I recently flew into Augusta, Georgia to begin my horseback riding vacation to Aiken, Columbia and Camden, South Carolina. As I fly carry on, I wore my Ariat riding boots and breeches on the airplane from San Francisco. I confess that I was very self conscious wearing English riding attire in the San Francisco Airport, but no one batted an eye when I stepped off the plane in the tiny Augusta Airport. I imagine the same is true for the golf enthusiasts dressed in their golf attire when they descend on Augusta for the annual Masters tournament held each April. I’d say Camden, South Carolina is the Augusta of equestrian training centers. In fact, Donna Freyer, owner/training of Custom Care Equine in Camden, SC feels like she’s landed in horse racing heaven every day that she goes to work.
“I’m originally from New Jersey,” says Freyer. “But horses brought me to Camden. All the plantations were here for the winter. I knew Camden and knew I wanted to come here.”
Freyer is a no-nonsense petite woman with plenty of horse sense. “You have to hustle in this business. I own the business. I manage the horses and I manage the people,” responds Freyer when I ask her role in this seasonal business of Thoroughbred horse racing and training.
“What we do is like sending your kids to college. We train race horses. If you want the best environment for your horse, you should send them to Camden.”
She’s right about that. There are many things to see and do in Camden, South Carolina besides horse racing, although everyone knows Camden for their famous Carolina Cup steeplechase race, as well as The National Steeplechase Museum.
Freyer oversees the horses at the famous Blue Barn, part of the Camden Training Center. With 700 acres to train race horses, which is unheard of in most places in the world, Camden is the place to be when it comes to training race horses.
Fast Women Racing Partnership
Donna Freyer is known around town as one of the Fast Women and I mean that in a good way. Freyer founded Fast Women, an all women racing partnership. According to Freyer, partnerships are nothing new in the horse racing industry. There are some all women racing syndicates, but there are not many. She currently has two partnerships.
“With Fast Women, one of my goals is to educate women about horses,” said Freyer. “I want to bring women into the race horse fold. I also want to attract women who wanted to get back involved with horses. Fast Women is also kind of a social club. We do fun things.”
The Carolina Cup, Steeplechase race, known as the “First Rite of Spring,” will be held in Camden, South Carolina the last Saturday in March.
If You Go:
Custom Care Equine (803)243-4848
P.O. Box 2254
Camden, South Carolina 29020
Camden horse racing review, photos and video by Equestrian Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Camden Kershaw County Tourism for this South Carolina horse racing adventure.