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Saddle up

Board and ride your horse on base

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Owning a horse is nothing like owning a cat or dog. Horses require a tremendous amount of commitment and work. For those willing to put in the effort and the hours, however, the payoff is worth it. There's nothing quite like riding one of these amazing beasts - it is a true synchrony of man and nature.

One of the issues military families face when PCSing is where to board their horse at their next duty station. Fortunately for families coming to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, there are two stables located conveniently on the base. One is on McChord Field and the other, the Fort Lewis Riding Club, is on JBLM North.

Both are private organizations.

"We're set up only for military," said Robert Underwood, president of the Fort Lewis Riding Club. "Active-duty, reserves and retirees."

The club, located near the Fort Lewis Museum, is used exclusively for boarding privately owned horses. There are no lessons or leased horses available.

The draw for military families is the cost - the boarding fee is just $75 per month. However, Underwood stressed, unlike many off-base barns that will take care of daily feeding and cleaning for you, this barn is "all self care, so you have to go out there twice a day."

Still, "it's well under market value," he added."It's designed for soldiers and their families, and the location is unbelievable."

There are 24 stalls and a few turnout areas for horses to graze, as well as trails that owners have access to for riding.

In addition to caring for their horses, club members must also pitch in to take care of the barn itself. On June 13, members are coming out for a work call to mow the lawn and perform basic upkeep on the facility. Later that day, and once a month for the next few months, they will offer pony rides as a fundraiser to help offset the cost of barn maintenance. On June 27, the club will hold a "Poker Run" on one of the JBLM training areas. Cost is $25, and participants ride a set course, pick up a card and play their hand. There will be prizes, and the event is open to anyone in the community who has a horse and wants to participate

The club is also looking to raise funds in an effort to expand the barn."We're in the process of trying to build more stalls," Underwood said. "The post has grown so much in the past ten years, and we haven't grown as a club. We have a bigger demand than we have the space for, so we are fundraising and trying to get some sponsorship to try to build another few rows of barns."

For more information, call Underwood at 253.720.8458 or visit

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