With Baylor's Help, Riding Association Has New Place To Call Home

  • News Photo 1062
    The Baylor Riding Association presented Rick Creel, assistant vice president for operations and facilities, with a plaque for his work in securing a new home for the student organization. At Creel's left is Jackie Harkey, a San Antonio sophomore, and right is Heather Hernandez, a Sugar Land senior. Behind them is Tracy Self, the club's president who is riding "Texas," one of the association's horses.
  • News Photo 1063
    The Baylor Riding Association presented Rick Creel, assistant vice president for operations and facilities, with a plaque for his work in securing a new home for the student organization. At Creel's left is Heather Hernandez, a Sugar Land senior, and to his right is Jackie Harkey, a San Antonio sophomore.
  • News Photo 1064
    Baylor students greet "Texas," one of the Baylor Riding Association's 13 horses.
Jan. 30, 2003

by Lori Scott Fogleman

The trails are happy once again for the Baylor Riding Association, a student organization that has been part of campus life for more than half a century. With the help of Baylor University, the active group of more than 50 students - and 13 horses - will be based on a 1,000-acre ranch near Valley Mills, about a half-hour drive from campus.

To show their appreciation for the university's assistance, several association members - along with horses "Babe" and "Texas" - presented Rick Creel with a plaque during a ceremony Jan. 30 on Fountain Mall. Creel, Baylor's assistant vice president for operations and facilities, was among the administrators who helped the club locate property and negotiate a lease on the ranch. Creel also arranged for the university to fund the first year of the lease.

"This is a great day for the Baylor Riding Association," said Tracy Self, a Houston sophomore and association president. "We are trying to build our membership, and we have more horses and more interest than ever. This is definitely something that students want to be a part of, and we feel truly blessed by the way things worked out."

The association, which promotes horsemanship, horse care and riding skills, had been displaced from several temporary locations for the past several years.

"For most student organizations, when they need a place to meet, we will do a short survey of the buildings on campus and find a room for them to use. This was certainly different," Creel said. "Finding land was a real challenge but it was one we felt was important because of the riding association's long history at Baylor. We could not let this die."

After resolving some environmental concerns and safety issues, such as uncapped wells and barbed wire fences, the association entered into an agreement with Larry and Martha Montgomery, owners of C-Bar Stables, on a "special-use" lease. As part of the arrangement, association members will help work the land, attend to some of the ranch duties as needed and train other students in ranch operations. The club's 13 horses, most of which were donated to the organizations, will be stabled on what Self described as a "beautiful ranch" with 1,000 acres of riding trails.

Established in 1948 as the Rodeo Club, the group changed its named to the Baylor Riding Association in the late 1960s. Members today participate in a variety of campus and community activities, including the Baylor Homecoming and Heart O' Texas Fair parades, Diadeloso and Steppin' Out. The group also presents programs for local youth organizations, such as scout troops and Big Brothers/Big Sisters.

Riding association meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays in the Claypool Room on the third floor of the Bill Daniel Student Center. For more information, contact Tracy at 756-5254 or Cinda at 752-0057.

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