Monday, August 1, 2016

The Yachats Gazette, Issue 59, August 1 2016

 Download a printable version of The Yachats Gazette, Issue 59, by clicking here.

Interview with Amy Anderson, Robert Bradford,
and Rhonda Chase of SOM1STORE.COM

TYG: So, how did you get into this?
You mean, SOM1STORE.COM, and the gallery, and the website? Well, it started almost two years to the day, with that table over there [points to a somewhat rococo painted side table in teals and golds]. I bought it at the antique store down the road [now Nature’s Bling], and he gave it to me at a good deal, and I brought it home and turned it into something beautiful. I painted it, and it was really fun to do, and I learned, and it made me happy! So I started on the furniture, and I started on this idea, making things happy. And then I met Amy...

Amy: And we started riffing off of each other.

Robert: We sat here at this table, and we just started creating things that were happy, and then we thought, “How can we share our happy?” We thought about developing our own website, to share our happy website. We started talking about it...

Amy: You know, where we got “Share Our Moments [SOM]”? We were about “Share Our Happy,” and we really wanted other people to share their happy with us too. The focus of the SOM1STORE is to basically build and create happiness, and to support that, we sell really great things. But our main goal, eventually, as we get rolling, is to have lots of information on our site for people coming into the coast, or even residents. So, like, what’s going on this weekend in Yachats? What’s going on this weekend in Newport? Whatever. And we want to have all that up on the website, have lots of information, so we hope it’s going to be the go-to place for people to come look for the Central Coast. But he and I started on the SOM1STORE, and we were going with “Share Your Happy.” And I was going home one day from Robert’s, and I see this old, rusty Karmann Ghia. It looks like it can barely hold together, it’s in such bad shape. And there are four people in it, and they’re obviously old Woodstock people—they’re really hippie hippie—and they’re just busting out of this Karmann Ghia. And everybody’s got a great, big grin on their face. And I’m like, “Well, there’s a moment.” I got home and went “Oh my god, Share Our Moments!” And that’s how we came up with the [name].

Robert: “Share Our Happy” turned into “Share Our Moments.” And it has to do with people and sharing. The development of the website started over a year ago; I thought we could do it, and I started it, but realized it was a lot.

Amy: A huge learning curve.

Robert: There was so much I didn’t know. I’m an older folk, and I didn’t know that stuff.

Amy: Along came Rhonda! [laughter]

Robert: Rhonda had been following us as an artist, and we wanted to bring her into the store because she creates beautiful art, and she told me she worked on web development and everything. So I asked her, “Do you want to become part of this company?” And we just click.

Amy: You know how they say once you find your path, everything becomes easier? Rhonda basically crossed our path and we just scooped her up, and we said “You’re just perfect! We need three!” The synchronicity between us is just amazing. The three of us make more than three together.

Robert: I think it’s turned into a wonderful thing, and we’re creating something wonderful.

TYG: I’m still not sure why, but three seems to be a very nice number for the human psyche. Like how Gaul is divided into three parts. It’s got a middle, and left, and a right, so you have the middle, and then specialties.
There’s so much information in each one of us! Information I didn’t know I even had! And when we sit here and discuss what we’re going to market, what we’re going to distribute, what we’re going to create, who we want to deal with, it’s all talking.

Amy: A good example is, Robert’s been an artist his whole life, but he didn’t know it until recently. You can tell that because we start talking about an idea, and I can put it in the context of my 30 years of artist history, Rhonda can put in the context of her twenty-some years of art experience, and Robert has that! He just didn’t realize what container to put it in and make it grow. That’s the kind of thing we do for each other.

TYG: You’ve got a good amount of dynamic creative input.

Robert: There’s such a good creative geometry between the three of us.

Rhonda: Part of that is that we each have our particular specialties that we’re particularly knowledgeable and good at, and they’re not the same.

Amy: They combine. Rhonda and I have pretty similar styles I’d say, with our art. It’s different, but it blends together well. The three of us are working on a project—it will be a little while before we get it going because we’re doing all the start-up stuff—but Rhonda created a character called Ommicia. It’s a little bird around which we’re building a story—the bird is going to symbolize sustainable living and community gardening, interconnectivity.

Rhonda Chase's "Omnicia" (painted)
Rhonda: Keeping things personal, even though we interact digitally.

Amy: So, this beautiful little bird that she started: we’re coming up with stories for her. We go for walks in the forest to come up with inspiration.

Robert: You know the creek over there.

TYG: Starr Creek?
With all of the salmon berries up there this year, it was so wonderful that we renamed it Salmon Berry Creek. [laughter] The mystery and the wonder of Salmon Berry Creek—we want to bring her and her friends into the forest.

TYG: [...] So, what kinds of artists do you have in your store?
Great ones! [laughter]

Robert: Great ones, exactly! You know what? Since I moved here—and this is something I was actually thinking about this morning—and I’ve lived here about four years, you can go to a museum and see great artwork, but you never get to know the artist. But I moved to a community where I’ve met so many artists, and have gotten to see such amazing artwork! I didn’t even know that Carol [Summers], down the street, was a wonderful artist, until all of a sudden I saw her painting one day and I was like, “Oh my gosh, that’s my neighbor!” [laughter]

Amy: We have a lot of really good artists. I’ve worked primarily in glass for the last ten years, but I’m moving over more to illustration and painting because glass is really hard on your body. And it’s also a very expensive medium, and if you’re not on the very top of the game, if you’re not a rock star, it’s very hard to make a living selling those glass pieces. Although I still dabble in it, I still make components for Robert, to add [to his creations.] [Gestures towards a mobile hanging over the table.]
Mobile by Robert Bradford, with components by Amy Anderson

Robert: See those beads with the faces? But the artists around here that we have—you know, like Nicole [Loxley], there are just so many wonderful artists. And then, look at the small stores around here, like Valerie [Odenthal’s] store [Antique Virgin].

Amy: We’ll be representing Valerie’s store; she’ll be the first store within the store front. We’re embedding small stores.

Robert: I consider them artists!

Amy: And, we’re bringing in individual artists. We’re always looking for new artists! We’re working on a process where people can contact us and give us the information that we need, so we can curate and consider them. We don’t have anything particularly set in stone now, so the best thing is to send us a message on our website. So if anybody’s interested, they need to get in touch with us through the website, SOM1STORE.COM. We would love to talk to other local artists. Our scope is the Central Coast, and we’ll emanate out from there.

TYG: Well I’d love to be part of this, but I highly doubt I have any of the skills necessary to do this.
You’ve got mad skills!

Amy: You write—we need writers!

Rhonda: We really need to add to the people who are blogging. A lot of us add content to a variety of websites, but they don’t necessarily congregate it in a way we can see very well in our feeds. So if we can put it somewhere where we know to go and look and we can congregate it... We can still share it on social media, but there’s a place to go.

Robert: There are so many of us, and we wanted to create an outlet for people to share their moments. And if we can generate a little bit of income from it, then that’s really cool. A small economy for a small community...

Rhonda: One of the things we’re hoping to work on: Some artists, especially the older demographic, don’t necessarily have the web knowledge, so we create a page for them. We’re hoping eventually to create the ability for people to have prints for sale. We can take very good images of your work, create a good file that you can use over time, and then trying to incorporate that new medium of selling some of our images.

Amy: So we’re facilitating the technology end of the distribution and creation of art. [...] We know how hard it is for artists who were born before computers were readily available. It’s really hard for us to embrace it. I think the only reason I did was because I was in information technology for 25 years, so I do have an affinity for it—I kind of had an anathema for it when I quit, so it took me a few years where I didn’t want to touch technology. But now I’m kind of starting to embrace it as an artistic medium and tool. [...] The vision I have is that we want to be able to offer artists services and be able to pay the people who are providing the services, whether it’s us or we contract it out. So I see that in the future as well, once we get up and running.

Our ultimate goal with our artists is that everybody’s happy—the artists, the customers, and us. We want the artist to get what they want out of their art, and we want the customer to be happy with what they pay. And somewhere in there, we want to provide the artist services that are going to keep the artist doing work. It’s like I used to say: “I just wish my beads would walk out of the kiln and sell themselves.” This is the closest you’re going to get to that.

Rhonda: There are a lot of horror stories online for artists: they take their artwork to a gallery, and the gallery shuts down and takes their work with them. Or sells the work, and doesn’t give them the money. There’s a lot of risk involved in taking your art places, and you need to have it in more and more places to get income to come in. So for those artists that we really, really love and we have the opportunity, we are actually investing in purchasing from them and creating our own store inventory.

Robert: We want them to be successful. We want people to see their art, and that’s just so important to us. We want to show our loyalty to people. We want to be able to promote them in a positive fashion.

TYG: You’re trying to make a central plaza, with a lollipop on a stick plan. [laughter] That is an official city planning term, by the way! You know how in modern development neighborhoods, not Koho or anything, but the big ones, like where they have 100 acres. They’ve got these meandering big roads, and then they’ve got these side roads off of them—a little like this road, actually.
TYG-Graphic Design: You can see them when you fly, from the air—the cul de sacs look like little lollipops.
: It’s like a vein system!

TYG: More like a capillary bed. If you have that, you can have each cul de sac branching off with stores and such, and you can have the main avenues with different types of art. And then you fill into the central plaza, which is your server net.
Yes. So we sit and contemplate this: we’re creating the back end, but it’s a matter of getting it to flow well as it grows—it’s exciting!

Amy: It sounds as if you understand how much work that is!

Robert: While we’re doing this, we’re trying to make sure that it’s the most positive way that anybody can look at it, so it doesn’t go into the drama that some of the websites can. We’re just trying to create something that represents Yachats for what it is. Just the wonderful beauty!

Amy: I feel like one of the things that I envision is officially having our presence, like when you go on our website, I want you to feel almost like you’re coming to the Coast. Like it’s three o’clock in the morning and you can’t sleep, and the baby’s crying, and you want to look at your laptop.

Robert: You can get a little sereneness—you can visit our blog, store, photography.

Amy: Yeah! It’s obviously going to be very virtual to anybody that’s not local, but that’s our goal. [...] So, I have to tell you another story about our moments and stuff. Robert, like I said, has been an artist his whole life, but he’s just beginning to express himself. He ran into an old friend on Facebook, a girl that he grew up with from childhood. He found out that she has created a high perfumery, meaning that she’s making and selling these really incredible, organic scents and fragrances. She’s at Nordstrom’s, as a matter of fact, since last year. So Robert gets to talking to her, and one of his dreams was to create a fragrance.

Robert: So I did create a fragrance through her. I love my fragrance, and it’s on the website. It’s a 98 percent all natural fragrance, 90 percent organic. What also really inspired me about her is that she is a Pacific Northwest lover, she’s an artist, and she’s up in the Puget Sound area with all the trees and everything. But she also started out very small, a single mother and everything, and I was like, “Oh my gosh! She had an idea, and could make her dream come true!” And that is my goal.

Amy: And that inspired us too! Especially Robert. He created a scent [called “Moments 1”] that’s like a day at the beach. When he was explaining how this fragrance was going to smell—to me, you put on fragrance, [sniffs] it smells like something, you go “OK, I like that, I’m going to get it.” But [Robert] is explaining how in the beginning, it’s going to be like a morning at the beach! There’s going to be sea spray, and heather, and whatever. And then it’s going to build to this. And then it’s going to end with the smoke [from a beach fire] at night. I forget—I’m going to have to write this down, because I tell this story a lot! 

TYG: So as it progresses, the chemicals actually change?
It’s a walk through the [ocean side landscape.]

TYG: Wow. That’s going to be a thing.
I sent it to New York, and I got the first review the other day. It was the most wonderful review—and he got it. And it just amazed me so much. So this is part of the store, and that’s part of our moment. The M1 on here actually stands for “Moments 1”. We’re still in the first moment of this right now.

Amy: Each single moment builds on the next. The thing that’s special about his [fragrance] to me, is that it actually describes a day at the beach. And it really does! You can put this fragrance on, you can smell it throughout the day, and you can really experience different moments in a day at the beach!

Robert: There’s smoke resin in it, so you can actually smell like you’re burning a fire; there’s sea salt in it, so it smells like the ocean—not like that more citrus-y scent that some people think it smells like. [...] So anyway, it’s really wonderful! It’s fun creating things. That’s what our store is going to be about; it’s just going to be really something special, I think. And hopefully it will help and showcase the wonderful artists from around this town! And, beyond. Actually, our goal is to work with Pacific Northwest artists.

TYG: Well thank you so much! Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?
I just want to say: these ladies, they help me so much. And my husband! Nobody’s mentioned my husband! He’s the silent owner on this—he hears all of this stuff before anybody here hears this stuff, because I don’t want to look a fool. [laughter]

Amy: [Brandan] has got his own ideas on this, which is really awesome because he’s had to spend a lot of time on the road the last few years, just because the economy is what it is, and that was their plan. But this company is going to actually give him the chance to get off the road and do what he really wants: sustainability and gardening and stuff. And you’ll see some of that on our website: they’ve got Coasters Art and Farm. That’s the shop that Robert and Brandan put their particular art in.

Robert: Oh, and I also wanted to tell you that Rhonda, Amy, and Brandan are all veterans. And that’s a really cool thing.

TYG: Like veterans in war?
They’ve all been in the military, and they’ve all served overseas. And it is a vet-owned business. [...] Can I say, Allen, can I say that you’re a wonderful person to talk to. This has been a wonderful interview. 

TYG: Thank you!

Interview with Jasmine Lechner-Cyphert,
Owner of Seal Rock Stables

TYG: So, how did you get interested in horses?
Well, my mother picked beans and blackberries to buy her first horse. So I was born to a horsey mother, and she taught me. [laughs] She also did 4H. When she turned 16, she bought her first car with her bean-picking money, drove herself to the State Fair with her horse—the first time she’d driven anywhere. She drove down to Newport, rented the trailer, and drove herself to the state fair. She was very into horses. She bred Arabians, so I grew up showing Arabians and doing 4H, rodeo court, and then, because my mother was obsessed, I was obsessed, and we would go to clinics all over the world. Whatever we could afford to do, we did.

TYG-Graphic Design: All over the world? Like where?
We definitely followed Mark Rashid a little bit—he’s an instructor from Colorado but he’s taught different places—and then at competitions, when you show an Arabian, you show in your region. So we would show in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington—that’s our little area that we would show in. Then when you do really well, you have to go to Scottsdale, Arizona. So you go to a bigger place.

TYG: So when did you acquire the barn?
Well, let’s see. I grew up horsey at my mom’s house, moved over this mountain, bought my first property and it had room for my two horses. It lasted about a year, and I was training horses in my back yard for other people. I was just 18; I’d been training horses for other people since I was 14. My Grandpa happened to own a barn that was being used to store junk; it had a little 60 by 70-foot arena, and his runners were just filling it with trash. So he said that if I would like to use that, I could go over there and clean it up and use it. So I moved over there in 1996, and I spent almost eight years over there. We got up to about 30 horses on 25 acres, which is way too many, and we couldn’t really keep it there. And we ended up just two miles away from where we started; I ended up buying property here. We’re at 180 acres, and we keep anywhere from about 50 to 60 horses, depending. We use them for the riding lessons, we board other people’s horses, and we train horses.

TYG-GD: It doesn’t look like 50-60 horses when you look at the stalls!
I know, you can’t hardly see it! In the summer, we kick them all outside. So right now they’re all up in this mountain, in an 80-acre field. Just the ones we use for lessons, or if they’re injured—those are the ones that are in the stalls this time of year.

TYG: So what kinds of horses do you have here?
Jackson, the one you ride, is a quarter horse, and we have quite a few quarter horses. We have some Arabians: Misty, that white horse you saw this morning, that’s an Arabian. We have a lot of mustangs, because I do mustang make overs.

TYG-GD: What’s a mustang makeover?
So, in a mustang makeover, you get handed a completely wild horse, and you get three months to take it and compete.

TYG-GD: Who hands it to you?
BLM. So they’re straight out of the wild, you run them in a crowd, and if you sign up for competition, they run it into your trailer wild as could be and say, “Good luck!” And you get three months. By the end, you have to be able to walk, trot, and canter—like you do in your lessons. And they have finals, where you can do anything you want. I’ve seen them jump through waterfalls, and climb up on top of trailers, teeter-totters, and jump things on fire. Just to prove how quickly they can be domesticated and trained.

TYG: Wasn’t there someone here who shot from it?
Yep, I shot from mine this year for one of my competitions. I shot a gun to prove how quiet they are when you shoot. I shoot blanks, when you’re there in competition, but on purpose, they’re extremely loud. Much louder than a normal pistol gun.

TYG: I was referring to bow & arrows.
Yup! One of the girls shot a bow and arrow.

TYG-GD: Just a side question: I have a friend who’s involved with photography, and she observes the horses in Arizona. There was a big dispute about BLM wanting to cull the herd—not just cull the herd, but take them all away. What do you feel about the role of wild horses?
It’s tough. I’m definitely a blue-blooded American, so I love them out there. I love seeing them, I love tradition. I know they weren’t originally here, they were brought here. That’s definitely not my field—my field is how to train them, what to do with them. If I overstep that too far, I’ll get a [mimes a slap on the hand]. But I definitely think that they’re really useful for us when we do bring them off. I’m sad when they want to pull them off and slaughter them. They know how to use birth control methods and other ways.

TYG: Why would they want to slaughter them?
The biggest problem is really [that] cattle ranchers pay for permits to let their cows use that land. And a cow needs grass to be taller than a horse down. So if you have too many horses eating the grass down, yes, it starves off the cows. So big beef industry is behind that push to clear off the land. And if you think about it, food isn’t actually the biggest problem: water sources are. If you think of land out there, eastern Oregon even: water sources. So a horse will graze typically within two miles, so a five-mile radius is really far to get food. Well, they eat down the five-mile radius. Maybe they have thousands of acres, but they can’t get all the way out there, get a meal, and come back to water without thirsting to death. And then if you think of cows: a cow needs more water to survive, to process their food twice. So a cow needs to be closer to water, and that’s really been destroyed. So there might be a simpler fix, such as putting water out there. I know they’ve tried a lot, and there are all kinds of different methods for catching them. I don’t know—I see the good and bad. Most branches of government were created because they were necessary evils. BLM is another one of them—they’re feeding the horses, they’re trying to find them homes.

TYG: What even is BLM? I’ve never heard of it.
Bureau of Land Management. They are who take care of our land.

TYG: Oh, I thought it was specific to horses!
No, but it’s one of their branches, and most of the people that work for the horse function, that’s their job. They take care of the horses, or they feed the horses, or they adopt the horses or promote them—that’s their job.

TYG: So, why don’t horses just jump over fences?
A couple of things. Horses are seriously fear-driven animals. If you think of a child who’s in a new place, and you put him in a new home, he’s not going to venture outside the home. He’s going to slowly, barely explore the next room, and then the next room, but he’s not necessarily going to want to deal with all that’s outside. Because they’re so fearful: all those smells outside, all those things that they see—those aren’t really something that they necessarily deal with every day, so they’re not sure they want to venture into it. And then, horses see the world like a photograph. Anything that changes, is a totally new place. So that keeps the outside world really new. Some horses are very good at jumping, and I’ve had some horses jump much higher than this [five foot fence] even. I’ve seen them fly over them. And I’ve seen them do what we call “The Fish”: they put their head over, then they kind of shove their shoulders over, and then they flop onto the ground on the other side—it’s really non-graceful. And I’ve had them run straight into the fence like it wasn’t there. And then I have some, like Weston, who eventually, no matter how solid the fence is, find a way through it. Without jumping, he will find a way. He will make a way! [laughter]

TYG-GD: We had some goats like that. They would just lean, and leeeeeeeeeeeeean, and eventually the fence would collapse.
Add a thousand pounds to it... [laughter] So Weston is one of the wild horses that we made over. And he lived out in this herd on 80 acres, with 30 horses out there, and he was perfectly fine for almost two years. One day I go up there to catch a training horse, who was here with us to learn. I go up there to catch the horse, and I pet Weston: “Oh good boy, you’re so sweet.” Then I go to walk to catch this horse. The horse starts circling the herd. He doesn’t want to leave, but he doesn’t want to be caught. So then Weston looks at him, whinnies, and starts trotting up the hill away from me. [laughter] The whole herd stays in place, but the one horse I want trots up the hill away from me. They trot to the back of the property, and I wonder how long he knew this hole in the fence was there, where the elk had gone through. He trots to the back of the property, and every time I’m out of sight they politely stop, and look back at me, and wait for me. [laughter] And then I catch up, and they trot away again. And this went on for three hours out into the woods, until finally they came to a spot where a tree had fallen across their trail, and they didn’t think they could go any further and I caught them. And he has never been allowed out in the big population again. He got his privileges revoked. [laughter] It was like the rudest thing I’ve ever seen. 

TYG-GD: So, again, why don’t they jump the fences more often?
I think that they don’t know that they can. Because our older horses will stay in a really small fence.

TYG-GD: Even jumpers?
Well, a lot of jumpers you have more trouble with, and you have to have a higher fence. Any of the mustangs that we get, you’re required to have a six-foot fences and six-foot stalls for them. They stay in a really solid six-foot stall, and then we have ahold of them at any other time, because they could clear it.

TYG: For example, Jackson, our horse—he’s huge. He’s a huge horse. But he acts like he’s the tiniest little pony.
They don’t understand how big they are. I really don’t think they know how big they are.

TYG-GD: What’s the highest a horse can jump?
I don’t know the measurement—I watched [a jump] for the Guinness Book of World Records. They took these cardboard blocks that were painted like a red, brick wall; they just stack them up, and they go a level higher and a level higher until the horse finally touches them and knocks them. I watched the competition, but I can’t actually remember the height. [8’1.25”, according to the online Guinness World Records site.]

TYG-GD: Was it more than six feet?
Oh yes. Six feet can be cleared by a horse that really wants to clear it—any horse. And it’s really amazing if you watch miniature horses, or some of the little donkeys. For their height, they can clear more it seems, sometimes. And donkeys are really good jumpers. We had a mule... The stalls down below have a window, and the window is at four foot. He would jump out of the stall window and stand on the aisle when I came to feed him, and then when I would come with his food he would jump back in his stall. And you couldn’t hear him. He didn’t make any noise at all. [Frank the German Shepherd starts growling, and we see a troop of horses coming down the hill past the barn.] There’s a mule, right there. See the mule? And there’s an Appaloosa, mustang...

TYG: Are these the wild guys?
They’re all tame, but this is where they live, they just have 80 acres. So then they’re heading down to go get a drink of water.

TYG: One nice life!
Yes! Quarter horse...

TYG-Editorial Assistant: How does the decision-making process work?
There’s always a boss. And then the boss usually tells his minion, his number one guy, to do it, and then they do it. Because the boss himself doesn’t want to be at risk. So: “You go to the water now. And I’ll follow you.” [laughter] “Because I don’t want to be eaten, and I need them behind me to be eaten too.” He needs somebody in front to get eaten, and somebody behind to get eaten too. But you live, when you’re the boss.

TYG-EA: So how does the boss tell his first lieutenant...
A lot of ears back—oh, there’s a Haflinger, a very cool breed from Germany; there’s a quarter horse...—ears back, teeth snarled. They’ll bite and kick each other too. Friends bite each other.

TYG-EA: How do you say “Go to the water hole”?
There’s a lot of suspicion that they use all kinds of things that we can’t register, whether it’s telepathy, or, you know. There’s a lot of suspicion that when you tell your horse, “Here comes a car. Don’t be afraid, it’s just a car, people drive these things all the time.” When you say that in your head or out loud, the horse takes a deep breath, and doesn’t care when the car goes by. When your body says “Gasp! There’s a car coming!” then the horse gets really nervous. So there’s a lot of debate as to whether they understand what you’re thinking, or what you’re feeling, or what your body is doing.

TYG-GD: It might just be micro-muscle tension.
Yes. They don’t know, and it’s very, very tough to prove. [We hear neighing in the background.] Now they’re talking to each other.

TYG: One way to prove it, is once our robotic technology is advanced enough, to have a robot ride it. With skin and hands on the reins, but remote-controlled. That would be the definitive proof. [...] How did you get the idea to open a stable and give lessons?
I have been around horses my whole life, and I had kids younger than me that I was helping as a kid; I was training people’s horses at 14, and I gave up my amateur card—which means that you do not accept money for any services at all—at 14. Most people wait a little bit longer. [That way] I could start charging for riding lessons and charging to train people’s horses. Whether they just wanted a horse to get some more miles on it, so it was more confident on the trail, or they wanted to go back to showing.

When I graduated, I spent several years apprenticing with some really big-name trainers to just really refine my skills and show. I’ve grown up in the show world, and I decided after a few years that it really wasn’t where my heart was. I didn’t want to push horses to do really boring things around in a circle over and over again, and pick at them. I’m not a type-A person, so pick, pick, pick; carry yourself perfectly every second was too much for me. And when we’d go to work they’d say: “Go grab the biggest bit and the biggest spurs you can find, and go ride Smart who’s been here for six years.”

It just felt like that after a while. I just decided, “You know, I want to be around people who enjoy their horses again, and they’re not money to them.” They are [money], but they’re an actual animal, and they’re loved. So we came back here, opened the barn... Actually, when I opened the stables at my grandfather’s barn, there were no stables. And I built three. And my mom said, “Why are you building a third stall? Just put one of yours in the arena, because you’ll never keep one boarder all the time.” So now, when we have 50... [laughs] It’s kind of an overwhelming good feeling. It’s just my love of horses that kept me doing this, and I love teaching people what [the horses] have done for me and other people.

TYG-EA: How old is the big, red barn itself?
That barn is, I think, 56 this year. It has the date in the concrete down there, at the very front. I grew up here, and I loved going by it. It was white then—it was a cattle barn, and I loved seeing it. It was really the selling point, between the fact that when he showed us the property, you couldn’t walk it—that would take too long—you had to drive and then drive, and then drive... “Where are we?” I was lost! [laughter]

TYG-GD: So does it go all the way up to Ona, to Beaver Creek?
It goes up to that Seal Rock Street on a couple of points. And then there’s a state park that bought the 500 acres right behind us, that goes all the way down to ODOT. But we have riding trails through the whole thing, which is really nice. The one across the street is anti-horse. They bought that first, and we went to the meeting, 50 horse people and one non-horse person. We went to the State development meeting, and because they didn’t have funds—I might word this wrong—they didn’t have funds to maintain the park, only to purchase, so they went with nature conservation to provide the funds to maintain, which meant mow, and put in a gate. They went with them, and nature conservation doesn’t want horses on any of the properties they’re involved in, because they think that they can be destructive. In all the state parks that have horses, I see more litter on the bicycling trails and where you’re camping—at those kind of sites where you’re staying. Horse riders aren’t going to sit down and have a beer and leave their stuff. You know? We’re just passing through, and if we drop something, usually we pick it up. And horse manure is so biodegradable. But I might be a little biased on that one. [laughs]

TYG: I’m not biased, and I agree with you completely!
Well, and the wording was a little bit harmful: the wording was “primitive modes of transportation only,” which included bicycles. And I wanted to say, “Let’s look at the dates here, and compare some things. Primitively.” [laughs] But they bought this 500 acres to appease us, give us more riding. However, that one has more loops—hours more. It’s just the way it’s done; this one has one loop through it. OK, what else do you have?

TYG: What is maintaining a stable like? I imagine it must be hard to maintain... And also, before that actually, when was this built? This looks more recent than the barn, absolutely.
Actually, it’s much newer. We have been in this spot for 13 years. We were here for about five years before we put the arena up. I thought I was very intelligent. I found a building for $30,000—which is really cheap for this size of building. It was used, a mill building they had taken down. They offered to deliver it for the price. So they brought it here and set it down. 

TYG: Cargo helicopter?
No, the big semis.

TYG: How did the big semis get up that gravel road?
They managed, barely. We had to move a power line, and that cost us a fortune, too. But by the time that we got this building built, with the builder that we used, we could have bought a brand new building, perfect color, all the stalls in it, for the same price, because putting it up was very expensive. There’s a concrete channel underneath where all these beams are. You asked a first question, though, that was a good question: What does it take to maintain the stables. Imagine cleaning your room, and having someone running in and dumping stuff on your floor at the same time, constantly. [laughs] I’m always behind. Like, this time of year, we’re waiting to do hay. The second our hay guy calls, we have to drop everything and go do hay. And we have tansy to pull, and arenas to till, and we’ve got to do all kinds of stuff. So we’re always behind, and really, if we could build more stalls, do anything, it would be a help. And stuff is getting broken as we’re building it, too. Horses like to be destructive. There are a lot of people here using the facility, so...

TYG: There’s a funny story you told me at some point about [a destructive horse.]
We went to look at a horse once, and this beautiful horse was in a field, and I wondered why they wanted to sell the horse for so cheap when I got there. And I saw this truck that was destroyed in its field, and I thought “I bet that truck was really nice when it was new!” And they said, “That horse did that to that truck, and that’s why it’s for sale.” [laughter] They went on vacation and parked their truck in the field to keep it safe, and the horse dented every panel on the truck and broke every piece of glass—totalled it. Just because he was bored. They’re just like kindergartners. They’re either good or bad, if they’re given good instruction or not. [laughter]

TYG: How has the stable business been going?
It’s good. We started with the one boarder, and we’re at 50, so we’re good. We definitely have to do a variety [of things], because sometimes people move away, and change, and horses leave, so we do a lot of horse training, I do some horse competitions to help pay for this place, and we also give riding lessons and we actually place some rescue horses for income too. They take these rescue horses, and nobody knows if they’re rideable or not. So we take the time to see how trained they are, who they’d fit with, and find them the right home so they don’t end up back in a rescue or worse. Then that rescue pays us to do that too. So they don’t have to continue feeding them, so it’s a win-win for everybody.

TYG: So this place is essentially self-sustaining.
It is.

TYG: Because Mom was thinking you must have some sort of side job or something.
I did! Actually, when I started the stable, I worked at a bank, and then I waitressed at a sushi bar, and I sold Mary Kay to get my stable started. But it took doing many things to get the stable where it would pay for itself. And then I got to a point where I finally realized that waitressing—whatever you want to average your tips to an hour—wasn’t worth not being here. Because every minute I’m not here, I’m not taking care of this place—it needs the aisles raked, and this done, and that done... I could go all day and all night if I wanted to.

TYG: Well thank you so much for your time!
Yes, thank you!

The Publisher and a Friend
The Seal Rock Stables can be reached  via their website, (the contact page has directions and phone numbers). It is located at 1400 S. Beaver Creek Rd., in Seal Rock.