Ted Carson of Butler Farm Training Center
International Professional & Arabian Horseman
Tucked discretely into the lush green countryside of the coastal plains of North Carolina, lies an Arabian horse operation that has been quietly building over the past 14 years. As the work day begins at Butler Farms Training Center, the horses whinny with impatience while they await their morning meal. The staff moves quietly about their
tasks, which center around the care and management of some of the most beautiful and talented Arabian horses in the world. Beneath the smooth fluidity of daily farm
rituals hums the globally recognized entity whose name is synonymous with the man who runs it. Ted Carson is the driving force behind Butler Farms Training Center, the Arabian horse enterprise he co-owns with Cecil and Frances Butler.
Ted’s passion for the Arabian horse and the people involved with them knows no boundaries, which has enabled Butler Farms Training Center to become the world class breeding, training, and marketing powerhouse that it is today. On any given day, Ted may be judging or showing horses in some location around the world, assisting his clients in determining and reaching their personal goals with their horses, or searching out the next bloodline he
feels will complement his and his clients’ breeding programs. Ted has presented horses throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Brazil. He has judged numerous shows at the Regional and National level in North America, as well as major shows in other countries such as Australia and Israel. Breeding programs around the world include horses bred or marketed by Ted. With over 30 years of experience with Arabian horses, Ted has not only built a solid reputation as an internationally talented trainer and handler, he is also an internationally respected judge and breeder.
Global connections have proven to be beneficial for Ted Carson and his clients. Not only have marketing opportunities resulted, but also Ted’s expertise has expanded over the years. Today, clients look to him for advice and direction with their breeding programs, many of which he played a major role in establishing. According to Ted, the process he employs begins with selecting top quality fillies or mares to breed. Next, stallions with the potential to produce exceptional offspring with those mares are sought after to stand at BFTC and be bred to these mares. When the foals arrive, they are evaluated, promoted, and/or marketed. A few of the young horses are retained for breeding and the process begins again. In this way Ted and his clients create an exclusive sourceof extremely high quality horses to show, promote, breed and market.
Relative to breeding, the stallion roster at Butler Farms Training Center currently contains some of the most sought after sires in the world, including SF Veraz, Shanghai EA, and ML Mostly Padron. Butler Farms Training Center also normally houses a fantastic group of broodmares that generally results in approximately 15 foals born on the farm each year.
Ted feels that each avenue of involvement he has with the Arabian horse has given him deeper insight and clarity in directing the future of Butler Farms. “As a handler and trainer, I understand the importance of producing results in the show arena. Becoming a judge changed how I evaluate horses and also how I train and present my horses. Breeding my own horses gave me a great appreciation, understanding and respect for not only my clients, but all the people in this industry who are breeders.”
Additionally, Ted feels that having access to many horses from around the world allows him to better advise his clients. “No matter where I go there is an interest in beautiful, classic Arabian horses. Today I look for something more than just a beautiful face or a good stand up when I judge a show, evaluate a client’s horse, or decide how to breed mares. I want a complete horse; one with type, superior conformation, excellent movement and breeding potential.”
In terms of bringing new people into the Arabian horse industry, Ted is a deeply committed advocate for the Arabian horse. “Although I have been in this business for over two decades, I now have a greater appreciation for the horses and all the ways they have enhanced my life. For that reason, I feel strongly about sharing the Arabian horse with others and introducing new people to the breed. I believe the horses have something to offer people of all ages and from all walks of life.”
Although Ted is constantly jetting off to differing locations, he is fully involved with all activities on site at Butler Farms Training Center. Even so, he credits the accomplishments of Butler Farms Training Center to his business partners, his clients, and his staff. After all, he states, the authenticity of an organization lies in the
strength of its foundation. Two people who make up the core of Butler Farms’ foundation are Cecil and Frances Butler. “C.A. and Frances Butler are two of the most incredible people I have had the opportunity to be associated with in my lifetime. They have offered guidance and taught me how to run a business. Over the years they have become two of my closest friends, to the point of family.” They own the farm that is home to Butler Farms Training Center. It is a world class facility, comprised of a 66 stall Colonial style main barn, two riding arenas, a state of the art stallion service station, and multiple turnout paddocks that spread over a portion of the 550 acres of lush pastures.
The clientele of BFTC is made up of a diverse group of people who share a common interest in the Arabian horse. Ted describes them as, “wonderful people” and “good friends”. Of his clients, Ted states, “It is inspiring to have such a strong group of breeders that send amazing animals to us and allow us to be a part of their programs.” In chatting with a few of the people Ted has had business dealings with, a mutual respect is evident.
The training programs offered at BFTC encompass nearly every discipline of competition available. In addition to halter horses, Ted has trained performance horses throughout his career. “From the beginning of my involvement with Arabians, I have been a trainer of both halter and performance horses. From riding and training horses, I learned the importance of good conformation and form to function, which are important elements to understand when determining a client’s goals.”
Two key individuals oversee the daily activities at the farm. Leading the performance training division for the past four years is the talented young horsewoman, Kristin Huntsberger. Kristin began her involvement as a youth rider and has been a professional for the
past ten years. She apprenticed with some of the top trainers across the country, but it seems that Kristin has put down roots at BFTC.
She rides 15 to 20 horses each day, most of which are hunt and western horses, and gives lessons to amateur riders throughout theweek. Over the past couple of years, Kristin and her amateurs have won Regional titles up and down the East Coast, in Scottsdale, and at the U.S. Nationals. When asked what is the best thing about BFTC, Kristin replies, “It’s knowing that Ted and Brandi have my best interest at heart. They always encourage me to be my best. I really love coming to work in such a positive environment.”
The second key individual is assistant halter trainer, Cory Byrne. Originally from Minnesota, Cory has been with BFTC for over 3 years and plays a major role in conditioning and schooling the halter horses, as well as preparing them for presentations and the show ring. According to Ted, “Both Cory and Kristin have become valued members of the BFTC team. With them at the farm, I know that each horse is getting the individualized attention it needs while I am on the road.”
The soft nicker of a foal greeting his dam can be faintly heard as the sun begins to descend into the clouds signaling the end of another day. Whether at home or away at a horse show, it is clear that Ted Carson’s passion for the Arabian horse will continue to drive Butler Farms Training Center for many years to come.