8/5/2009 10:14:00 AM Horsin' Around: New saddle club offers fun,
competition for horse lovers
Stephanie Ekdahl of Chino Valley takes her horse Tonka around a barrel.
TribPhoto/Heidi Dahms Foster
Tristan Smith of Dewey-Humboldt is focused on the finish line during the Boots 'n Spurs Saddle Club gymkhana at Poland Junction on Saturday evening. The club offers competition, practice and socialization for horse lovers of all ages.
TribPhoto/Heidi Dahms Foster
Heidi Dahms-Foster Special to the Tribune
Horse enthusiasts can enjoy equine activities closer to home now, thanks to the new Boots 'n Spurs Saddle Club in Poland Junction.
Area resident Barbara Myers said her family purchased a Haflinger horse named Curly for their daughter Amanda, 16, and then began to look for events for the two to enjoy.
"There was nothing in this area," she said. "Everything was in Chino Valley or New River."
Myers knew of an arena in Poland Junction, so she approached the renters of the property, Steve and Tracy Anderson. The Andersons offered the use of the arena, originally built by the Sheriff's Posse, and Boots 'n Spurs was born.
The group conducted a well-attended first event, a gymkhana, on Saturday evening, with barrel racing, pole bending, and other horse events, and games for the kids.
Riders appeared to enjoy visiting with each other Saturday as much as they did competing, and spectators sat on the bleachers or the fence and munched on hotdogs from the concession stand.
"The emphasis of the club is socializing, playing, and praise and encouragement for people of all ages," Myers said. That was evident Saturday as spectators cheered each rider on, regardless of how well they did.
The first event showed that the area is ready for a horse club, and enthusiastic riders came for several weeks ahead of the gymkhana to work "green" horses, practice in the arena, and socialize with other horse lovers.
"Everyone was surprised with the good turnout," Myers said. "I had a really great response - I went around and visited with people, and they said they had a great time, and were looking forward to coming back."
The socialization and riding are the draw, Myers said, because the prizes are small.
"We're not doing the professional, high dollar thing, we have limited money to start with," she said. "We asked the young people about prizes and they said they had a lot of fun, and weren't into the big prizes. Whatever they get, they're happy. They love the ribbons, and parents love the kids to get the ribbons."
Mostly, people are happy to have a horse event closer to home. Myers said some riders even hauled their horses from Skull Valley to practice driving with their trailers and get their mounts used to traveling.
A rider from DeweyHumboldt told Myers that she had been traveling to Flagstaff for gymkhanas.
"She's jazzed because she has three horses and she wants to practice with them."
The club meets the third Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Charcoal Pit Restaurant on the frontage in Mayer. The restaurant offers a Boots 'n Spurs special for the public all day on meeting days.
Club membership is $7 per year, and members may use the arena for practice every Thursday at 4 p.m. and every other Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Riders must sign liability releases for the club and the arena, Myers said.
The next event for the club will be on Saturday, Aug. 29, and then in September, the club may plan an event with a western dance afterwards, Myers said.
Amanda Myers is the president of Boots 'n Spurs. Reach her at 928-848-2772. Manager Barbara Myers is at 928-308-1411 or email email@example.com.