Renowned equestrian architect and author of Healthy Stables by Design, John Blackburn spoke at the National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg, VA on April 17. The successful event lasted for about two and a half hours including Blackburn’s book signing and a presentation on his approach for designing barns for the health and safety of horses. The presentation was followed by a question and answer period and individual discussions about barn design and barn preservation. Curator of Fellowships and Rare Books at the National Sporting Library, Lisa Campbell introduced Blackburn at the event.


Among those present was Jacqueline Mars, an avid equestrian supporter shown through her efforts as a trustee of the U.S. Equestrian Team and a Board member of the National Sporting Library and Fine Art Museum. Joe Fargis, a U.S. Olympic gold medal winner in show jumping; Vicky Moon, a talented equestrian writer and photographer; Mariann Payne, Director of Principal Gifts of the Trust for the National Mall; and Lester Buckley, a client of Blackburn’s in Hawaii and owner of Buckley Sport Horses, LLC. were also in attendance. Buckley’s website can be seen here.

The presentation was broken into three parts in which Blackburn began with a little history and background on how he got started designing for horses and the topic of designing stables around the health and safety of horses. Blackburn also discussed the details of his book Healthy Stables By Design. While telling the history, Blackburn included his first client Clarice Smith, owner of Heronwood Farm in Upperville, VA. Blackburn recognized Clarice Smith as an extremely valuable client. Mrs. Smith was unable to attend due to injuries from a fall just days before.

Incidentally, Clarice Smith has a special show of her equestrian art at her National Sporting Museum on view from April 11 to September 28 2014, adjacent to the library. Her show called Power and Grace illustrates her talent for painting, her passion for horses, and her love of her farm, Heronwood.

A number of copies of Blackburn’s book were sold, with proceeds to the National Sporting Library to support funding efforts.