Linda was raised on a beef cattle farm in Fincastle, Va. twenty miles north of Roanoke, within close proximity to the Virginia Horse Center. Her early love for horses was inherited from her parents, who both rode as children and were involved in competitive saddle seat equitation. Linda and her sister showed an early passion for riding and were the reason that the Farmers became more involved in the horse world.
Linda’s parents were avid fox hunters, and her Father became a serious competitor in endurance and competitive trail riding. As the prices on horses began to rise, Frank and Lois Farmer began to breed their own sport horses and ponies, some of which are still in the Furches family today. They bought a pony named Farnley Brenda in 1982, who became their foundation pony broodmare. They produced many ponies and horses for the hunter ring, fox hunting, and endurance.
Linda was not your typical show rider. She was a dedicated and hardworking kid who broke her own ponies and helped neighboring farms break thoroughbreds for the track. As a teenager, Linda showed primarily in the hunter ring. She trained with J.T. Tallon and Pete Hawkins in the southwest Virginia area. During her senior year of high school, Linda rode with Will Barcelli who had been a member of Peru’s Pan American Team. Training with Will taught her the importance of flatwork & was her first introduction to the eventing world.
Linda attended Hollins College (now University) near Roanoke, Va. She rode for Hollins on the collegiate circuit all 4 years and was the student head of riding under Nancy Peterson, Liz Courter, and Guy Burkholder. After graduating with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science, Linda worked as a software consultant for 8 years, while continuing to ride and compete, breaking horses for Leonard Duffy, Master of the Monmouth County Hunt.
In 1991 Linda and Rick purchased the farmland in the Oley Valley, beginning the process of building Foxtale Farm. Linda brought 6 horses and ponies up from her parent’s farm in Va., officially launching the business. For the first few years, she was starting young horses and taught a handful of students. Their children, Chris and Katie, became involved in showing on the local level, competing in 4H and participating in Pony Club activities.
From 1996 – 1999 Linda competed her bay thoroughbred, Ariandis (Alf), from Novice through the Advanced level, finishing the Radnor CCI 2* in the top 30%, thus qualifying for the CCI 3* at Fair Hill. A chronic injury ended Alf’s eventing career in 1999, but he went on to teach many students the ropes in the hunter ring.
Both kids started riding in the rated shows in the late ’90s, having much success. Katie remained a highly accomplished rider through her IHSA college years, where she also attended Hollins University, twice competing in the USEF/Cacchione Cup Championships.
Today Linda has a thriving business centered around a busy training and show schedule. She incorporates clients from multiple disciplines, including hunter and jumper riders who have competed at Harrisburg, Washington, and Devon…..as well as many adult hunter riders who compete locally as well. She has coached riders to the win at NAL finals and has earned Top 10 placings at Pony Finals.
Linda now focuses on bringing along kids and amateurs who compete at the regional Zone 2 level. She thrives on passing on her lifetime of knowledge by catering to the next generation of riders through Foxtale Farm’s training, lesson, and hugely popular summer camp for the kids.