Stave Mill Farm Team

A brief word on our team. We’re lucky to have a group of people working for us who care about our horses as much as we do. They bring experience and an unsurpassed work ethic to keeping the horses happy and healthy, as do our wonderful extended team of farriers, veterinarians, equine nutritionists, and hay suppliers who supplement our permanent employees. It helps that our Farm Manager and his wife, and our Barn Manager live on the farm.

Owners, Gardy Bloemers and Nick Duke Sr.

Gardy and Nick love living on their own farm. Born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Gardy moved to the Charlottesville area as a child, growing up on a family dairy and cheese-making farm, while Nick had an urban upbringing in New York City and New Haven, Connecticut.

As a farm kid, Gardy had a pony and a horse and did a lot of trail riding and a bit of showing on pony hunters. At Tufts University, she was a member of the Equestrian Club, and she continued to ride wherever she could after moving to Munich for her first job and then at Erasmus University where she got her MBA. It was a chance encounter at a British riding school that got her hooked on dressage. She bought her first dressage horse, Donizetti, while she was living and working in London, and she gets to see him every day in his retirement at Stave Mill Farm. As a “professional amateur,” Gardy juggles competition in Virginia and Wellington, Florida dressage events with her wealth management practice at Merrill Lynch. She is a USDF Silver and Bronze medalist, a former member of the USEF Dressage Sport Horse Committee, and a member of the Board of the Virginia Horse Center Foundation.


Nick and Gardy

Nick retired as Director of Corporate & Foundations Relations for the University of Virginia in 2014. His current LinkedIn profile has him listed as “Co-owner, Manager and Stable Boy” at Stave Mill Farm, but more accurately, he’s CEO and manager of paddocks, hayfields, and composting operations. The farm is always in pristine condition and we have Nick’s attention to detail to thank for that.

Barn Manager, Sarah Olson

Originally a New Englander from Gorham, Maine, Sarah moved to Virginia after high school.

She sat on a horse before she could walk and horses have been a part of her life ever since.

At age 14, she did barn work to help pay for her riding lessons, and after moving to Virginia, worked as a groom for Rebecca Galbraith at November Hill Farm. There, she was fully responsible for sport horses active in or training for a range of disciplines including hunters, jumpers, and racing. Before coming to us, Sarah was Barn Manager for Wendy Costello at Kent Island Sport Horses, a Maryland-based boutique dressage breeding farm. She has been a critical part of our team since June 2019, overseeing all aspects of horse care and management. For Sarah and our horses, it’s a mutual love affair.

Groom Extraordinaire, Nancy Olson

Since January 2020, Nancy has been our part-time groom. We’re happy to have a seasoned horsewoman who brings deep experience caring for all kinds of horses and strong knowledge of dressage and dressage sport horses. Not only can she provide all-around care, but she also can be relied upon to exercise a horse—either to facilitate a rehab program or accommodate a client’s schedule.



Stave Mill Farm
6265 Alberene Road
Esmont, VA 22937


(434) 981-1017‬