Meet Your Merchant: Riders get back in the saddle at Piping Rock Equestrian Center
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; A couple hundred yards north of the Agricultural Inspection facility in Truckee lies a hidden gem, a vast expanse of wilderness, a horsemanand#8217;s dream and#8212; the Piping Rock Equestrian Center.
The year-round horseback riding and boarding headquarters boasts 72 acres of fields and forest land, a state-of-the-art indoor arena, several outdoor enclosed pastures, two insulated barns and an open door policy for all styles of riding from Western to dressage to English.
and#8220;We didnand#8217;t want a barn where people were just storing horses and werenand#8217;t coming to ride and#8212; we want everyone to feel like they are welcome here and we want to create a vitality in the barn,and#8221; said Lisa Fielding, who co-owns the stables with her husband, Ed Svendsen.
Before Ed and Lisa galloped in to re-energize the stables, the property had been deserted for a number of years. Weeds had engrossed the outdoor arenas, the paddocks were void of life, and the surrounding trails hadnand#8217;t seen a horse hoof in years. The faint, lingering aroma of sweet hay was the only sign of horsemanship left at the vacant barn.
Ed and Lisa werenand#8217;t in the market for a horse ranch and didnand#8217;t have much background in the sport. In fact, the husband and wife duo hadnand#8217;t even sat in a saddle until their late 40s. However, over the last decade, they began dabbling in cattle ranching in Doyle, Calif., and eventually acquired a few horses to help with moving the cattle.
and#8220;We bought a few cows and started to plant a few fields, but we didnand#8217;t have a background in ranching or farming, so we learned along the way and every year, we got a little better at it,and#8221; Fielding said, laughing out loud about the whimsical venture.
As the pair of wranglerand#8217;s passion for ranching grew, they began seeking boarding facilities closer to their Tahoe City home to house their horses during periods away from the ranch in Doyle. They knew the property in Truckee was on the market, but they werenand#8217;t necessarily looking to buy, so they put in a moderate offer not expecting the owners to bite.
and#8220;We made such a low-ball offer, we just figured they would refuse it and we could forget about it, but then to our surprise, they accepted,and#8221; Fielding said. and#8220;Ed and I tend to do things at the seat of our pants and#8230; and here we are.and#8221;
During the 2011 summer, Ed spent long hours pulling weeds in the fields, cleaning out the stables and preparing for an August opening, while Lisa got her hands dirty with the financial side of the business.
Word quickly spread about the new ownership and it wasnand#8217;t long before the stalls were once again inhabited by a healthy stock of horses. With the barn back in full swing, riders in the North Tahoe and Truckee region got back in the saddle with overwhelming enthusiasm.
Newcomer to the Truckee region, Persephone Crittenden, immediately found comfort and peace-of-mind through a horse, Lady, whom she connected with through Lisa and Ed at the stables.
and#8220;I started riding when I was four and truly grew up with horses from that moment,and#8221; Crittenden said. and#8220;Most of that came to a stop in my early 20s due to many factors and#8230; but I was always hoping to find a place and a way to make it a consistent part of my life again.and#8221;
When Crittenden and her fiance relocated from Paris to Truckee nearly six months ago, she found what she had been looking for all those years.
and#8220;I found paradise and a home at Piping Rock; Lisa and Ed have really created a special spot,and#8221; the lifelong equestrian said. and#8220;It truly has been a godsend to me and#8230; being outside and back on a horse on a regular basis is such a natural high.and#8221;
For young riders in the region, Piping Rock has provided a much needed alternative to the traditional recreational activities in North Tahoe, and itand#8217;s given the junior horseman in Truckee a new home to practice. The Truckee Donner Junior Horseman spend most summer days riding around McIver Arena, but there wasnand#8217;t much opportunity to ride during winter months without traveling to Reno, Washoe or beyond.
and#8220;We want to get the word back out there about the Truckee Rodeo and get kids in Truckee interested in horseback riding again,and#8221; said 17-year-old Junior Horseman Anna Vogelsberger. and#8220;For people my age in Tahoe, you either ski or sit at home in the winter, but Iand#8217;m an active teenager and I love riding my horse year-round, and Iand#8217;m finally able to do that in Truckee.and#8221;
This summer, Piping Rock will offer youth riding clinics, summer camps and trail-riding sessions, and Lisa hopes to implement a small petting zoo for kids who canand#8217;t quite reach the stirrups yet.
and#8220;I believe that every kid should know how to ride a horse and should be aware of all the safety precautions of horseback riding and#8212; itand#8217;s such a strong way to build self-esteem,and#8221; Fielding said.
In addition to youth-oriented activities, Piping Rock offers adult clinics and private lessons, lease opportunities for those not looking to make the commitment of buying a horse, and plenty of trail riding opportunities through the surrounding national forest.
Ed and Lisa have also hired on a full-time trainer who lives on the property and is available 24-hours a day to groom the horses, monitor feeding schedules and provide general care for these emotional animals.
and#8220;The energy is whatand#8217;s key to a place like this, and weand#8217;re hoping to see people take advantage of the fact they can be riding in Truckee again,and#8221; Fielding said. and#8220;Itand#8217;s about experiencing life on a horse and building a community of riders here at the barn.and#8221;