new team rolling. Our small operation is run in a very casual, laid back atmosphere where you can enjoy your horse without a barn full of drama. We offer a barn where any riding discipline is welcome and mutual respect among fellow horsemen is both expected and appreciated. We are no frills and thrills, providing basic board with daily stall cleaning, riding arena, wash rack and basic vet/farrier scheduling. Although most of our current boarders are adults seeking quality services and time to spend with their horses, children are welcome as well.

We do not offer lessons or schooling horses but do allow boarders to work with their personal trainers on the premises. Care is provided for each horse to keep them healthy, happy and safe. We offer blanketing as needed in colder weather but encourage a more natural winter coat. We do not offer “show board” at this time due to limited staff and resources. Our pastures are communal, divided only between mares and geldings. We do have some smaller turnout paddocks for limited separate turnout time due to illness, injury or temporary need. Our facilities are not suitable for accepting stallions. For more information on boarding policies, please see boarding agreement. Bentfork Farms will remain a small, family oriented facility where the simple things in life are cherished. No fuss, no fight, no drugs or illegal substances. If you’re looking for a place to call home for you special equine friend we encourage you to stop by and see us some time.