Diamond Lane Farm ideal for all occasions
Owner has been successful breeder of Percheron horses since 2003
BAKERS SUMMIT — Terry Woodring admits he put the cart before the horse.
“I am from Hollidaysburg, I am a town boy, I didn’t grow up on a farm. I bought a sleigh in 1985, and bought a horse to hook onto it in 1987 and that became Diamond Lane Carriage Services,” said Woodring, 61.
He operated that business from Blue Knob until he and his wife, Dr. Gail Ianson-Woodring, a veterinarian, bought a farm in Bloomfield Township in 1991.
Today, Diamond Lane Farm focuses on hosting weddings, birthday parties, reunions and company picnics as well as breeding, raising and selling Percheron draft horses.
Woodring in the original house — which has been remodeled — of the farm that was established in 1870.
Woodring — known as “Woody” — has changed the business model throughout the years.
In 2001, he built a 1,500 square-foot building to host events, and he also uses a 3,200-square-foot tent so he can hold up to 250 people at those events.
He hosted his first wedding in 2004.
“It started when a friend asked me if they could rent a tent and have it here. When it was over, I said that went smooth and it was something to look into,” Woodring said.
During the first year, he hosted six weddings, and that number grew to 18 by 2017.
“It seems like it is a trend to use farm venues among young people. The majority of my weddings, the people are 20 to 30 years old. It is a more social event. They mingle, line up to see the horses in the field. This is a more casual relaxed setting,” Woodring said.
Both Elizabeth Herbaugh and Marlene Gibson were married at Diamond Lane Farm.
“I had been going to Diamond Lane Farm since I was 8 years old to go on hay rides with my church. I was familiar with Terry and the venue itself. It had everything I was looking for: I wanted an outdoor ceremony and reception and the carriage ride with the horses. It was my dream wedding. I had a fabulous experience,” said Herbaugh, who was married to her husband, Adam, on July 2, 2016.
“My husband and I liked the outdoors, it was a nice scenic area. This was the perfect fit for us,” said Gibson, who was married to her husband, Matthew, on Sept. 4, 2016.
Diamond Lane Farm is a two-time winner for favorite wedding reception venue in the Mirror and Blair Living Hometown Favorites competition, and it received the Excellence in Agri-Business Award from the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce in 2017.
“That told me that I must be doing something right. Your customers and the public tell you how well you are doing,” Woodring said.
“Diamond Lane Farm has become one of the area’s premier wedding venues, complete with a seasonal tent adjacent to an enchanting barn, decorated with gorgeous flowers and wagon wheels. For brides in search of rustic elegance, Diamond Lane provides the place for beautiful outdoor ceremonies and celebrations, painted with seasonal colors from spring through fall. The stable of proud Percheron horses provides an arrival fit for a princess, as well as special events from youth group hay rides to romantic winter outings via sleigh,” wrote Kellie Goodman Shaffer, executive director of the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce.
Blair Companies of Altoona has been holding its company picnic at Diamond Lane Farm for the past several years.
“Our companies love the setting and the amenities at Diamond Lane Farm. Terry is easy to work with, and each year, he enhances the property to make it more inviting. When we rent the facility, we have a feeling of safety for our employees and families, since only one event takes place at a given time,” said Andrea Cohen, vice president.
The Smithfield Church of the Brethren is a regular at Diamond Lane.
“We go out for a hayride every fall. It is just a great place to go. He has a really nice setup. We love it, and the kids love it. I would recommend it to anyone,” said Rod Ayers, church secretary/ treasurer.
Woodring raised his first Percheron at the farm
That first mare, Diamond Lane Royal Jewels, was leased by Pennwoods Percherons of Centre Hall and was in the winning six horse hitch of registered Percheron mares at the national show in Indianapolis, Ind., in 2008, and the reserve world champion hitch in Toronto the same year. In 2010, she was the winning world champion hitch in Des Moines, Iowa, with Trippcrest Farms from Harrison, Maine.
“We started out the gates with a good one,” Woodring said.
Woodring said he typical-ly raises three or four Percherons a year.
“We breed them and then sell them. Our program is based on quality not quantity. We don’t breed just to breed. We pay attention to the genetics to better the breed,” Woodring said.
He sells his horses at the four major draft horse sales in the United States: Harrisburg; Gifford, Ill.; Dover, Ohio; and Madison, Wis.
He hopes to sell Diamond Lane Crown Victoria, a
nine-month old filly, at the Pennsylvania draft horse sale on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Farm Show complex.
The price varies depending on the age of the horse.
“Three-year-olds are worth the most money. We have got into five figures and are shooting for higher five figures,” Woodring said.
Woodring said changing his business model from carriage rides to hosting events and raising Percherons has been the key to his success.
“You need to put something in to get something out. I focus on what is at hand. If I do good at something, I want to do better. There is room for improvement no matter what anyone does,” Woodring said. “My business model has changed for the better.”
Woodring plans to continue doing what he has been doing.
“I don’t want to expand; I don’t want to breed 20 horses a year. It goes back to quality, not quantity, focusing on doing a good job with what we have now,” Woodring said.