Hunterdon Barns Series- Mountain Manor Farm

Mountain Manor Farm was named after the family's former Dairy Farm "Mountainside Dairy Farm" which was run by Sharon Ortepio's grandparents, Eva and Martin Masar. They came from the then "Slovakia" section of Europe and eventually settled in New Jersey where they created a mini town within the Taylortown section of Montville. It was there that Martin built by hand a stone tavern, stone service station and stone house. It served as a regional gathering place for Slovaks who came from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey to celebrate their traditions in dance, food and religion.

When Sharon moved to Readington and found their current farm site, it seemed that the name of the farm had to be carried on in some fashion, hence 'Mountain' became part of the name. Now horses played an integral role in the family's original farm, but in the capacity of work horses and for transportation. While that tradition was not quite carried on……the horse part did!

Now many years later, Mountain Manor Farm serves as home base to the Ortepio's collection of horses and ponies and memories of the beloved dairy farm. The Ortepio children started their horse careers in their first back yard farm in the Whitehouse Station section of Readington. They were avid members of the Amwell Valley Pony Club where Sharon served as Den Mother and ran summer camps for the kids at "Windy Hill Farm" in Bedminster.

When the "horsin' around" starting getting serious, the Ortepios moved to Mountain Manor Farm where more horses and ponies could be accommodated. For a short time, they hosted pony club lessons. Sharon's daughter Katelyn had a wonderful horse that was leased to her by a very generous friend, Marcia Zweerink who also introduced them to her trainer, Sara Schmitt. Just as time often reveals the talent of the rider, Katelyn set her sights on competing as a North American Young Rider in Dressage. Although Sharon thought this a lofty goal, she was willing to give it a shot!

So off on the adventure they went - horse shopping . Many miles later, and in Texas of all places, they found a very talented Dutch Horse, Kudra, by Rampal. This was the first warmblood horse.

Meanwhile, Steven was a talented hunter rider doing the mini and short stirrup divisions under the guidance of Ann Evans, Sharon's friend and trainer for many, many years. Ann had introduced Sharon to Old Dogwood Hill Farm where over the years she purchased Dogwoods Destiny, Prime Time, Norman and Canuck. Sharon had 'Erin' for twelve years. Unfortunately a little while after the move to Mountain Manor Farm, the beloved thoroughbred, DOGWOODS DESTINY,aka Erin, who was a NJ Bred Champion, on the line and over fences, died suddenly. Sharon stopped riding for a while after that - actually 3 years.

Eventually, the dressage bug bit Sharon too. Henceforth GRETA, a big,bold, chestnut mare by Graf Grande who had competed very successfully thru fourth level. After many seasons of wonderful horse shows, and their own successes, Greta is semi-retired at the farm. She is turned out with 'her' pony, YANKEE DOODLE, who has been loved and ridden by many, many children throughout NJ. He was Kate's pony club mount and has a well deserved place of honor at the farm.

Most recently, the farm purchased a Selle Francais, "Fred" in a partnership. He is an FEI horse who Katelyn competed in the 2005 show season in the North American Young Rider Division, completing the season amongst very tough competition.

The farm is very proud to have Kudra, who Katelyn competed through Prix St. George. The pair won many Region 1 Championships, First thru Third level, including Musical Free Styles, as well as Reserve Champion in the BLM Championships. Although Kudra is a mare, there are no immediate plans to bred her as she is now competing at Grand Prix level with Sara Schmitt, who recently rode her to win a USDF Gold Medal!!!!!

Mountain Manor Farm has a lovely six stall, center aisle barn with a full size dressage arena. It has lovely turn out paddocks and fields and spacious stalls with dutch doors which open to individual turn outs. It is in close proximity to hundreds of acres of the Readington Trail System. Family owned, there is someone on the farm 24-7.

Katelyn and 'Fred' at the FESTIVAL OF CHAMPIONS 2005
North American Young Rider Divison
USET - Gladstone, NJ

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