View Full Version : Good hunter/jumper show barn in Iowa

Jul. 3, 2009, 07:00 PM
Hello, I am moving to Iowa (Cedar Falls area) and I'm looking for a good hunter/jumper show barn. If anyone has any suggestions of barns, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.:)

Jul. 3, 2009, 07:04 PM
If it was in Des Moines, I could help you. Have you checked the yellow pages for stables in Cedar Falls? Or you could call one of the barns in Des Moines and ask them.

Donna from IA
Jul. 3, 2009, 07:19 PM
Hi! I moved to Iowa City about 8 years ago and love the state and the people. I can't give you any advice about barns in Cedar Falls. However, you will be about 90 min from Mason City for the Midstates A shows and there are AA shows at Maffitt Lake Equestrian Center just outside of DesMoines. A trip up there (or down there) would introduce you to the community. Also, Midstates web site lists trainers. See http://www.midstateshorseshows.com/Trainers.htm. Fall show is scheduled for Sept 9-13. Maffitt Lake has two shows in August. Good luck in finding a barn.

Jul. 3, 2009, 07:32 PM
I don't know about Cedar Falls, but I can give you some places in Des Moines if you're up to the drive. Maffit Lake Farms or Valley Park Stables are the two places I'd recommend in Des Moines. MLF is a more "big show" focused barn, whereas VPS has a local show focus in addition to the A shows. They might know someone in the Cedar Falls area, too.

Jul. 3, 2009, 07:41 PM
I am from the Ames area, but I recall this place being built a few years before I moved away.


I don't know that they are really h/j or more eventing but it might be a good place to start. There always seemed to be a lot more good barns on that side of that state, so I am sure that you will find something. If you can get hold of a copy of Apples N Oats (Iowa horse magazine) there used to be a lot barns that advertised in there.

Donna from IA
Jul. 3, 2009, 07:50 PM
The INHJA has a web-site www.inhja.com, but no link to trainers. The Apples N Oats suggestion is spot on; it is filled with advertisements for trainers in the area. http://www.applesnoats.com/

Jul. 3, 2009, 08:43 PM
Thank you all so much for all of your help and suggestions. We are will to drive a few hour to take lessons, so barns in the Des Moines area are also options. Thanks so much for the help!:)

Jul. 3, 2009, 11:37 PM
I never rode there, but Valley Park Stables in DM is supposed to be one of the better h/j barns in the state. There used to be a couple of others in the same area, but they changed hands a few times and I lost track of their names.

Good luck moving to Iowa-- I left the state a year ago.:)

Jul. 3, 2009, 11:52 PM
I sent you a private message with some more details.

Jul. 4, 2009, 12:13 AM
Back in the 60's and 70's when I had my horses down there - we had JonBar ran by Don Snelling, Hans Post Stables (where I boarded), Maggie Moss's place and Racoon Valley Horse Center. We did stationary jumps for the hunters in a real hunt field! Nowadays, it's "eventing". Oh, the changes.

Valley Park, I believe, is the old Hans Post Stables.

Does anybody on this board from Des Moines remember these barns?????

Jul. 4, 2009, 10:16 AM
Gooselover, I'm a little too young to "remember" them, but I know of them. I rode in the valley from about 1990 until I moved away in 2005. I was at Maggie's old place mostly (post-polo club, it was a show barn for a few years, and now has no trainers but is a nice little boarding barn), but took lessons at Valley Park. I began riding at Deer Valley, at the western end of the valley. That was part of Moss's originally too. My first trainer came from the family that originally had Robin Hill.

Hans had retired by the time I started riding, but he still lived in the valley and was a regular railbird at all the little shows. I really enjoyed him, and wished I would have had the opportunity to ride with him.

I love hearing the horsey history of Des Moines! It was very hard for me to leave my horsey group in DSM. I desperately miss riding in the park, and having such a great little horse paradise (minus the flooding ;)) in the middle of the city. My mom still helps out on the weekends where I used to board, so I at least still catch some of the news and updates.

Jul. 4, 2009, 11:24 AM
Depending on how much & at what level you want to show, if you'll be boarding a horse or looking for school horses, etc. you might also want to consider the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area. There are a couple of barns that have nice programs, depending on your situation and goals.

Jul. 6, 2009, 12:49 PM
I ride in Des Moines now, at Valley Park. Its great but OneonOne was spot on when saying we have a balance between local and "A" shows. Maffitt Lake is more of a top dollar show barn, but they also have great facilities. It just kinda depends on what you are looking for. We do go to alot of "A" shows but its also like a huge family down here :]

There is also a smaller barn (the old foxfield) now called Irish Run down in the valley. I don't know much information about their program, sorry.

OneonOne & Gooselover- It's really cool to hear about what Valley Park used to be like. I love riding in the park as does my horse :] and its a perfect place of paradise in the middle of the city.

Jul. 6, 2009, 01:50 PM
I don't know much about Irish Run either. That's where I originally started riding, back when it was Deer Valley (pre-Foxfield). If the OP is interested, I can check my sources in the valley to get the scoop.

Jumpersluck, do they still require you to stick to the trail in the park? Way back when, the park was even more fun when we could build jumps and ride in the big open field near the turn in the bike path. When the park took down our jumps and restricted us to the path, it was a sad day. I totally understand why they did it (liability, and the few riders who were disrespectful of the other bikers/walkers in the park), but it took a lot of the fun out of riding in the park. I still remember the first time my trainer deemed I was ready to gallop through the woods out there on the jumping trail! I used to gallop polo ponies out there too, but that got harder when they restricted the trails. There used to be baseball fields where the frisbee golf course is now.

I hope there is at least a little freedom around the lime pits. That was my backup gallop trail. There are some great views of the city back there that not many people get to enjoy!

Valley Park has come a long way since I first arrived in the valley. It was originally just the one barn (the north barn) and the adjoining arena, and the three? paddocks on that side of the road. The second ring (I'd call it the upper, east ring?) went in a few years after the Longs bought it, and it used to just be a mud hole where the water sat. It's been raised quite a bit, maybe 10 feet? from it's original elevation. It used to be at the same level as the road on the east side of it. After they bought the second barn (which used to be a shakey tail barn named Saquara), the old oval saddlebred ring (where the newest, big ring is now) was a turn out lot for a few years before they put in that nice new ring.

When I think of where the Longs started with that place (it was kind of a dump when they bought it), and all they've built there now, it's pretty amazing!

Jumpersluck, I'm just guessing that you never met Hans. He used to live in the house where the Longs live now, on the left as you cross the tracks going into the valley.

If you know where to look, you can still see some of the ruins of the old Robin Hill stables, which burned down sometime in the 70s, I think. If you go into the park on the gravel road through the real gates (not the back way from VPS), it was on the west side of the road in the woods.

Jul. 6, 2009, 08:23 PM
Well, I can certainly give you the horsey stories!!!!! I rode down there from 1965 to when I sold my last horse around 1976. I hold the most wonderful memories and even got my name in the paper!

I started years ago with Shirley Beakler - she ran a saddlebred barn in Norwalk I believe. I remember my riding lessons going up and down the barn isle! there was NO arena!!!! WOW! But as a young kid, it didn't matter to me. I think I was with Shirley for a short time until I discovered Hans Post. My horse crazy neighbor, Ann, boarded her horse at Hans's. I was SO JEALOUS of her getting a horse! However, I look lessons from Hans. His school horses at the time were Phil, Bento, and a mare - can't remember her name. It was Lady!

I met alot of people at Hans. I remember alot of the horses and the owners still to this day at my age! So many wonderful memories and of course a very BAD one - when Robin Hill burned down.

We had just purchased my first horse - Stanboley. He came from Robin Hill - NOT the one out in West Des Moines but down in the valley - the original Robin Hill. I remember Wendy Holt and her jumper Moonman - everyone in the grandstands at the fair would holler JUMP MOONIE - including Wendy. Anyway, Stanboley was over at Hans' place and had been for about 3 weeks when we purchased him. Not that long later, Robin Hill burned down. I had just competed in my first show - February 1968 - a walk trot on Bento and I WON it! Won a beautiful silver platterl and a big blue ribbon. That did it for me! I was hooked! I think about 2 years later, Robin Hill burned to the ground.

However, a few days after Robin Hill burned, I was on my way to the barn. I was at the corner where you turn right to go to Han's place - if you turned left, it was Robin Hill. I met a rendering truck with all the dead horses in it - that sight I will never forget. I was 16 years old.

A few years later, I moved to JonBar - right next door to Hans - maybe to the east? Don Snelling owned it and Jayne Ruan was there (anybody remember her?). The Ruan family was quite wealthy there in Des Moines. Don left not too long afterwards and Bob Baker ran the place. I showed many times at Raccon Valley Pony Club (dont' know what it is called now - Irish Run??? It was then that we discovered you do not have a Saddlebred (he wasn't your typically SB) in hunter classes. Remember, everything is so different now and has been for a number of years.

So, we decided to buy an OTTB. enter Hypmotique aka Early Times. Stanboley was sent to the NEW Robin Hill to be sold as we purchased Hippy from them also. I remember my friend and I went to Robin Hill and RODE Stanboley back from their place back down to JonBar - now named Early Times after my horse! I couldn't stand not having Stanboley, and I wanted him back. We just went out there to Robin Hill, grabbed my horse, and rode him back - what 10-15 miles? Didn't even tell the Holts!

I got my name in the paper for doing that - riding a horse down Grand- can you imagine a 17 year old riding her horse BAREBACK from clear out Grand Avenue to Waterworks Park - crossing 63rd!!! Geez....

My parents couldn't afford 2 horses which is why we decided to sell Stanboley, but in my heart - I wanted to keep him. So, we sold Early times (Hippy) to Bob Baker and Robin (can't remember her last name - she was his trainer).

Bob then switched barns again and went to the Racoon Valley Horse Club (Irish Run I believe now). It was the barn to the west of Maggie's. After a period of time, I became more interested in boys than the horse, so we sold Stanboley to a Dr in Florida. I missed him every day.

My friends and I would ride in Waterworks Park almost every day. We lived at the barn. Back then Waterworks park was full of hippies - and my friends and I would WOW them by jumping the picnic tables! It was so much fun and we were such daredevils!

Up on Grand Avenue around 28th street back then was a Kings Food Host. They had a drive-in. We would ride our horses up there and the darn waitress/car hop would about drop their tray when they saw 2-3 horses parked in the drive in! In fact, the first time, the gal did drop our order!

Ahhh, the memories.

What happened to Dirk Post? Did he go on to ride too? Is Hans still alive? He was a wonderful trainer - typical German, and he would be harsh at times, but he taught me so much.

UPDATE: I look at Irish Run - it is the old Racoon Valley Horse Club. We called it the end of the road - Maggie's place was to the east of that.

I remember the board at Hans' place was $60/mo. Alot of money back then.

Jul. 7, 2009, 12:40 PM
Wow! This thread is a walk down memory lane! I don't usually post, but I just could not resist.

I rode in Des Moines in the late '70s and early '80s and remember all these places! Is the park that has been mentioned several times Waterworks Park? It was such a treat to ride in there!

I started at Racoon Valley and then moved to Hidden Valley (before it became Saquara. They let a few of us H/J people stay when they bought the place). We would go over to Valley Park - the barn right behind Hidden Valley - right?? - all the time for their shows it was wonderful. When Hidden Valley still owned the barn the Mongona Hunt (sp?) show was held out in the hunt field, grass rings of course!

Boy do I remember the flooding. All of the barns down there would pack up and go to the Fair Grounds. My horse was always a bit too much of a handful for me on the track at the Fair Grounds.

I remember what must be the "new" Robin Hill and the shows they had. It was a treat for us to go there and over to Moffit Lake because we got to trailer out there. With the barns so close we did not have to trailer much (I did mostly local shows at that point before moving east).

Jul. 7, 2009, 03:22 PM
Oh my goodness this just made my day. I love hearing all the history! Its so cool to imagine what it used to be.

We're not really technically allowed to ride in the actual waterworks park anymore :[ However, we do sometimes go and get a good gallop in on the frisbee golf course. We ride out on the levees now. The Upper can get quite muddy but is the best one for galloping on. The Lower doesn't get messy but is shorter and has sharper turns. We do still gallop by the lime pile. Unfortunately there aren't any jumps out there.

My horse is boarded in the Saquara (sp?) barn. But the original barn is still in full use! The rings are great, kinda mushy when it rains but hey.

The flooding still comes full force. Last year we had to move our show horses out to Windy Ridge (over by Blank Park Golf Course) right before a show! The rest of the horse go where they can, but its always a scramble to get out before the river crosses the road. And we did major work to clean it up last year a week before our home show.

We still have a pack of barn rats who spend a ton of time down there, myself included. Unfortunately we can't ride up to the drive thru on our horses, but we frequent the nearby fast food restaurants in our cars :]

Thanks for all the history it was great to hear!
Smallhorses - sorry for kinda taking over your thread. good luck searching for barns!

Jul. 7, 2009, 05:00 PM
Murphy 12 - you rode ABOUT the same time I did - mine was the 60's and 70's. More importantly, do you remember Bob Baker? His "rider" was Robin and I can't remember her last name for the life of me. She is a well known trainer, I THINK, somewhere in the Kansas Area. Bob would have been running Racoon Valley (irish Run) back in the 1970's. Do you remember when the barn just down the street from Hans' was Early Times? It was back in the corner.

Remember Danny Goldberg and The spoiler? Or how about Martini - the jumper from Hans' Place. Queen Size owned by the Cummings I believe - her father and Amy? The Froms - Becky? Jayne Ruan and The Net? So many wonderful riders and horses.

What barn is this Saquara? JonBar? Maggie's - what was the original name of this barn so I can picture it.

You will NEVER believe where I am going tomorrow. Des Moines!!!! We have a funeral to go to unfortunately, and guess what i am going to revisit? Yes, the barns after all these years.

Jul. 7, 2009, 08:56 PM
Gooselover, you're thinking of Robin Brightwell. She and Frank Mathews taught at Valley Park when Shirley Beakler ran the place.

Jul. 7, 2009, 09:58 PM
Yes, that was her name. Her and Bob Baker purchased my horse Early Times and named the barn after him - which was the old JonBar.

Do you remember that horse?

Jul. 8, 2009, 03:51 PM
You are really testing my memory here - I just just a pony kid at the time. I do remember Shirley.

At the time I rode with Debbie Nelson and for a little while with John Schnieder, then Debbie again before moving to the east coast. Was Jayne Ruan's son John? I went to school with him (I told you I was just a pony kid!)

All these "west this" and "north" that are a bit confusing. I can picture it all in my mind though.

Where you in the area when Hidden Valley became Squara? There were only a few of us who stayed. If you were one of them, then we definately crossed paths! I had a 14.3 buckskin horse named "Bucky" - very creative I know. He had been a school horse at Hidden Valley and then when the barn sold all the school horses were sold too (Nosey, Foxtrot, Bucky and Henry). Oh the stories I have of good ol'Bucky. There were way too many times we would be having a lesson in the main outdoor ring (which was down a slight hill from the barn) and Bucky would take off up the hill, past the barn and down to Valley Park. Needless to say, I learn a lot from Bucky.

Jul. 8, 2009, 08:29 PM
What a fun thread! I'm pretty sure Robin Brightwell was the trainer at Deer Valley shortly before I started riding (in 1990). When I started there, Nancy Holt (Wendy's sister in law) was my trainer. Nancy moved to Maggie's place (which was empty when we moved there) in 1992. Just in time for the big floods in 1993! We had 18 feet of water in the indoor arena down on the old polo field. That was when Raccoon Valley/Deer Valley became Foxfield. Now it's Irish Run.

I can't remember who asked, but Hans Post has since passed away. I'm thinking in the late 90s, but I can't be entirely sure.

Bob Baker is still around Des Moines. His daughter Rae is the trainer at Irish Run.

My mom rode at the old Robin Hill as part of a phys ed class when she was at Drake. I think that was shortly before the fire, maybe fall of '67.

Jul. 8, 2009, 10:49 PM
I'm mostly a lurker and never really post, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Bob Baker actually passed away last summer. It was very sad time for everyone in Des Moines.

The Gambler's Choice at the Valley Park B show is now held in his honor, which I think is a nice gesture.

Again I hate for my first post to be one with such sad news, but I love hearing about all the old history of Des Moines. There are such great stories out there!

Jul. 8, 2009, 11:06 PM
Did I really say John Schneider? I meant George. I am feeling old right now.

Jul. 8, 2009, 11:07 PM
While we are walking down memory lane, do they still hold the "d" series horse shows?

Jul. 9, 2009, 08:05 AM
You know, Fastest4Faulter, just after I hit send on that post, I was thinking I'd heard that Bob had passed, but wasn't sure. Thanks for clarifying that.

And the D shows are alive and well last I knew. Last I competed there, it was quite a competitive series. I can't remember exactly when, but at some point in the late 90s they became so popular and with so many classes that they became two-day shows. They were doing the limit and low classes on Saturday, and Sunday was the Open day. Jumpersluck can confirm or deny whether that's still the case.

I never had the money or horses for the big shows, so I really, really loved the D series. It was always nice to be able to walk to most of those shows! I also enjoyed the camaraderie there, since it was almost always the same group of people from the different barns. It was competitive, but it seems like everyone was always cheering everyone else on, regardless of what barn you rode with. If I ever get back into showing here, I hope I can find a similar type of local show circuit.

Jul. 9, 2009, 11:22 AM
Hey everyone, we are in Des Moines right now for a funeral (ex father in law). Haven't been here for years and years.

After the funeral, I am going down to the barns. I will put two and two together insofar as who is what now and what it used to be. I am curious as to what JonBar is called now.

One of my favorite memories is of the Charity Horse Show always held in April. What a NEAT show it was. Anyone who was anybody came to that show. It ended with a bang with a Puissance. What a site to see - Don Snelling on his jumper (can't rack my memory that much) who would clear that wall at 7'.

Coming back home after reading and postin on this thread is surreal about barns in Des Moines. I am going to stop at Irish Spring and see if Rae is Bob's daughter - I knew Bob so very well and can share alot of stories with her about her father. At the time, Bob was not a trainer, nor did I ever think he WAS a trainer - just a guy that loved horses and the barn people. He just owned/rented the barns, nothing else. Jack Jones and his wife Kathy were in cahoots with Bob running JonBar,but then Jack and Kathy built their own little place in Pleasant Hill? Bob then moved to Racoon Valley. That is where I boarded until I sold Stanboley.

Interesting tidbit about Stanboley. As previously mentioned, he came from Robin Hill and moved to Hans' place about 3 weeks before the fire. The girl that owned him was selling him because she broke up with her boyfriend - named Stan Boley.

This thread has brought back so many many memories.

the wiz
Jul. 9, 2009, 12:29 PM
I usually just lurke, but I know all these names and places!
I grew up riding in the Valley.
Rode in the Des Moines Charity for many years, as well as worked in the secretary's office.
Worked for the Holts - quit college to buy my first horse and lost him in the fire 6 months later.
Robin B. was one of the of our little kids back then.
Todd Minikus was about 8 yrs old when he started taking lessons in West DM. His mom made my wedding dress.....all the little barn kids came to my wedding and sat giggling in the front row.

Jul. 9, 2009, 07:05 PM
Gooselover, I'm sure you'll find the valley has changed quite a bit in some ways! They paved the road a few years ago!

My first trainer used to tell us stories about Todd as a kid.

How many horses were lost in the Robin Hill fire? It was quite a few, wasn't it? :(

the wiz
Jul. 10, 2009, 10:58 AM
The fire was in Feb 1971.
51 horses were lost.

Jul. 10, 2009, 11:23 AM
In answer to the question, how many horses were lost in the fire? Alot - around 50 horses, including Wendy's beloved Moonman. I am wondering about searching for an archive in the Des Moines Register for the article. It was quite sad and the memory of the rendering truck that day.

After the funeral yesterday, we went to visit my mother and grandparents at the Masonic Cemetary. We then went to Glendale to see my childhood best friend that had committed suicide in 2004. To my horror, the family never put a grave marker for her and I am going to see about getting her one. At the time of her death, I asked her ex-husband if he was able to get her one and he assured me he would,but I guess he never did. I can't stand to see my best friend laying in the ground with nothing. I will stop at Glendale on my way out to see about getting Deb something. I can't find anybody in her family here either anymore.

Now,to the barns!

Coming down 31st and taking that sharp left to go into the valley seemed bittersweet. After all these years, it seemed normal in a way. I think my husband was thinking...where in the hell are you taking me! It looked more overgrown going down that road, but the railroad tracks were still there. The road going to the old Robin Hill had gates and I don't know if you could drive down it,but we didn't. The road going down there was, in my mind,a very very sad time.

But Han's place looked the same and the barn right behind it is now Valley Park, too. So Valley Park has two barns. The barn right behind Han's place was JonBar and I think at one time what you all referred to as Saquara? It changed from JonBar to Early Times after my horse. It looked the same, but alot more arenas than I remember. The pasture across the road from Han's place, our hunt field, was gone to be changed into just a pasture. I can still picture the jumps........

I didn't get out and go in to Han's place as there would have been no one there I remembered...I wanted to leave my memories as they were almost 35 years ago.

We left and went down the road to Maggie's and to Raccon Valley (Irish Run). That road was really so overgrown compared to the way I remembered it. It seemed narrower due to the growth, but remember, I was a teenager. I recognized Maggie's house, but the barn didn't look the same at all. But Irish Run did. They built another barn beside the original one - but not sure if this barn had stalls.

I had to go in after reading that Rae was Bob's daughter. And I did. Here I was in this dress - for the funeral. Something you definitely don't wear to the barn! Two girls were putting away this horse and I asked if Rae was there and it was her! I told her who I was and that I knew her father very very well. She was a lovely girl and I shared my stories about her father. And yes, he passed away last year. I would have loved to have seen him. About that time, Rae said her mom just drove up and I asked her what is your mother's name? And she replied, Janet. I remembered....and I knew her too. Rae introduced me to her mother and she remembered me and my horses. We shared times back then - it was really bittersweet. I didn't think I would recognize Janet, but the minute I saw her, I remembered her face and her eyes. All this from 35 years ago. Rae brought out one of her OTTB's and we all reminiscied more. I saw the stalls where my horses were so many many years ago and long gone now. It was all I could do to keep my getting misty eyed of a time that was precious to me, my horses - a gift my parents did for me due to my love and passion of them. My parents were not wealthy like most of the people down there and it was such a financial struggle for them. So many of the kids' parents were doctors, lawyers, etc.,etc.,and my dad was a postal worker employee.

Irish Run looked the same, but there was wear and tear from what I remember 35 years ago. Janet told me of how Bob was able to finally purchase the place from John Ruan. I was so happy for Bob he finally got his dream, because he was renting it at the time I was there.

I shared with Janet the time that Jack Jones and Bob - while at JonBar (Early Times) had some whisky down at the barn. Me, like alot of the barn rats that were at the barn all days long! - Every day - talked Bob and Jack into giving us some. I was 16 years old and had never drank. They gave us some and sure enough, stupid me, drank half the bottle straight. Bob and Jack kept saying - you had better watch out, you can't drink that like that and I thought to myself, WOW, I can really handle this liquor! Sure enough though, they were right and WHAM...it hit. Bob had to call my dad to come to the barn. I was swimming in my own puke in the back seat all the way home....Dad was so mad....and I was so sick...I never drank it again. Ever.. Janet remembered this.

In the 60's and 70's, this was our day....our barns....we were a special group, all of us....Robin Hill, Hans, JonBar and Racoon Valley Horse Club....it's our kids' now that are there and even some of our grandkids now. But oh, in our day, it was special - our time....back when Greenwood park was full of hippies and peace and love and alot of pot smoking (they were - not us!) We would ride our horses over to the park on Saturday and just look at them while wowing them jumping the picnic tables! Riding in Waterworks park, crossing the bridge and going way out to the cornfield....and letting our horses run full gallop along those fields for almost a mile.

Yes, it was our day....and it has come to pass leaving our generation with only wonderful memories now. It's time for the new generation, it's their time.

We are leaving to go home in a few hours. This has been a bittersweet trip for me. Coming home after all these years. This thread has been very special to say the least. Never in my wildest dream when this thread started that in a few days, I would return.

Thank you all for giving me this. And for those of you that did ride back in "our day", I would love to see if we know each other.

the wiz
Jul. 10, 2009, 12:36 PM
I have the articles from the R&T - but I can't look at them - still makes me cry.
Moonie (Moonman) was not lost in the fire - he came after.( from Kenny Bergdorfer - remember that name?) He retired and moved to Florida where he lived the rest of his days.
I was in DM last summer, the same week-end that Bob B died. There was a horse show going on - I was going to present ribbons w/Wendy for the recognized hunter class, but I couldn't make it at the last minute. However, I did buy Wendie's big jumper while I was there! He now lives in Florida with me and is leading 1st field w/Misty Morning Hounds.

Jul. 10, 2009, 01:11 PM
I am sorry to hear the trip was a bit bittersweet. There are time you just want to leave your memories untouched.

As I reading this, you mentioned that Valley Park was in the front and back? When I was there Hidden Valley (then Squara) was in the front. It had the big outdoor ring next to the roads. It also had the big hunt field. Valley Park was the smaller barn in the back. It too had an outdoor ring, but their ring had a fence around it! (I used to wish ours did). They also held the "D" series shows at their place. Hidden Valley (before it became Squara) hosted the Mongona Hunt Show in the hunt field. Again, this was the early '80s (I am talking about 1979-84 or so).

You mentioned John Ruan sold one of the farms. Can you fill me in on who is who. I went to elementary/middle school (before we moved) with John Ruan. Is this the son of the John who sold the barn? Who is Jayne?

Jul. 10, 2009, 06:42 PM
Of the two barns that are now Valley Park, the white one in the "corner" is the original Valley Park. The barn in the center (I think it's gray?) is the barn that was most recently Saquara.

When I was at Deer Valley (Irish Run), the second barn (we called it the "back barn") did have a few stalls in it (4 or 6?) for overflow or if the schoolies needed to come in for weather/injuries. There was also some day storage there and a place for the tractor. At that time, the back barn was used by the barn owner as a photography studio, so the end nearest the gate was off limits to us.

Gooselover, I'm glad you were able to see Rae and share stories! At the time you were at Robin Hill, were there baseball fields at the end of the road? They removed them shortly after the BIG '93 floods. A few years later, Waterworks Park officially took control of that road and put those gates up. That's now an official walking/bike entrance to the park. No more cars down there.

Jul. 11, 2009, 12:21 AM
It was so nice meeting you, gooselover when you made it to Iowa. Thanks for the stories. Please keep in touch.

As far as everyone else responding to this thread, I'm sure I have ridden or shown or we have known of each other from the past or present and thanks for sharing your memories as well.

Jul. 13, 2009, 11:36 AM
Wiz, you are correct - Moonie did not die in that fire.

I had just purchased Stanboley when the fire happened, so Wendy and Moonman did come after that at the Charity.

There was another jumper there at Hans', named Martini. I have racked my brain for the owner's name and finally remember - Wieck Construction. I do not remember "HER" name that rode him - we always referred to her at Mrs. Wieck.

Anyone remember the Cummings? Missy and her father? Becky Fromm? Lynn Dipaglia with Discotido (Han's named that horse I think). Danny Goldberg with The Spoiler - there was another girl there at Han's by the name of Wendy - her horse was Royal Court and then she purchased another black gelding - can't remember this horse's name either. My dear friend from Han's place was Cindi Book - her father owned Book's Nut House downtown. Her horses name was Dacquiri. I MAY have possibly found her out at that place in Cummings, Iowa? There was a picture of an adult, named Cindi book and I have written to them to see if it is the Cindi Book I knew.

I would have thought I would have remembered Todd Minikus - but if he rode at Robin Hill in WDM, I would not have known him. The only thing I had in common with RH in WDM was when Stanboley was there to be sold and me and my friend went out there, got him - without ANYONE's knowledge! - and rode him back down Grand Avenue clear back to Racoon Valley. And when I said, no one knew - no one at ALL knew - not the Holt's and especially not my parents who were now going to foot the bill for 2 horses! The things I did back then.....oh my.

John Ruan, I believe, was Jaynie Ruan's father. I just remember riding with her at another really blonde headed girl named Kathy at JonBar. They were quite wealthy there in Des Moines.

What a wonderful trip down memory lane I have had.

Jul. 13, 2009, 11:46 AM
Hi there,
Cindi Book does ride at Maffitt Lake Farms with Melinda Antisdel. Melinda's maiden name was Graham. Thought maybe that would bring back more memories for you.

Jul. 13, 2009, 12:29 PM
Hi Rae! No, don't remember a Melinda Graham. Thanks for letting me know it is the same Cindi Book - at least I hope it is! She would be around 50 now.

Update, I called Kyle at Maffitt Lake and it is the same Cindi Book. I have given him my name and number in hopes that Cindi will call. Talk about getting older - he shared with me that Cindi has kids and grandkids now....I remember when we were about 13 years old. Hard to imagine, of course I have kids and grandkids now, too.

the wiz
Jul. 14, 2009, 01:36 PM
Wendy Morgan owned Royal Court.

I'm thinking a girl named Janice rode Martini, and she was not the owner.....I'll have to think harder for the name that goes w/Weick...seems like another WENDY...?

I do remember the Cummings - but Missy was very young...I'm old, I guess: I hunted with her father = Keith (he rode Queen Size), & Bud Lautenbach, Norm Rose, Monty Atidsdale.

I remember Lynn Dipaglia, & Danny G. =had a horse named Strawberry before the Spoiler.

Jaynie's rider @ JonBar was Kathy Brown. As I recall, they didn't have a bunch of money...she didn't own a horse. Kathy was a very talented rider and Jaynie "took her under her wing", and she zoomed to the top riding The Net.He was a fabulous horse!

Jul. 14, 2009, 02:27 PM
Hello, I am moving to Iowa (Cedar Falls area) and I'm looking for a good hunter/jumper show barn. If anyone has any suggestions of barns, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.:)

Check out Riding Resource at http://ridingresource.com :)

Jul. 14, 2009, 08:25 PM
Wiz - could we know each other possibly? You remember all these people that I do. We must be around the same age.

Yes, Keith rode Queez Size and Missy had a little chestnut. Missy was always sooooo very tiny. Wendy Morgan - YES! That was her name.

Jaynie Ruan had a mare - Bon Regal - that we almost purchsed - lovely grey mare, but we just didn't have that kind of money then - even now!

Kathy Brown - YES, that was her name. You have a better memory than I have. And, Mrs. Weick did ride Martini in some shows, especially the Charity. I remember one year, before I owned a horse, Martini had just finished a class at the Charity and Hans had me cooling off the horse - walking him around. Boy, did I feel like big stuff back then - but my most vivid memory of this moment was that Martini had a puncture wound on his side from Mrs. Weick's spurs!

The things you remember at that age! :)

Aug. 13, 2009, 02:29 PM
Hey,,, this sure brings back memories!!! I rode for Robin Brightwell for years in the 70's... she let me ride her Corky in the park I was like dont you even do anything stupid..I'll never live thru it if something happened to her horse...

Aug. 13, 2009, 04:35 PM
Simonsays - then we MUST know each other. In the 70's when she was with Bob Baker - I was there too. Were you there when Bob had the old JonBar or when he was at Racoon Valley? I think Jack Jones was there also. Can't wait to hear if we know each other.

Aug. 13, 2009, 08:18 PM
Its pretty awesome that everyone is still reminiscing about Des Moines.

But yes, they do still have the "D" shows. of course now they have spread to other barns but there are still 3 or 4 at Valley Park every summer. In fact, there is one this weekend! I started my show career at the D shows haha. And yes they are still competitive!

And to clarify the setup, yes the far barn (white one) etc, that you saw gooselover, is the Valley Park barn. The gray one (the first one you see when you pull in) is the Saquara barn. The gates down to the old Robin Hill is a road that leads to a frisbee golf field owned by Waterworks. My friend and I went galloping in there just the other day, I must say I think we frightened some of the frisbee golf players! :]

The old jump field I think is what we call the big pasture. We hacked there just the other day, as the rings were a terrible mess after the rain.

We have a class (the Bob Baker Memorial Gambler's Choice) every year at the charity horse show. Rae, Wes, and Janet all present the trophy. This year it was quite a beautiful etched glass trophy.

The park still has the power it always had. Although we can't jump anymore, my horse loves to race around the upper levee. My friend and I were out there the other day. She was having a terrible day, crying and upset about a conflict she had just had. After letting her calm down some I suggested we just go and gallop. We took off, our horses galloping. Laughing with the fun and sheer excitement of our horses galloping beneath us transformed the afternoon. Needless to say, the grin on her face after our first lap was all I needed :]

Sorry it reads a bit like a novel. Nice catching up with you all!

Aug. 13, 2009, 08:31 PM
Jumpersluck - yes the white barn at the end of the road was JonBar, changed to EarlyTimes and then after that, don't know. The gray barn was Hans's Place. The pasture to the south ( I think - across the road from Hans) was the old hunt field. I was just telling my husband that I truly can describe EVERY jump out there, starting with the log where Hans had his litting "post" ( no pun intended).

I remember riding across the bridge in Waterworks and we would ride for a bit more - to the edge of the park and just RUN our horses along this strip next to some corn fields I believe. It was almost 3/4 mile. if you are speaking of the levees, it MAY have been the same area.

Does anyone have a picture of Bob Baker? I know he passed away, but if someone has one, I would love to see it. Rae was just a baby when he was at JonBar with Jack Jones.

I remember, too, in back of Robin Hill, after the fire, there were some jumps and my friend and I would go back there and jump those too.

Hope someone has a picture of Bob. I did email Rae about it too.

On another note, speaking of the park, I can remember as a young Camp Fire Girl, in love with horses and without one - The Camp Fire Girls would hold some sort of "thing" in October there at Waterworks. All the girls in Iowa would come. I remember seeing the horses and the riders while we were there - having fun on their horses. The envy and wanting were so strong - I was probably about 10-12 years old. NEVER did I dream that one day, I would be on one of those horses, riding in front of some little Camp Fire Girl that had the same yearning and passion that I did. Waterworks was the icing on the cake for us that had horses in the valley.

Charity Show? The fairgrounds used to hold that in the springtime - but it was cancelled back in the 70's. Did they start it back up again - is it the same Charity as back then?

Aug. 21, 2009, 03:50 PM
I bet $$ we know/met each other,,, I was at Early Times now Irish Run.. up til around 77. I had Jill's Sox a QH, then a nutty red roan appy mare w/no tail Summer. I rode for Robin Brightwell for years...

Oct. 15, 2009, 12:25 AM
I remember Jayne Ruan and rode with her several times. She was a good person. Can anyone refresh my memory on how she died?