About Us

Marilyn Macfarlane

Marilyn started her career in Charleston, West Virginia. At the early age of 16, she established a thriving riding school at her own Breezy Knoll Stables. She received a B.A in Education. She was greatly influenced by her own instruction under Helen Crabtree and Don Reinhart. She took the assistant trainer position at Happy Valley Farms where Bob Vessel, Lloyd Teater and Sam Brannon trained. In 1973, still in her twenties, she purchased a beautiful farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky that she named Walnut Way. As an owner, trainer, instructor and judge, Marilyn has celebrated many, many championships of both horse and rider.

Marilyn received the prestigious Audrey Pugh Gutridge Award in recognition for achievement measured by character, talent, courage, determination and style. Her riders would agree that good sportsmanship and an endearing love of the horse are paramount in Marilyn’s philosophy. This leads to the success that many of her Walnut Way champions have proven and continue to prove…Whiplash, Copper Locket, Stormy Breeze, Glenview’s Warlock, Coaltown Prince, The Count, Tijuana Starlet, April Hill’s Red Gold, Shining Brightly, Braveheart, Heir Calendar Girl, Prowler’s Madness, Fancy Ribbons, Music of the Heir, Heartland’s Flurry, She’s Fancy Free, Flamethrower, Bask Warlock, Fire Water, New York Style, Attache’s Three Of A Kind, Banter, Broadway Joe, Jetstream, Wait And Sees Whiz Bang, Admiral’s Gifted Miss, Chatterbox and Moonmist …with champion riders Janna Weir, Erin Rudder, Jennifer Hall, Leah Boyd, Angela and Mitzi Graham, Leigh Anne Dagenford, Barbara Irwin, Dana
Perry, Margaret Schmitt, Yasmin and Fatima Wazir to name a few.

Marilyn Macfarlane is a National and International Judge. She has traveled throughout the United States, England and South Africa judging National Championships and the World Cup Saddleseat Finals. She is also a member of the United Professional Horseman’s Association and the United States Equestrian Federation where she served on the Equitation Committee, Saddlehorse Committee, Hackney Committee and Pleasure Driving Committee. She has served as the UPHA Chapter Chairman in West Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Emily Hall

Emily, the riding instructor, has been involved in the Saddlebred industry for nearly 20 years. She began taking riding lessons and showing in Academy classes around the age of six and showed in many divisions during her time as a junior exhibitor. She has showing experience in Equitation, Country and show pleasure, and 5-gaited Performance classes. She was also on the championship winning University of Kentucky Saddleseat team. She was the assistant riding instructor at Diamond View Farm, where she fell in love with sharing her affection for the sport with others, young and old.

Outside of the barn, she is a middle school teacher and is able to incorporate her educational strategies into every riding lesson.

Christy Villa

Christy, the Farm Manager at Walnut Way, was born in West Virginia and moved to Kentucky in 2000. She is married to Roberto Villa and has a son: Marques. Being the niece of Marilyn Macfarlane, she was fortunate to grow up at Walnut Way. Summers were spent attending horse camps and horse shows. When she became older, she spent hers summers as the camp counselor and caretaker of the horses.

When she moved to Kentucky permanently, she took the position of secretary for Walnut Way. She quickly became much more and now as Business Manager, she oversees all aspects of the day to day workings of the stables.

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