In a part of the country where we bless our pets, the shrimping fleet and even the occasional wharf, perhaps a barn blessing is not that out of the ordinary. The barn in question, however, and all 12 of the horses that live within it, is truly extraordinary. Since 2016, Foncie Bullard has been creating the equestrian facility of her dreams, a property that she jokingly refers to as the duck hunting camp her husband, Joe Bullard, always dreamed of but never got. With a dynamic group of lady equestrians training in her perfectly groomed arena and every stall filled with some of the finest warmblood horses in the area, Foncie decided it was time to finally “bless this wonderful mess.”
When you step into the shade of the barn at Undigo Farms, your eye is swept upwards to the rustic wood rafters basking in the light of second-story windows. Wood paneling fit for a living room finishes the stall doors with touches of brass here and there. For just a minute, you think this might be Kentucky, but no. It’s just a little piece of land about a mile inland from Mobile Bay in Point Clear, an area of rolling hills that has seen steady growth with the toney equestrian set over the last few decades.
About a year ago, a horse that was tied on the wash rack in Foncie’s barn got nervous and almost injured its owner, Ashley McCormick. Foncie, standing nearby, did the most illogical thing you could do when managing almost 2,000 pounds of panicking muscle and hoof. She reached down and pressed play on her stereo. The praise and worship music that rose from the speakers seemed to calm the horse instantly, albeit surprisingly.
“I’ve never had a problem with that horse since,” Foncie laughs, “and since that day, we play that glorious music for the horses every night.” That was the birth of Foncie’s idea for a concert at the farm. She hoped to one day lure the singer of that CD to her barn to celebrate the God who made the animals and land she loved. And a barn blessing seemed to go perfectly along with it.
Together with some of their closest friends and barn folks, Joe and Foncie welcomed Mobilians Pam Hanes and Norman McCrummen to first ask the blessings. Each prayed for those assembled and the “wonderful mess” that is Foncie’s perfectly manicured farm, including all the animals contained therein. The concert followed, with performances by local singers as well as the voice from that CD years ago, Ronnie Freeman, a world-renowned praise and worship singer from Montgomery. Whether drawn by the spirituality, the love of animals or the majesty of the country surrounding it, those in attendance were treated to a feast of the senses for one lovely afternoon.