Anyplace else, General Jackson probably would’ve been euthanized. Several veterinarians have recommended it. Ever since he was a foal, the Tennessee walking horse has suffered health problems, including laminitis, a painful hoof condition that requires constant attention. But “The General,” as he’s fondly known, had the luck to be born where respect for animals is unconditional, come as they may.
Holly Point Farm, the country home of real estate developer Ramon W. Breeden Jr. and his wife Lucy Breeden, is a pastoral 400-acre animal paradise that has evolved over 44 years from a retreat to a sanctuary.
Past its iron gates is an arrow-straight driveway lined by ancient pines, sweetgums and oaks – some old enough to have witnessed the birth of this nation. Visitors are greeted by a herd of languid black angus, chewing cud and swatting flies with their tails, relaxing in the shade of an open forest without fear of ever seeing the inside of a slaughterhouse.
In every direction, outbuildings occupy corners of the working farm: barns for equipment storage, an expansive chicken coop, an eight-stall stable, a three-car garage with a loft. And, of course, there’s the main house, which features two grand entrances: one opens to the circular brick driveway; the other, just as expansive and welcoming, faces the wide and glittering North River, a nod to the days when water was the main highway.
Ray Breeden was a scrappy entrepreneur in his younger days with bona fides from the University of Virginia and a determination to make a name for himself. A Richmond native, he spent weekends with his family on the Rappahannock River.
In 1961 he founded The Breeden Company – now one of the nation’s leading real estate development firms. And when his grit secured success, Breeden purchased a farm near Charlottesville. Eventually, he wanted something closer to Hampton Roads, where he was busy building a business empire.
He bought Holly Point Farm in 1978 and set about updating the modest 900-square-foot home on the property. Today the main house resembles an 18th-century manor, with wings spreading from the core, columns rising at each main entrance, and a screened breezeway welcoming the brackish winds that blow across the long, green lawn between house and river.
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