Thursday, July 30, 2015

The ghosts of Eaton Canyon Riding Club

Every morning I get up early and take one dog for a three mile walk. We go to the park and around the lake. It's a nice suburban walk, but nothing special.

I'm visiting my parents in California this week. They don't have a dog for me to walk, but I'm walking anyway. In truth, I love walking here. The neighborhood is beautiful, and Eaton Canyon is just a hop, skip and a jump away.
Some mornings I walk to the falls... 
but more often than not, I find myself at the former site of Eaton Canyon Riding Club. 
It's hard not to feel sad as I contemplate the emptiness. Where there is now a single ring...
there used to be an office and gift shop,
stabling for nearly one hundred horses,
Jennifer on Love N Stuff, 1980
one...
Barton with an unknown rider, 1986
two... 
Jennifer and Love N Stuff, 1980
three riding rings, 
Jennifer and Filly, 1982
multiple tack rooms, locker rooms... 
Cinnamon, 1983
and grooming areas,
Anna and Holly, 1980
a pair of wash stalls, 
Pasadena Star News, 1981
and two dinky little turn-outs.
Cinnamon, 1983
The current ring is big, but not that big.
How did all that stuff fit into this tiny acreage? It seems impossible to me. Perhaps ECRC was like the Tardis--bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. That is the only logical explanation.
Before I leave, I take a moment and try to locate a few of the most important landmarks. I think this is the site of Cinnamon's stall in the "C" Barn. Maybe.
It's been twenty seven years since my last ride at ECRC. Seems like forever. Seems like yesterday. The office and barns and rings and wash stalls may be gone, but they loom large in my memory. I will continue to visit their ghosts as long as I am in California.

8 comments:

  1. I took riding lessons from Ernie as a kid in the 60's. Lots of good memories then. Where did all the trees go?

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    1. Oh my, I remember Ernie as well! I also took lessons from him in the 60's.

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  2. I stabled a horse there in the late 60s. Miss that place so much. I have 2 horses across New York now at a stable that is there. And I ride in that huge lonely ring at the site of the former Eaton Canyon Stable.

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  3. My life began again, as an 8-year old in the early 1960s as a lesson rider at Eaton Canyon Riding Club. I longingly dreamed of owning my own horse while walking through the boarding barns.
    I owe so much to the kind school horses who I loved, Ernie, Ann Lale (sp?), Rosie, and all others sharing this wonderful, unique experience. So engraved in my soul.

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  4. Oh good - glad to see someone replied back in February!! I too remember Ernie - I started my lessons in '69 I believe - horse's name was Snickers - wonderful mare. Also a horse named Sebastian who was a baby sitter. While I was lucky enough to have horses later in life I was VERY timid around horses. Ernie was soooo patient. Later I went to another trainer there - I think her name was Roxanne??/ Not sure, NOT very friendly. She clearly had her favorites and I was not one of them. She put me on a mare Daisy who was wwwaaayyy out of my league and she promptly tossed me off. Anyone know when it was built and when it was torn down

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    1. I totally forgot about Roxanne until you brought her up. I remember her exactly the way you do, not at all friendly. After Ernie left and I stopped taking lessons, I eventually bought my first horse, a Tennessee Walker, and her husband, I don't remember his name, was my trainer. But I sure didn't like her. I also remember Rosie that worked in the office. She passed away in 2002 at age 87. You can look up her legacy under the name Rosie L. Schassburger Bronte. I don't remember when the tire down ECRC but it was most likely after 1975, maybe early 1980s.

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    2. I totally forgot about Roxanne until you brought her up. I remember her exactly the way you do, not at all friendly. After Ernie left and I eventually bought my first horse, a Tennessee Walker, her husband, I don't remember his name, became my trainer. But she had very intimidating mannerisms. I also remember Rosie who worked in the office. She passed away in 2002. You can find her legacy under the name Rosie L. Schassburger Bronte. I don't remember when they tore down ECRC but it was probably after 1975, maybe in the early 1980s.

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    3. I had a working position job with Roxanne while I was in high school, 1985-1986. She was not a cuddly person and could definitely be intimidating. I worked hard and learned a lot from her, but I'm not sure she ever liked me! Hopefully a little. The stables were still there when I moved away for college in 1987. I can't remember when they were torn down. It wasn't long after that.

      Years ago, I started an Eaton Canyon Riding Club group on Facebook. It's pretty small and only occasionally active, but there are a lot of great photos. You should join!

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