Locals celebrate their love for horses near homeFeb 03, 2023 08:56AM ● By Collette Hayes
Serendipity Stable owner Sue Hall runs a 15-acre riding stable in the Millcreek area and has been teaching young people and adults to ride horses six days a week for the past 50 years. (Collette Hayes/City Journals)
Many Holladay and Millcreek residents are saddling up in the suburbs, bringing their passion for horses and horsemanship close to home.
Cara Fox, owner of the Holladay-based Fox Stables, has loved horses since she can remember. It wasn’t until she was in college and had a chance to ride and take lessons that she fell even more deeply in love with the equestrian life. Fox’s first little girl, Kate, was born with the same enduring passion for horses as her mother. From the time Kate could walk and talk, it was all things horses. Kate began lessons when she was four years old. Finally, when she turned 13, the family adopted a little 3-year-old mustang rescue filly. (See sidebar about adoptions.)
“Kate absolutely loved our mustang rescue filly,” Fox said. “The next year, we decided to purchase an off-the-track thoroughbred as a jumper pony for my 11-year-old daughter, Lottie, who was learning to enjoy horses as well. We then adopted a rescue pony from the State of Utah through the Gardner Village Rescue Program. The pony has been shown a lot of love and affection, and she is to the point where she trusts humans again. Also, we have added a jumper pony and another off-the-track thoroughbred horse who pretty much rules the roost and thinks he is Superman. He is for sure the leader of them all.”
Kate and Lottie travel the country to compete in jumper and hunter disciplines. Kate who is now 16, placed first in all four of her out-of-state hunter-jumper equestrian riding competitions this past year, and she hopes to receive an equestrian scholarship.
“Riding has taught the children the value of hard work,” Fox said. “Kate and Lottie are out at the stables at least three hours every day. They feed the horses hay and water, grain them, muck out their stalls and then do it all again at dinner time. Also, they exercise the horses for one to two hours a day five days a week.”
HeartMath Institute, a nonprofit research center, has presented a well-researched scientific explanation of how a human’s heart will sync or entrain to the rhythm of a horse’s heart. The nonprofit research has been successful in identifying why people tend to feel better simply from being in close proximity to a horse.
“Horses require a lot of time and love, but if you have it to give, they will reward and bless your life beyond your imagination,” Fox said. “Horses are pure unconditional love and they can feel your emotions at all times. It’s truly amazing how a horse can connect to your heart and heal it when it needs healing. All I have to do is go near one of the horses in order for me to feel peace and calm. Horses have been known to lower a person’s blood pressure and to radiate love.”
Serendipity Stables owner Sue Hall runs a 15-acre riding stable in the Millcreek area and has been teaching young people and adults to ride horses six days a week for the past 50 years. For anyone interested in owning a horse, Hall recommends first taking lessons at a riding stable and then consider investing in a horse. Currently, Hall has a waiting list of 50 students eager to begin riding lessons.
“Students at Serendipity Stables learn on ‘school horses’—horses that are older and gentle,” Hall said. “Kids have to be at least 8 years old to begin taking riding lessons here. A lot of my students in Holladay do not have trucks and trailers, so when students develop enough skill on a horse, we will often do trailer rides.”
University of Utah Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Cindy Furse desperately wanted to own a horse her entire life. Finally, at age 40, she took her first lesson at Serendipity Stables. She began with a lesson once a week which turned into taking lessons five days a week. She now boards three horses at Serendipity and stops by twice a day to feed the horses and take her nightly ride.
“Horses are a lifestyle and a passion,” Furse said. “I ride every day. At the end of a long day, riding grounds you and provides therapeutic, mental and physical health care. Sue really teaches you to learn everything you can about horses so you can learn to ride well.”
Kim and Kathy Capps enjoy living in Holladay and have raised chickens, goats, steer and horses which they feel has been beneficial in teaching their three children the value of hard work and responsibility.
“I love the thought of keeping horse property and horse rights dispersed though out the Holladay community,” Kim Capps said. “Seeing horses in Holladay is becoming rare which is unfortunate. Our horses have been a hobby, and the family has enjoyed riding just for fun. Having the responsibility of feeding and caring for all of our animals has given our kids experience in working hard. It’s been great. The kids have learned responsibility but also have earned some money selling eggs.”
Many people might have dreams of owning and training a wild horse, but Gus Warr, Wild Horse and Burro specialist for the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, said that owning a wild horse can be challenging.
“A wild horse is not a gentled animal. It is wild,” Warr said. “Within a one-year period, if the horse does not gentle down, you can return the horse to the adoption facility. Often, if a horse does not gentle down, it’s because sufficient time has not been invested into training the horse. A wild horse requires daily physical interaction in order to create a bond.”
“If a person is interested in adopting a wild horse, they can reach out to our Delta facility,” Warr said. “You can go down and select an animal and go home the same day with a burro or horse. We have a number of programs so the cost for the horse will vary. When we start talking about the Trainer Incentive Program (TIP), it’s a $125 fee. If you go down to the facility and just want to adopt, it’s $25. We have an adoption incentive program which is different where a general citizen will select a horse and pay $125 at the end of one year. The reason we call it an adoption program is because the animal is still owned by the government for one year and that’s to make sure that the animal is cared for properly. The Bureau of Land Management or our volunteers will do a compliance inspection within that one year to make sure the wild horse is being well cared for.”
If you’d rather just witness the beauty of wild horses, Warr said there are several Utah locations where wild horses can be observed. Utah is home to one of the most famous herds in America, the Onaqui, named for the Onaqui Mountains in the west desert.
“Most any day of the year you could drive out and see the Onaqui herd because the horses are habituated to seeing people,” Warr said. “There are about 250 horses in the herd, and they are easily observed and photographed. People drive out daily to photograph the horses.”
Lexi Adams, age 11, on her horse Mandalorian. Lexi enjoys her riding lessons at Serendipity Stables. (Collette Hayes/City Journals)
University of Utah Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Cindy Furse desperately wanted to own a horse her entire life. Finally, at age 40 she took her first lesson at Serendipity Stables. (Collette Hayes/City Journals)
Kate and Lottie Fox travel the country to compete in jumper and hunter disciplines. Kate, who is now 16, placed first in all four of her out-of-state hunter-jumper equestrian riding competitions this past year, and she hopes to receive an equestrian scholarship. (Photo credit Cara Fox )