Life in the saddle

Sunday, May 21, 2006
Coldwater Creek Stables off County Road 614 in Cape Girardeau will offer day camps in the summer for children. (Diane L. Wilson)

Down a tree-canopied, winding road off Route W, the sight of a large red arena rising up alongside green hills is enough to give passers-by pause.

The long-legged Tennessee Walkers dotting the surrounding pastures compel even non-horse people to pull over.

And that's really how Coldwater Creek Stables started -- with unexpected visitors.

Erin Frye, stable manager at Coldwater Creek Stables, talked to one of the 16 horses at the farm.

After the 30th person stopped in to ask about lessons and riding opportunities, Ted and Dina Swartz decided they might as well pursue that line of business.

Originally, the Swartz family purchased two quarter horses and a farm on County Road 614 in response to their two sons' growing interest in riding.

That was four years ago. Since then, they've purchased 13 Tennessee Walking horses, added a large indoor arena with stables, bought two pygmy goats, a couple of rabbits and hired a stable manager.

Colby Swartz, 12, walked his horse past one of the large doorways during a riding lesson inside the indoor arena at Coldwater Creek Stables.

Now, the Swartzes are in the process of constructing a lighted, outdoor arena and inviting the public in to ride once a week. This summer, they'll offer riding lessons for children ages 6 and over and adults, as well as four-day camps for youths.

"We didn't realize there were so many children around here with an interest in horses," said Dina Swartz.

Clinics with demonstrations of techniques such as barrell racing and reining, as well as leasing and private or group lessons are also services offered at Coldwater. Today, the stables are holding an open house event from 1 to 3 p.m. to give the community a chance to view the facilities.

Erin Frye, stable manager, opened the sliding door to a stable located inside the arena at Coldwater Creek.

Stable manager Erin Frye said introducing children to horses is the best part of her job.

"We teach them pretty much everything there is to owning a horse," she said.

Frye, who grew up in New Mexico, said she has been in love with horses since she was a toddler. She cleaned stalls to earn money to buy her first horse at age 16.

"It's my passion. How many people get to wake up and go to a job they love?" she said.

335-6611, extension 128

Other local horse stables

Several local individuals and the following stables offer riding lessons and other horse-related events:

Rolling Hills Farm, Gordonville

Buck Spain Equine Center, Jackson

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