Thursday, December 18, 2014

Horse lovers organizing saddle club

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 11/22/2013

Some Franklin County residents are getting ready to saddle up for a new adventure.

For those in Franklin County who are interested in cutting drive times by joining a local saddle club, Susan Mayhan, rural Quenemo, KC Bond, Williamsburg, and Chanda Smith, Princeton, are spearheading an effort to bring one such club to Franklin County.

“To go to any of the saddle clubs, you either go to Lawrence, Garnett or Lyndon,” Mayhan said. “Douglas County Trail Riders has a huge, great program, but you have to drive up there. I thought it was a shame that we don’t have that for Franklin County residents and for their families, and everybody agreed with me that it would be fun to do some rodeos, clinics, shows, barbecues and some family activities.”

The trio hopes to make their idea a reality with the first Franklin County Saddle Club meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at Sirloin Stockade, 2230 S. Princeton St., Ottawa. A second meeting has been scheduled for sometime in January at Buzzards Pizza, 410 E. Franklin St., Pomona, Mayhan said.

“We want to have a couple of organizational meetings so we can get officers, membership fees, bylaws and committees all worked out,” she said.

The idea has had a decent amount of interest in the area, Mayhan said. The Franklin County Saddle Club had 97 members on their open group Facebook page as of Wednesday, and Mayhan said she’s excited for the support.

“I am hoping it will come across all generations,” she said. “A lot of people like horses. If they don’t have horses and are interested, [they can still] come.”

Mayhan, who said she helps rescue abused and neglected horses and finds them new homes, said the group will be able to rent the rodeo arena at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Ottawa for $75 per event, and also plans to give a presentation to the Franklin County Board of Commissioners following the new club’s first meeting. While the group is looking for a regular place to conduct meetings, Mayhan said, she wants to work closely with other area saddle clubs.

“I want to work in conjunction with Garnett and other saddle clubs,” she said. “I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes with show dates and things like that. I want to work in harmony with them.”

Saddle clubs in the area already have responded to Mayhan’s desire to work together.

“I’ve been involved with horses for over 20 years, and I’ve been to many events in Franklin County,” Jenna Brumm, president of the Douglas County Trail Riders, said. “I know a lot of horse people in the area. It is very exciting that they are going to form a group in the area because it is something that is needed.”

The addition of a saddle club in Franklin County is positive for the horse-riding community, Brumm said.

“There is a lot of positive energy [in Franklin County],” she said. “Everybody is wanting to come together and get everyone involved, whether they ride professionally or just ride for fun. Saddle Clubs are really good about promoting the horse industry. Anything that promotes positive growth in the horse industry is a great thing.”

Interest in the group is widespread, Mayhan said.

“We’ve got people from Centropolis, Ottawa, Wellsville, Williamsburg, Pomona, Quenemo, Richmond, Princeton and Rantoul,” she said. “Ottawa is kind of the central point — the more people we can have come, the more ideas.”

Such components as insurance, barrel racing fences and equipment, a clock timer and renting the arena for events won’t come cheap, Mayhan said, so the club plans to soon organize a tack sale and bake sale fundraiser.

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