Virginia Horse Farm Essay Contests


RUNNERS-UP: The winner will be chosen on or before September 21, 2016,

along with the First and Second Runners-Up. The winner of the contest

will receive the warranty deeds to the property known as Newstead Farm. If the

winner refuses in writing to accept the contest prize, then it shall be First awarded

to the Runner-Up. Likewiseshould the First Runner-Up refuse in writing to accept

the contest prizethen it will be awarded to the Second Runner-Up.


8. COPYRIGHT AND PUBLICATION: Essay contest entry constitutes an

assignment to the sponsors of all copyrights arising under both statute

and the common law and all other rights derivative there from. By

entering the essay contest, entrants grant further permission for sponsors

to publish all or part of the submitted essay and to use the entrant’s

name and photograph and to publicize the winning entries and the names

of all the final 20 essays, all without royalty or other consideration.



contest is subject to the provision of all applicable International, Federal,

State, and Local Laws and regulations. This offer is void where



10. TAXES/FEES: The winning entrant shall be solely responsible for any

and all taxes, including real estate transfer taxes, lawyer’s fees or fees of

any kind imposed upon or arising out of a successful participation in this

essay contest. If the winner refuses to accept the prize property in

writing, then the First Runner-Up becomes responsible for all above

stated taxes and fees. Should the First Runner-Up refuse the prize

property in writing, then the Second Runner-Up shall become responsible

for all above stated taxes and fees.



presenting the winner with the Certificate of Title. If and only if 7000

entries are received the winner will also receive a check for $100,000 US.

There are no liens nor taxes nor mortgages due on the property. 

Excluded is personal property and any food or liquor. The winner will receive only

the amount of fuels (oil and propane) left in the tanks. The properties have been

evaluated with a listing value of $1,500,000 US, however, no representation

is made by the sponsors that this value or any value is in fact a Fair 

Market Value. This property is listed on the town Map as 018 A 79. 

The map is located in the Cumberland County Courthouse, Cumberland VA.


12. Description of the Cash Prize:  An additional cash prize of $100,000 will be

awarded only if 7,000 or more entries are received.  In the event 7,000 or more entries 

are received, the owner will present the winner with a cashiers check for $100,000. 


13. DEADLINE: Entries must be postmarked on or before September 7, 2016 and

must arrive at the Cartersville VA Post Office by September 17, 2016. The entries should

be addressed to Newstead Farm EssayContest, P.O. Box 45, Cartersville VA 23027

USA to insure proper delivery. Responsibility for lost, late or misdirected entries

restswith the entrant. Any entry posted after the above deadline shallbe returned

to the entrant.


14. EXTENSIONS: Sponsors reserve the sole right to extend the deadlines of

the essay contest entry and determination of the winning entries for a

period of up to sixty (60) days.


15. PRIZE TRANSFER: The transfer of the prize properties must occur

within thirty (30) days after the notification of the prize winner. An

extension of an additional thirty (30) days may be granted by the

sponsors if deemed necessary.


16. ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS: The winner agrees to accept the

property as is and also agrees to operate the property as a farm for a period of at

least one year (185 operating days) after the transfer of the property. If this

condition is not met, then the property will revert back to the sponsors

of the essay contest, to be then awarded to the First Runner-Up. 

Thewinner further agrees to pay any costs and fees necessary if there is 

non-compliance of any of the aforementioned requirements.


The owner may not be contacted via phone, text, email or in person with questions about essay 


UPDATE: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO OCT. 31, 2015 – entries must be postmarked by this date.

Virginia is for Horse Lovers! So where better than to own a horse farm – especially one you can own for a 1,000 word essay and an entry fee of $200? The 35-acre Rock Spring Farm will become the property of an essayist who can convince a panel of judges – educators and horse enthusiasts – he or she loves horses and wants to live in rural Essex County. The Rock Spring Farm Essay Contest  deadline has been extended to Oct. 31, 2015; check the Facebook page for the new received date and announcement date. 

To enter the essay contest, participants must write an essay of no more than 1,000 words describing their desire to live in a rural area and own a horse farm. The entry fee is $200. The owners, who for health reasons are retiring and downsizing, hope to receive at least 5,000 entries. Proceeds from the essay contest will pay off the existing mortgage, purchase a retirement property for the couple, and establish college funds for their grandchildren. If the contest does not receive 5,000 entries, the owners may elect to accept fewer, or they will return participants’ entry fees. A trustee is handling the finances.

The 35-acre farm has more than two miles of trails designed for carriage driving, horseback riding, and hiking. In addition to the main house (built in 1996), the farm consists of an income-producing, two-bedroom cottage (built in 2007), a late 1800s cook house, a five-stall horse barn, a carriage barn, a woodworking shop (built 2012) with central heating and air, a shed, a run-in, and an equipment barn. The farm has about 10 acres of mature hardwood trees, excellent soil, and water to three of the four pastures.

The owners of Rock Spring Farm will read each of the essays and select 25 finalists. A panel of educators and horse enthusiasts will select the winner. The Rock Spring Farm Essay Contest is modeled after the essay contest Bil and Susie Mosca held in 1993 to find a new owner for Maine’s Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant and the essay contest Janice Sage, the 1993 essay winner, is sponsoring currently.

For more information about the Rock Spring Farm Essay Contest go to or



Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is this essay contest for real?

Yes. This essay contest is for real. The owners are retiring and downsizing because of health reasons. Since they are creative, “out-of-the-box” sort of people, they decided to sponsor an essay contest instead of using the more traditional method of contracting with a real estate firm.

  1. Is it legal?

Essay contests are legal because they require skill – not luck or chance as with raffles and lotteries, and they are not pyramid schemes. The entry fee of $200 is stated clearly.

  1. How did the owners decide to sponsor an essay contest?

More than 20 years ago one of owners heard news coverage about the essay contest Bill and Susie Mosca were holding to find a new owner for their beloved Center Lovell Inn in Maine. She loved the idea! Recently, she learned through the media that Janice Sage, the winner of that 1993 contest, is retiring and “selling” the Inn again via an essay contest. The second winner will be announced May 21. She and her husband discussed the idea and decided to sponsor a similar contest.

  1. Why didn’t they list their property with a real estate agent?

Simply put, they want to fulfill someone’s dream. They love their farm and want to pass it along to someone who has a passion for country living and a passion for horses as much as they do. This contest will enable someone, who otherwise might not be able to afford to do so, to own an incredible piece of property.

  1. How do I know this isn’t a scam?

The owners are aware that people often receive offers for deals that seem too good to be true; many times those deals are too good to be true. As with the Maine essay contests, the Rock Spring Farm Essay Contest is not a scam. The owners discussed the contest with state and local government officials, and the contest rules includes the tax map location of the property, which can be verified by the Essex County, Virginia, Commissioner of Revenue.

  1. How is this contest different from the ones in Maine?

The biggest difference is this contest is for a horse farm, not a bed-and-breakfast. Therefore, the participants will not need those entrepreneurial skills. Instead, they will need to love horses and possess the knowledge of how to care for horses and the land. They will need to love country living since this will be their new home. They also will need to know how to manage the cottage as rental property, if they decide to lease it.

Other differences: The entry fee for the 1993 contest was $100 and the Moscas limited their contest to 5,000 entries. Ms. Sage raised the entry fee to $125, set a goal of 7,500 entries, and decided not to limit the number of entries. Both contests set a word limit to 200. We raised our entry fee to $200, set a goal of 5,000 entries, and increased the word count to no more than 1,000. As did Ms. Sage, we decided not to limit the number of entries. (FYI—This document is about 1,000 words.)

  1. What happens if they don’t reach their goal?

Contest Rule 8 states “…. All entry fees shall be returned, if at least 5,000 entries are not received; however, the sponsors reserve the right to accept less than 5,000 entries.” (Bold, italicized type added here for emphasis.)

  1. Why can’t people put their names on the essays?

All the entries will be mailed to a trustee who will deposit the checks and code the essays. The owners will not know the identities of the essayists. Many people have said on the essay contest’s Facebook page they plan to enter; the owners want to be fair to everyone and remain impartial. They will judge the contest on the merits of the essays and the passion and enthusiasm the writing conveys. They ask that essayists not include specific identifying information, to write in general terms, and use pseudonyms, if necessary.

  1. How do we know the will remain impartial?

They will not select the winner; a panel of judges will select the winner. The owners will read each of the essays and select 25 finalists. Once they agree upon the 25, they will give the essays to the panel of judges to select the winning essay. Mr. and Mrs. Mosca recently published a book, Passing along a Dream: The Story Behind the Center Lovell Inn Essay Contest, about their experience with the 1993 contest. The owners enjoyed the Mosca’s story about how difficult it was for the two of them to agree on the 25 essays they both liked. The owners of Rock Spring Farm expect not to find that an easy task either!

  1. How much are the annual property taxes?

The annual real estate taxes are approximately $3,800.

  1. Is the property eligible for land use?


  1. Is there a current tenant? What are the lease terms?

Yes, a tenant lives in the cottage. Out of respect for the tenant’s privacy, the rental agreement details will remain private. The owners will disclose the details to the winner of the essay contest.

  1. Are there any easements on the property?

Yes. There is a cemetery easement.

  1. What will the legal sale amount be for purposes of transfer?

The tax value of the land and improvements is approximately $600,000. If they had listed the property with a real estate firm, they would have asked for more than the tax value.

  1. How much will the real estate transfer taxes and fees cost?

The owners suggest you consult with a knowledgeable real estate attorney.

  1. Where can I see pictures of the property?

  1. How do I enter the contest?

Download the entry form and contest rules from or click the “sign up” button.

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Horse Talk Staff2015-10-01T14:07:22+00:00

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