Hey, Spike! highlights a Summit equine tradition (column)
Hey, Spike!’s longtime friend and founding owner of the Copper Cable newspaper at Copper Mountain, Pooh Bishop, called the other day with a coverage request.
After the usual exchange of pleasantries, Spike! always asks: “Is this good news or bad news?” Oftentimes Pooh has someone’s passing to report.
This time it was a mix — no one died, but a tradition is coming to an end on Independence Day in the Frisco parade. Knowing full-well Pooh can report with the best of them, Spike! assigned her the task.
Here’s the Pooh report:
On July 4th Lynn Bauer’s High Country Horsemanship School will ride in the parade in Frisco for the last time since the riding program will close at the end of the summer. Riding in the parade has always been a tradition.
This year’s students will be riding as well as alumni and friends of the program. There will also be a flatbed truck for family, friends and alumni to ride on.
Two horses of note, Pebbles and Moe, will carry their charges. Pebbles has been in the parade for 24 years and Moe is the senior member of Lynn’s stable at the age of 35. His special duty is to always carry the youngest of the entourage as they begin their riding career. For friends and alumni of the riding school who would like to participate in the parade festivity feel free to call Lynn, Martha Tableman or Betsy Goodell.
When you are headed west on the north side of I-70, just before you get to Silverthorne is a big gray barn with a green roof. County residents frequently say: “I’m going by the big barn. I’m almost home,” on their cellphone as they return home.
Not only is the barn a landmark, it houses an institution in Summit County. It has been the home of Lynn’s High Country Horsemanship School for 35 years. The barn houses stalls, places for feed and hay, tack rooms and an indoor arena. Right inside the front door is a lounge of sorts where Lynn, the kids, the parents and other visitors can make plans, conference and visit. It is a special space where invaluable friendship and conversation take place.
The institution of Lynn’s riding program and school started in 1983 when Lynn began teaching with just a single student. Lynn’s son Rick helped her with feeding, cleaning, riding, teaching and shoveling.
Before the first week was over the school went from one student to four and very soon it went to eight. There was not a big, “fancy” barn back then, but a smaller one made of 4×8 sheets of plywood.
To start there were the eight students and four horses: three black and white pintos, and one Morgan (named Princess, Misty, Sage and Josh). Things grew from there and at its peak there were as many as 32 horses while Lynn taught three or four classes of eight to 12 students each day in the summer. Some students came once a week, some every day.
Students learned to ride Western and English styles, jump, compete in gymkhana events, ride in a precision drill team and to take part in the 4H horse program and annual horse show. Everyone went to the 4H Fair and competed in all manner of events. Some went on to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.
Lynn grew up with a horse in her backyard. Because she loved the horse and loved riding, Lynn wanted the young people of Summit County to enjoy the same love of a horse and all the enrichment that a horse and horseback riding can bring. Lynn wanted the barn, horses and the riding to be fun. It is — and it was.
The riders went on lunch rides and went on an annual camping trip. Everyone enjoyed snacks of cookies, popsicles and other junk food indulgences at the end of a long day or the end of a lesson on a cold, 15-degree winter Sunday in the arena in the barn. In the summer, the students ride on mountain trails and up in the outdoor arena high above the barn. Laughter and smiles are always heard.
Not only was there fun to be had with the High Country Horsemanship School, but also there was a very serious side to all that went on in the barn. Respect, patience, courtesy, sharing and caring, although not necessarily specifically mentioned, were high priorities of behavior. Etiquette and manners were sometimes put in the mix.
Parents of children who have ridden with Lynn are quick to tell you that riding at Lynn’s barn taught their children so much more than just how to ride a horse.
Some of these students are grown and their children are riding quickly with Lynn this summer before the opportunity is gone. The testimony to Lynn’s teaching, horsemanship, and life skills is that teenage kids, always a tough audience, have come back year after year to ride, to work and to be with Lynn in her stable. And they come back as adults to visit, laugh with and embrace Lynn for her program and for what she gave them.
Many will miss the High Country Horsemanship School. It contributed to raising many of Summit County’s children.
Give Lynn, the horses, and the kids a big cheer when you see them in the parade and tip your hat to a job well done when you pass by the big barn on I-70.
At the end of this summer the school and all that it entails will be coming to an end. We will still have the barn to use as a landmark, but Lynn, the kids and the horses will be a memory. To celebrate all the memories there will be a BYOP (bring you own picnic) at the barn starting around 2:30, after the parade on July 4. All riders, alumni and friends of the riding program are invited.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to firstname.lastname@example.org
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