BOONE COUNTY – The Boone County Historical Society held its first Boone County Stables Tour to showcase five horse stables in the county. All proceeds from the tours went to BCHS.

Chris Campbell, executive director of the Boone County Historical Society, said he and Janet Thompson, president of the Missouri Horse Shows Association, decided to start the event because it was a way to highlight both of their organizations.

“So few people know about the importance of the history of the horse in Boone County – what it did for this county – and how well known this county is known internationally for the horses that are raised and trained here,” Campbell said.

He’s seen a great reaction from the public.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say ‘I’m so glad you’re doing this. This is great,'” Campbell said. “We want to hear that because we hope this will be an annual thing.”

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., people had a chance to go to all five locations, and watch show jumping, watch reining and go on stable tours. The five tour locations were Brenda Benner Stables, Fox Run Stables, High Spirits Farm, Jim Dudley Quarter Horses and Stephens College Equestrian Center.

Campbell said each stable offered something different.

Stephens College Equestrian Center in Columbia showcased college students in its equestrian studies program by demonstrating various riding demos. Professor Sarah Denninghoff and students Gabby Ault-Zimmerman, Margaret Sheldon and Sally Russell rode on horses as part of the western riding demo. Professor Kelly Hulse and her students put on a saddle seat riding demo. The college has between 50 and 60 horses, which people from across the country have donated.

Jim Dudley from Jim Dudley Quarter Horses has been a judge at many horse shows, including the American Quarter Horse Association.

Campbell called his stables “a little known jewel in Boone County.”

The only Ashland tour location was High Spirits Farm, which trains and sells World & National Champion American Saddlebred horses and Hackney Ponies. It has a fantastic reputation for training horses, Campbell said.

Brenda Benner Stables specializes in riding and driving lessons, according to BCHS.

“Brenda Benner is an absolutely terrific place where a lot of families bring their children for lessons and for boarding,” Campbell said.

Fox Run Stables near Bo Co Mo Lake offers dressage, show jumping and eventing lessons, which Campbell said has a great reputation. Campbell said next year, BCHS and MHSA may choose to showcase five different stables.

“There’s between 20 and 30 really solid stables in the county,” Campbell said.