In 1989, Curt and Phyllis Collins purchased and built Timber Hill Stables (later named Furnace Brook Farm) for their daughter Christine to train Morgan horses. Timber Hill was a modern equine facility that housed 15 stalls, an outdoor arena and large turnouts. Timber Hill featured an active lesson program and was home to champion Morgan horses that included Syndicat Legaltender, Tedwin Timberlane and Van Lu Magnum Force. In 1994, seeking a larger space for her growing business, Christine moved to Kingston, Massachusetts and transitioned Timber Hill to a larger property where she continues a successful operation today.
The farm was maintained as a boarding stable until Curt and Phyllis's daughter, Erin, graduated from college in 1996. That year, Furnace Brook Farm was launched as Erin began her own business, teaching young riders and training Morgan dressage horses. The farm continued to evolve as a place for students who were new to riding as well as those who sought to compete locally, regionally and nationally. FBF held a horsemanship camp during summer and school vacations and was licensed by the State of Massachusetts and Town of Marshfield. Campers learned about horse care, equine behavior and barn management.
Dressage enthusiasts found a home at Furnace Brook Farm, where training was offered through second level and clinics were held throughout the year with top dressage riders and judges. Within the Morgan world, FBF became a driving influence in the development of the junior rider dressage division. Erin's students were setting a standard of excellence in competitions, consistently winning throughout the region.
In 1996, FBF had its first Morgan World Champion when Erin and Syndical Legaltender were crowned the Training Level World Champions at the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show.
Since Erin’s victory pass at the Grand National, nine Furnace Brook Farm students have been named Morgan Grand National World or Reserve World Champions. Two of those students won the coveted AMHA Gold Medal finals in dressage. In 2005 present day instructor Katie Murphy won two World Championship titles and in 2013 fellow instructor Kate Daly followed suit winning two titles of her own. The instructors at FBF are now passing on their award winning riding skills to their students in an empathetic and engaging manner.
Commitment to Excellence
Today, Furnace Brook Farm continues its legacy as a multigenerational business led by the Collins and Van Steenburgh (Erin and husband, Darren) families. Over the years, the FBF lesson program has grown and upgrades to the property have continued. The addition of stalls, incorporation of new horses, installation of a standard dressage arena and purchase of adjacent property have continued to evolve the facility. These ongoing investments help to improve FBF and ensure a safe and quality experience for riders, equines and staff.
Throughout her career, Erin has been guided by a value instilled by her parents: inclusiveness. Building upon this, Erin learned more about the unique role of equines in therapeutic riding and became intrigued with the idea of providing access to persons who may not have the opportunity to interact with horses due to cognitive or physical challenges.
In 2016, Erin earned her Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor certification from PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship). She was joined by two FBF instructors who today, along with Erin, teach FBF's therapeutic program students. In addition, Furnace Brook Farm is home base (barn) to the JRI (Justice Resource Institute) Equine Therapy Program, Trot On.
FBF is evolving as a therapeutic riding hub on the South Shore, welcoming students and their families to the farm to experience the transformative power and healing nature of horses.