Discover Hanover: Hanover Shoe Farms

It’s that time of year again!  Chamber staff members are hard at work on the 2016 Discover Hanover magazine, set for publication in early May.  We are so excited about the interviews and articles that we’re working on that we felt it only fair to share a sneak peek into what’s going on behind the scenes. 

Hanover Shoe FarmsChamber Intern Shannon Wissler had the pleasure of visiting the Hanover Shoe Farms for the first time and spoke with Dale Welk, longtime employee, about their prized racing horses and the specialized care that they give them.

The Hanover Shoe Farms specialize in standardbred horses, which are the horses that race with a small jockey in a ‘sulky’, a cart attached to a harness on the horse. Welk and his co-workers joke about how different sulky racing a horse is from the typical jockey-on-horse racing that most of us imagine when we think of horse races.

“Anybody can ride a horse, but it takes skill to drive one,” laughed Welk.

Welk emphasized how important it is for people to the farms and take the time to learn about horses. He explained that horses are strong, powerful creatures who can be unpredictable at times, but given the proper care by experienced hands they can be gentle giants. That is why the farm has started a new program to work with yearlings every afternoon, petting them and teaching the foals to get over their fear of humans. Welk said that it is important to interact with them in situations other than just grooming or giving them shots. The farm teaches their foals that there are benefits that come with human interaction other than the sometimes unpleasant vaccines that are necessary.

Hanover Shoe FarmsTaking the proper steps to socialize the horses and tame them is a priority of Hanover Shoe Farms, which is why they have recently begun bringing the young foals that they will be selling to the fairgrounds in Hanover seven to eight weeks before being sold. There, the foals are worked with day in and day out, being groomed and rubbed to make a friendly horse.

It is obvious that the employees that work on the farm are truly passionate about their jobs and the horses on the farms. Several members of the Hanover Shoe Farm team have been working there for over 30 years. Welk has been working for the farm for over 40 years, following in his father’s footsteps who worked there for 45. Welk started spending his summers at the farm when he was 14 and over time has worked with essentially every aspect of the farm, whether that be on the farm working maintenance or being a “desk jockey” with sales. Welk and the rest of the staff at Shoe Farms are committed to keeping the farm thriving.

The remainder of this article will be featured in the 2016 “Discover Hanover” magazine. To learn more about the horses and racing history of the Hanover Shoe Farms, schedule a guided tour.  Visitors can walk through four barns, two for stallions and two for mares and their foals, and along the surrounding fields . Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to visit, and during the spring (March through May) is the best time to see mares and foals up close.  

The farm is open for self-guided tours seven days a week during daylight hours.  Between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors are likely to find a worker who can answer questions about the farm and horses. For more information, visit  www.hanoverpa.com or Hanover Shoe Farms, Inc., 2310 Hanover Pike, and 717-637-8931.

If you would like additional information about “Discover Hanover” or would like to appear in an upcoming issue, please see advertising rates here or contact Katy King, Marketing & PR Director for more information.