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
Barton with an unknown rider, 1986
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.


  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?

  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.

  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.