The history of Penrose Farm is, in great part, a vocational biography of Mrs. Christine “Teenie” Hayworth. Teenie starting riding horses at age 8 and was encouraged by her father and her Godmother Hope Scott despite her mother’s objections. She was a determined young lady from an early age and she was determined to be a horse person. When no one at home would transport her to the barn, she was known to take a taxi by herself (and a taxi to the hospital once when she fell off) and would sneak in and out of her house, sometimes riding her bike to the barn across town. Of her childhood beginnings, Teenie says, “I was obsessed. I was going to ride even if I had to cheat and lie. I never could give up that smell…that feeling of being around horses.” After marrying and moving from Pennsylvania to Tennessee, she missed having horses in her life until, at age 24, she purchased some undeveloped country land in what then was far western Knox County.
Starting with 115 acres and a barn with a roof and nothing else, she and worker, Bernie Green, got a bunch of 10x12s and set up stalls. They mixed concrete in a wheelbarrow and starting sinking the fence posts that remain on the farm today. She bought two horses and started teaching lessons. This humble beginning was the start of a life journey in creating and growing the Penrose legacy.
The place really starting humming when Penrose became home to the newly-founded Tennessee Valley Hunt – kennels and all. Teenie would follow the hunt as they made their way around what is now Kensington and Whittington Creek subdivisions, mopping up fallen riders and lost hounds.
In 1976, Teenie built a house on the property and moved to Penrose with her husband, Dr. Ray Hayworth, and their large family. It was a busy time in all ways. It seemed that there was always something going on related to either the United States Pony Club or the venerated Penrose Event, as well as the ongoing lessons, shows, working students, and clinics with renowned equestrian professionals.
Oh, and the animals…besides the original fox hounds, over the past 50+ years, Penrose has sheltered and spoiled a veritable cavalry of horses, ponies, dogs, and cats, as well as two mules named Lucy and Christopher, and a goat named Webster. Dogs and cats continue to find their way to Penrose Farm where they all are given a job to do.
But, Teenie says, “it’s the people who make this place – they have made this farm what it is. My favorite part of the farm has been the connections I have made with the people.” Lasting friendships are shaped and nurtured in this place where humans and animals forge close interconnections.
A string of wonderfully talented barn managers and trainers have helped build the dream: Susan Ashe, Cheryl Ward, and Deb Willson (who ran the barn for 25 years and still clinics there), followed by Leslie Wereszczak, Heather Craig, Laura Smith Benton, Andrea Seaman, and Christen Khym.
There are also the right hand men and women who have kept the place functioning. From Junior to George Beetes and Ed Ford, to Allen Borden, Jon Wells, David Hagwood, Julie Stover, Charlie Emert, Kristen Wallis, Amanda Hardcastle, Julie Pate, and John Stewart.
Initially located on the far Western fringe of Knoxville, city growth and the county housing spread have resulted in its natural landscape being surrounded by densely developed subdivisions.
Acting on her passion for conserving open space and her interest in being a good steward of the land, Mrs. Hayworth put the property in a conservation easement with the Foothills Land Conservancy in 2007. As a result, this property can never fall prey to residential or commercial development and remain an undeveloped jewel of green space in perpetuity.