New horse ranch opens in Allen County

Local News

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – The land has a long history of horses. But until now, it wasn’t open to the public.

“It’s really fun to be able to put it back together and bring something new and really neat to this area,” Sydney Shank, the Barn Manager at Blackstone Ranch, said.

Blackstone Ranch officially opened Monday off Kress Road in southwest Allen County. It’s the same property where Dick Freeland’s horse farm used to be. Freeland owned the Pizza Huts in Fort Wayne and surrounding areas, which enabled him to build a multi-million dollar estate that’s become known as the Freeland Mansion and breed Arabian horses at private stables. Freeland passed away in 2013.

Now, a new owner of the horse farm is giving the property new life and public access. Blackstone will offer lessons and stables for people to board their horses.

“We’ll have everything from beginners to English riders, Western riders – we want to make this a versatile barn,” Shank said. “We’ve got big, strong stalls to house any kind of horse, so all are welcome.”

Another group had purchased the farm at auction and planned to turn it into a wedding venue. Those plans fell through, and last winter, Fort Wayne businessman Todd Smith, who is also Shank’s father-in-law, bought the property.

“He’s a business guy and I’m a horse girl. We’re passionate about what we do,” Shank said. “It needed a lot of work. Because it was going to be a wedding venue, they took out all the horse stalls and there was a lot of damage in the arena. We spent all summer putting it together.”

Everything at Blackstone Ranch is new. The arena, which has the option to be heated, had new footing installed. That’s where the riding lessons will happen.

There are 26 brand new stalls and 20 are currently available. There are also irrigated pastures.

Shank is currently responding to people interested in lessons and boarding horses. She hopes lessons will start in November.

Anyone interested in Blackstone Ranch at can contact the ranch on its Facebook page or call (260) 715-1745.

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