I want to give y’all a little glimpse inside New Beginning Stables where our pony named Piper and Mascot Ex- Race Horse Rocky reside in Columbia City, Indiana.
But before the tour, I need to share a little history about growing up on the horse show circuit.
In my younger days, I grew up riding at competitive IHJA Hunter/Jumper barns. We would practice during the week and then road trip on the weekends to Midwest horse shows. The horse shows allowed us to be competitive with our peers but what these earlier days taught me was discipline, dedication and compassion for our furry friends.
We would get up at 5am to feed horses, lounge them to release all piss & vinegar, braid manes, polish our tack & boots, groom and make sure all was picture perfect prior to showing in our classes. I have to add that “horse show moms” are the toughest breed around. They are our bankers, grooms, cheer leaders, caregivers, support system and anchor for getting us through the 15 hour long days. One of my favorite horse show locations was Foxton Farm in Romney, IN. The facilities were outstanding- far better than the Lincoln Lodge Motel that would be our homestead during the weekend nights. Motel 6 made this old location seem like the Ritz Carlton.
I remember going to the front desk and “renting” beta movies for $.25 – our selection varied from Old Yeller to soft porn. We would check our full size bed for bed bugs prior to getting under the covers and watch the cockroaches crawl from under the door. I think the horses had better sleep than our sleepless nights. But back then- us kids didn’t care, we were all in for the horse shows. I still keep in touch with many of my friends from the horse show era and owe Wendy Newby and Tammy Provost with Meadow View Farms in Noblesville, IN for the successes I had.
From 1989-1997 my mom, (Ann Borne) and I traveled the Midwest to horse show after horse show. She deserves all the credit during this era- she kept me sane, motivated and dedicated to do what I loved most. I need to also add- she worked as a FWCS (Fort Wayne Community Schools) teacher to support this quite pricey hobby. She never complained about hours and money involved.
In 1998 I graduated High School and went to Indiana University. The horses at this point were gone and I enjoyed the next 4.5 years in Bloomington. After graduating with a degree in Communications I proceeded to Washington DC with my beloved Rottweiler, Cali. Because Rottweilers were classified as a “lock jaw breed” I was not allowed to live in the district and was required to live in Fairfax, VA. This was my first glimpse into dog breed discrimination.
WOW, my little Midwest bubble was popped and glimpse into the real life occurred. I stayed in DC working in biometric security, right after 9/11. It was a culture shock. After two years of Washington DC life, I moved back to the mid-west / Chicago. Mind you, the love for horses during these times never left but were only fulfilled in my sleepless dreams. When I made the occasional trip home, I would call Nora McDonald Yaney an amazing horsewoman and beg her to ride or take a lesson... and we would jump and we would jump big! the higher the jumps the better. MISS YOU MORE THAN YOU KNOW NORA! (She lives in Ocala,FL now and runs South Paw Ranch).
I found a little barn outside of Chicago, and leased an old trail horse for weekend trail rides- the passion was still there.
Fast forward 10 years- I got married, had one daughter named Ellie and talked my husband JT into moving back to Indiana. Justin is originally from the south side of Chicago. He didn’t grow up with horses or farm life so this was about to be a culture change for him. Coincidentally, the house behind my parents was for sale. We purchased the home and soon thereafter camp Borne/Torres was established.
I wanted more than anything to have another horse. The most logical reasoning I could come up with was to ask Justin if Ellie could have a pony! Sounds normal for a 3 year old to have a pony, right?
He didn’t understand that we had to “board” our new pony and that “board” is a car payment. So here we go…. I stopped my pedicures, gym membership and applied that to pay for our new wonder pony, Piper’s monthly expenses.
I needed to find a local stable to house this new family member unicorn. The local hunter/ jumper barns had made some changes in the 15 years I was gone- and I surely couldn’t pay the monthly fees to keep Piper Pony at a high end lesson stable.
I drove around, just like we did before cell phones and the internet looking for barns in the area. 6 miles down the road, I saw large pastures, beautiful white fencing, run- in horse sheds but no sign on the mile long barn lane.
Screw it, I thought to myself- I drove down the lane, and was greeted by an older woman in a golf cart. I rolled down my window and asked if they board horses- she said that her son runs the barn and YES he does board horses. This is when I met Bill Yelton and at the time Debbie Shepherd now Debbie Yelton of New Beginning Stables. The start of a new era began.
Bill is a tall guy, 6’5 maybe? He walked out with a cowboy hat and cowboy boots.
Side note- I didn’t EVER own a pair of cowboy boots until this year. I only wore polished paddock boots and English Equestrian Field Boots and maybe a pair of chaps every once in a while.
We had our introduction, I asked what his “discipline” was and he said Natural Horsemanship. WTF is Natural Horsemanship!??! I am an English -Hunter/Jumper rider. Never had I heard of this “discipline.” I mean, I know Western Pleasure, Barrel Racers, Dressage, Eventing, etc. but Natural Horsermanship?! IT sounded like hocus pocus. And Yes, maybe it is a little hocus pocus and horse witch craft (just kidding, Bill) we love you!
Next up- the skill and magic of Natural Horsemanship