If We Build It, They Will Come – Part II

Last fall I wrote about the Mackinac Island Horsemen’s Association (MIHA) and their dream to build a community stable for the island.  The MIHA has worked diligently for three years to fund this project through proceeds from the Mackinac Island Festival of the Horse and from private donations.  Through their hard work, and the generosity of people who love this island and everything it stands for, over $190,000 has been raised. With those funds, and with a construction loan for the remaining amount, the MIHA broke ground this spring, and the community stable is going up so fast it’s like watching a time-lapse photograph.

The site as it appeared last Fall, when I was given a tour by Leanne Brodeur and Steve Rilenge. With proceeds from two Festivals of the Horse, the arena and seating were already constructed at the rear of the property .


The Mackinac Island Horsemen's Association vision.


The site now, looking from the horse arena toward the rear of the stable. Can You Believe It!!


Inside work - where each of the two wings will hold 10 stalls. One wing will be for the 4-H horses, and the other wing will be used as private rental stalls, bringing in revenue for the stable and the island 4-H program.


One of two "run-ins", where horses turned out into the corrals during the day can go for shelter.


The other "run-in", nearly completed.


Looking straight through the building. In the center, between the two wings, will be tack rooms, classrooms, and bathrooms.


Ted talks with Jim Groat, owner of Mystic Meadows Construction Company, who is building this stable with so much pride and care you'd think it was his own. Jim owns a professional horse facility himself, and he knows everything that's needed to make Mackinac Island's stable one of the finest in the country.

If you go back and look at the photos above one more time, you will notice that everywhere you look there is sand.  I think I mentioned in last Fall’s story that people associated with the Horsemen’s Association believe this spot of land was somehow ordained to be used for this purpose, and Jim has made that belief even harder to deny.  Of the three places on the island that could have been used for the facility, the other two that were surveyed had about an inch of topsoil and nothing but rock below that.  This piece of land, and as far as anyone knows it is the only property like it on the island, is sand – pure, white almost-beach perfect sand – the safest, easiest, and most natural setting for a horse facility.  No rocks to dig through, no hauling in of sand for topsoil.  Jim says the money that was saved in construction with just that benefit alone is unbelievable.  On an island with very little topsoil and limestone below that, to find this 4-acre spot with nothing but sand for many feet down is truly a gift.
If things continue to progress as planned, the stable will be open by the middle of June, and that is truly remarkable.  But please don’t think the work is over.   Donations are appreciated, and if you’re interested in making a contribution, please email me at brendasumnerhorton@hotmail.com, and I will get you to the right person.  Another way to contribute is to plan on visiting the island during the third annual Festival of the Horse July 20-24.  Proceeds from all the activities during this special event will go toward the community stable debt.  Click here for 2011 Festival of the Horse information:  http://www.mackinacislandfestivalofthehorse.org/.
Please make a visit up to see the community stable part of your island visit.  The site is located on British Landing Road across from Wawashkomo Golf Course.  And you’ll be seeing lots more of the activity up there as the summer progresses right here on this blog.  It’s only a 10-minute bike ride from our condo, and I’m planning on taking riding lessons this summer – yes I am!
If you’d like to read the original article about the community stable, you can find it by clicking here:  https://bree1972.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/if-we-build-it-they-will-come/.

10 thoughts on “If We Build It, They Will Come – Part II

  1. Wow – how wonderful. Now I’m doubly sad that I didn’t make it over to British Landing when I was there in May. Next visit for sure. Thanks for the update.

  2. RIDING LESSONS!!!!!! WooHoo!!!! You better believe I will be there cheering you on – or perhaps, riding next to you cheering you on!

  3. How I wish I could be there for the Festival of the Horse. I am a horse lover (former horse owner). The facility will be beautiful and the site is perfect. What a neat story!

  4. Wow! That sure is coming along fast!. I’m so glad that they were able to raise the money to get this done, it looks like it’s going to be awesome! Wish I was there to take riding lessons with you. I had a horse, which was too young to ride, when I was in high school, but my friends and I loved to ride on the weekends whenever we could. Of course that was MANY years ago. 😉 I did notice the sand as I was reading your story, perfect spot huh! How amazing is that!

  5. They have really been working hard, haven’t they?? I remember seeing the land on this blog for the first time. It is beautiful now, just think how gorgeous it will be when it is completed. How wonderful they have someone who loves horses building this beautiful place for the horses and everyone else to enjoy.

    Loved the tulips in the previous post, gorgeous!

  6. That is really coming along great! Can’t wait to see it! I think it is wonderful that you will be taking riding lessons, I would love to do that someday!

  7. That is amazing progress. It looks so nice. I’m sure that the horses who will be calling it home will be impressed. Have fun with your riding lessons.

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