Tag Archives: Horses

Plans for Equestrian Center Unfolding

DATE 02/10/2006 7:15 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Plans for Equestrian Center Unfolding

Mt. Pleasant Main Street Committee, in coordination with Sanpete County Economic Development and Kevin Christensen, director of the county’s Travel and Heritage Council, has unfolded plans for the development of an equestrian center that will serve all of the county.

The proposal, which was presented by the equestrian center committee at a Mt. Pleasant Main Street Committee this week, will be presented to the Mt. Pleasant Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Board on Tuesday, Feb. 14 2006.

“The centre will be a great asset for Mt. Pleasant City and Sanpete County,” Christensen said. “It has the potential to bring hundreds of visitors to various events sponsored by the community and to local clubs. The new complex will also provide stall space for lease. Riders will have the ability to escape cold weather during the winter, and during the summer months, they can head to the nearby mountain trails and experience the beauty of the Manti-La Sal National Forest.”

The equestrian center will be located on 55 acres of land on the north side of the Mt. Pleasant industrial park. Plans call for an indoor arena, two outdoor arenas, covered stalls, trailer parking, RV parking, a multi-purpose building with showers, a play area, tent area, and, possibly, a swimming pool. The adjacent airport, which focuses on recreational flying, will add another important dimension for tourism plan.

“This project, which will be developed in phases, will make an outstanding contribution to the economy of Mt. Pleasant and Sanpete County,” says Monte Bona, a member of the Main Street committee and Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council. The center’s development is part of an ongoing campaign by the heritage council to promote outdoor recreation throughout the region.

“Horse enthusiasts along the Wasatch Front need a place where they can participate in arena activities, as well as take advantage of the outstanding horse trails in a beautiful mountain terrain. Local trainers, clubs, schools and horse owners will be proud to host activities and invite fellow enthusiasts to visit the equestrian center in the Sanpete Valley.”

Bona says the Sanpete County region currently has more horses than it did back in the days when the animals were the main source of transportation, and horse enthusiasts are looking to construct a facility that would let them exercise, train and hold horse-related events and activities year round. In addition to horse enthusiasts and local business owners, Bona adds that all of the county could see direct and indirect effects from an indoor arena.

Benefits would range from bringing more tourists into the region to filling up hotels and motels, to expanding educational offerings for people inside and outside the community.

“We are continually looking for new opportunities that will allow Sanpete County to promote its many historical and recreational offerings,” Bona says. “This facility would complement the many other attractions we currently have.”

The center will also tie into a equestrian program at Mt. Pleasant’s Wasatch Academy. The Century-old private boarding school will be a major player in the project. Vern Fisher, Wasatch Academy’s director of development, is coordinating the Center for the school. “This is a wonderful opportunity for Wasatch and for the communities of Sanpete County,” he says, adding that the school’s growing equestrian program will link with the Center. Betsy and Pat Page, who direct Wasatch’s equestrian program, will also serve on the center committee with Fisher.

Kevin Stallings, who is heading the center committee, praised the effort and the expertise each of the committee members brings to the project. Other committee members are: Jared Nicholson, Ernie Booth, Dean Daniels, Juanita and Keith Ranch, Wanda Terry and Robert Olson.

Architect George Olson, who is located in Mt. Pleasant’s old caboose in the Railroad Depot Heritage Village, has prepared the design work on a volunteer basis. He has designed many other major recreational projects and will be crucial to the Center’s development.

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For more information Contact:

Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Talking, Listening to the Animals Key to Young Horse Trainer’s Success – Press Release 4/4/2005

DATE 04/04/2005 7:15 AM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Talking, Listening to the Animals Key to Young Horse Trainer’s Success.

Ruth (Mellor) Livingston’s gift for working with horses was spotted by one of the best-known trainers in the country when she was only 15 years old.She was enrolled in a clinic taught by horseman Richard Shrake, renowned internationally for his resistance free training techniques that involve learning to understand what a horse is saying.

“After the clinic was over, he called me up and said he’d like to take me under his wing,” Livingston said. She started studying with Shrake and, at age 17, became the youngest-ever person to be nationally certified in resistance free training. She traveled around the country with Shrake training and hosting clinics.

“I guess I was just a natural at it,” she says with a laugh. Livingston’s love for horses developed at age 10 when she moved to the small town of Chester after her mother had remarried. Her stepfather was involved with horses and fostered Livingston’s interest in the animals.

Now, at age 23, she runs her own successful horse training center, Silver Dance Ranch, in Moroni. She works with horses in need of all kinds of training, from getting them ready to accept riders to preparing them for competition and to figuring out complex behavior issues. She also holds horse clinics around the state, including a session for “spooked horses” in Lakeshore later this month and a youth clinic in Ephraim in May.

“I love the idea what I can take a 1,250-pound animal and get inside of its head and have it communicate with me,” says Livingston, who has three show horses of her own. “I can work with that animal, train it and teach it to do all kinds of amazing things that it otherwise would never have done.”

While she laughs off comparisons to Robert Redford’s character in the popular movie “The Horse Whisperer,” a key to Livingston’s training program is watching, listening to and learning from the animals, the same kinds of techniques utilized in the movie.

“Horses do talk to you. You can see so much in their body language, and you learn to pick up on that,” she says. “A flick of an ear, a look in the eye, a swish of the tail, all of these little things can tell you a lot about the animal’s frame of mind and whether they are ready to listen and learn from you.”

Learning to know what the horse is telling the person working with him is what resistance free training is all about, Livingston says. “You work with the horse’s mind first, building respect and confidence between horse and trainer, using the lowest amount of resistance possible,” she says. The goal is to help people and horses develop a relationship through patience, kindness and understanding.

The most common problem people have with horses is that they don’t fully understand the workings of the horse world, Livingston says. “A lot of people think that horses are like other pets, and that if they feed them, take care of them and love them, the horse will love them back. But with horses, respect must be taught first, and love comes out of that,” she says. In the horse world, animals push one another around and a hierarchy is established, she says. The most domineering horse becomes the most respected and trusted horse and emerges as the leader. “All of the other horses love that horse because they trust him; they know that he will take care of them.”

Because trust is a vital part of the horse world, it’s also crucial in the horse-training world. “For horses to fully trust you, you have to you become one with the horse in a sense, you have to earn their trust,” Livingston says. “Most of the problems with horses are based on trust issues: a horse gets pushy, dominant or scared, and problems arise from that.”

When she is working with a horse, Livingston has the animal live at her ranch where she feeds, cares for and works with them daily. During the winter, she can accommodate up to six horses at a time, and during the warmer months, up to 11. “While I am working with a horse, I allow the owners to come in and observe and take lessons to figure out what is going on with the horse,” she says.

For more information on the Silver Dance Ranch, phone (435) 851-6758 or email silverdanceranch@hotmail.com.

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For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502

Giddy up! First-ever ‘Horse Motel’ Opens in Sanpete County – Press Release 3/13/2005

DATE 03/13/2005 1:17 PM

This is part of an occasional series by the Sanpete Country Travel and Utah Heritage Highway 89 Alliance on the people and places along U.S. Highway 89.

Giddy up! First-ever ‘Horse Motel’ Opens in Sanpete County

Horse owners living in or visiting Sanpete County now have a new option if they want to include their animals in their various activities and excursions. The county’s first official “horse motel” is now open for business, providing accommodations for horses by the night or by the week.Kris and Fred Burns opened the motel on their 26-acre ranch located about a mile and a half from the town of Fountain Green and adjacent to Bureau of Land Management property.

“There are a lot of people who like to visit the area and have horses,” Kris Burns says. “But if they want to bring their horses along with them to ride or hunt with, there is no where around where you can keep them just for the night or a few days. Most places that board horses want something more long term.”

So Kris and Fred Burns decided to open a 12-stall horse motel. Food, water and “mucking” are provided, and the horses can check in for just one night or for an extended stay. “People can pick up their horses and ride right up into the mountains from here,” Kris Burns says.

Pretty soon, horse owners will even have the option of staying right near their animals. The Burns are in the process of opening an RV Park near the horse motel on about 10 acres of their land. Scheduled to open in June, the park will include 60 sites with sewer and water hook-ups, as well as 24 camping spots at a nearby location.

The Burns will rent out tee-pees, tents and other camping supplies. They also plan to encourage guests to visit the animals they keep on their property, including llamas, a miniature horse and a burro. “We want staying here to be a family experience, where people who don’t know a lot about farming or ranch life can experience what it’s like,” Kris Burns says.

The Burns came up with the idea for the horse motel while traveling around the state with their own horses. It many parts of Utah, they have no where to leave their horses. But when they visit St. George, they discovered a place where they could check their horses into a “motel” for the night. “We thought it was something that was needed near where we live,” Kris Burns says.

Having a new indoor horse arena and community center built in Sanpete County would help with the new business, she adds. Local horse enthusiasts are looking to construct a new facility that would let them exercise, train and hold horse-related events and activities year round.

“It would bring more people with horses into the area, which, of course, would be a benefit for us,” Kris Burns says. “But it would help the entire county because there would be more tourists and people coming through. There is such a need for this kind of facility. We are getting more and more horses in the area and fewer places to work them.” The region currently has more horses than it did back in the days when the animals were the main source of transportation.

She says building a larger facility in a new location would allow for both indoor and outdoor arenas, as well as provide other options such as community centre and a race track. “Right now, people in the county who have race horses have no where to work them.”

For more information on the horse motel or RV Park, contact Kris or Fred Burns at (435) 445-3303.

For more information Contact:Monte Bona
Sanpete County Travel and Heritage Council
(435) 462-2502
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