Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The long ride home


I’m not the best rider in the world. I’m probably not even the best rider on the block. Let’s just say I’m queen of the unscheduled, spontaneous dismount and leave it at that. Still, I love horses in general, and my horse in particular. I’ve boarded Vandy at Altadena Stables for twenty years; we’re two very satisfied customers.

... Once upon a time, Captain George C. Hester built, owned and operated the Altadena Riding Academy where Altadena Stables stands today -- south of Altadena drive, north of Mariposa and west of Lincoln. By 1921, it was the millionaire’s row for the horses of millionaires and their horse-loving wives, sons and daughters. The Academy claimed six acres, including a 3-acre riding ring – the largest in California -- and a polo field. Most of the Captain’s 50 horses were thoroughbreds, and all came from Kentucky and Virginia. (This was a point of pride, as in those days, California bred, i.e. “homegrown” carried no bragging rights.)

The stable employed and housed grooms, trainers, a blacksmith, a veterinarian and even some guy whose job no longer has a name -- one tasked with keeping the leather of bridles and saddles well oiled and supple...

More on Patch

24 comments:

  1. Interesting, Karin. Speaking of polo, I heard a fascinating story on ESPN about a polo team that a woman started for inner-city kids in Philadelphia. After several years, during which some of the better players were killed or involved in drug activities in their neighborhood, the team emerge as one of the top junior teams in the US and recently won the national championship for high-school age teams. The star player will go to Cornell on a polo scholarship!

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  2. You are NOT the queen of the unscheduled, spontaneous dismount.....I am.......well....at least in my world:(

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  3. on my way over to Patch to finish

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  4. Linda, you can be queen of Canada.

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  5. I Like reading your Altadena Stables blog.

    Btw, if you're really not the "best rider in the world", I suggest you re-read my "Rules for Riding" on my blog.

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  6. Now I know how La Canada stables was formed. That was really interesting.

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  7. I met with Desdy about a month ago and we went through correspondence and photos, part of her private collection, some dating back to 1918.

    When we tried to piece the whole story together, sometimes the only thing we had to go by was the postmark on an envelope.

    Got a great story in my pocket about an Altadena horsewoman and beauty queen named Aloha.

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  8. spontaneous unscheduled dismount really covers so much territory.

    i emailed you regarding your question on my blog.

    i typically go to spam folders.

    sometimes i think it's best that my messages are left there.

    okay.
    coming full circle here - unscheduled spontaneous dismount really Really is a useful term.

    i'll use that later.
    xxa

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  9. So, you found a way to join Millionaire's Row without paying the taxes. Lucky girl.

    We once had a horse. That was about a zillion years (or maybe 30) ago.

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  10. For the first 33 years of my life horses were woven into my life in various and sundry ways but I didn't realize they were going to stop doing so until it was too late. I confess I was quite the fierce cowgirl and I treasure all those memories. I hope you and your girl had a great ride.

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  11. Good wit again in that opening! And it sounds like your friends are nicely responsible.

    There ought to be a name for a guy who keeps leather oiled and supple. Leather Poet?

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  12. I was telling Christina, fellow-rider-writer over at A Thinking Stomach, there are two structures still standing from the Captain Hester days. I took photos, but, well, you know. Still, one of them should be painted, and I don't mean the walls.

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  13. Two structures left? Show me! I looked at the stables on Google Earth and the area didn't look very big any more. When was it subdivided for housing?

    I think there was also a well-known nursery across the other side of Altadena Drive in those days. Must have been a beautiful area.

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  14. Quite a story, with lots of interesting local history to boot. (To hoof?) Now I'm curious about Aloha!

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  15. A good stable is priceless. It must be a very difficult task to run one well.

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  16. ... but you have one step up on me. Horse's ass? Maybe.

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  17. I seem to remember PA has a confessional tale or two from her stable days...is this the same stable?

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  18. Wonderful photo, and very interesting history!

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  19. No, Paula, PA was at a different stable, south on the Arroyo. But they all have stories.

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  20. Did you take that shot? It's gorgeous my Dear!
    V

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  21. I didn't even know those stables were there until we walked by with the dogs a few months ago. It's a lovely spot and a great home for Vandy.

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  22. When I was in high school, I used to ride at a family friend's "ranch" in Canoga Park...yep...right smack dab in the middle of a rather urban residential development, our friends had a rather quaint, a bit run down, "spread" of a few acres...complete with horse stables, a tractor, fields of hay, and lot's of purty Peruvian Paso horses to ride!!! They've since passed away and I assume the ranch has fallen prey to the residential spread of more tract homes...but ohhhh...the memories!!! And the old 1960something GMC truck still has the Peruvian Paso symbol on the door, still has the original paint job and probably some of the original dirt from the Canoga Park ranch, and is still alive and running in Elmira, Oregon at the gentle woman's farm of my sister!!!

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