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Though the Quentin Riding Club went out to pasture a few years ago, its memory and history are still treasured by many.
After closing in 2018, the property was sold to Louis Hurst, president of Alden Homes, at an auction on July 13, 2019. When recently contacted, Hurst had no information to share on plans for the Quentin Riding Club (QRC) property.
The QRC, as the club itself, was formed in 1935 and acquired the property on 29 E. Main St. in Lebanon shortly after. Prior to its use by the club, the location was a hackney farm. Over the years, the QRC hosted hundreds of equestrian events and housed boarding horses. Tony Sweigart, a QRC employee from 1982 to 2000, shared his memories of the place. Over his time working at the QRC, as well as being a member of the club, Sweigart worked on the ground, supervised the grounds and barns and managed the horse shows.
Read More: Quentin Riding Club sells at weekend auction for $2.1 million
“When I first started as a supervisor for the grounds in 1985, we had around four horse shows a year,” Sweigart said. “By the early nineties, we had increased to 20.”
Though the property is now peaceful and quiet, visitors and contestants from across the country used to flood the QRC during its peak season in summer. Sweigart noted that the barns would host up to 700 horses on the property in one day.
“Meeting the people from all around the country coming for the horse shows was a favorite memory of mine,” Sweigart said. “Especially since I only met them once a year. I would remember their faces. They would often comment how the riding club was one of the best places to show their horses on the east coast.”
Rebecca McClellan, a previous horse boarder at QRC, also reflected on the shows held there.
“I grew up on Norway Lane, directly behind the turnout fields of the Quentin Riding Club,” McClellan said. “I remember at a young age driving by the massive horse shows that were held there in the nineties. It seemed like every weekend in the summer, there were hundreds and hundreds of competitors that would show up and take over the otherwise quiet property! It was captivating.”
Watching the shows at age seven sparked an interest in McClellan, and she began taking lessons there in 2000, when she was nine. The QRC was also where McClellan first boarded her horses.
“Between 2007 and 2012, I had five horses who called the QRC home,” McClellan said.
Not only did the QRC hold competitions and provide a home for horses, but it put on performances showcasing horse breeds from around the world. Some notable four-legged visitors were the Budweiser Clydesdales and Royal Lipizzan stallions. Additionally, as previously reported on by LebTown, Carson Kressley and Robert Redford supposedly showed horses at the QRC.
Read More: Quentin Riding Club faces foreclosure, historic equestrian destination in limbo as board waits for final offers
Like Sweigart, some of McClellan’s favorite memories of QRC included not just the horses, but the people she met.
“Some of my closest friends boarded at the QRC at the same time as I did,” McClellan said. “I have fond memories of summer days spent riding and caring for horses with some really special people in my life.”
From growing up in a house on the property to managing the property itself, Sweigart had gotten the opportunity to witness the QRC’s hay day prior to leaving in 2000.
“It was a great experience to live and work at the Quentin Riding Club,” Sweigart said. “Seeing younger kids experience riding horses is something we don’t see today with so many other options for them to choose from.”
Beginning her involvement in 2000, and then ultimately moving her horse out in 2012, McClellan had the opposite experience.
“As the years went by, the shows ceased, and boarders moved on to other barns, I would often walk down the silent barn aisles and imagine what the place must have been like in its early prime even before I became acquainted with it,” McClellan said. “The most notable change was the diminishing shows held every summer and lack of upkeep to the grounds. I had a front row seat watching the entire property age before my eyes.”
McClellan felt as if the club’s demise was “a very long time coming.” In 2011, she knew things were not going well for the QRC, despite that she only boarded her horse there and did not know the poor financial situation.
“It was extremely sad to see the property put up for auction, but to be honest, it was also sad to drive by the dilapidated buildings and overgrown fields daily for several years, so this was not something that occurred suddenly and took people by surprise,” McClellan said.
Despite choosing to move her horse due to the lack of property upkeep and issues with management, McClellan credits the QRC for who she is today and looks back on it fondly. She currently works full-time with horses, both professionally riding and grooming.
“I doubt that my life would have taken this career path if not for the impact that the Quentin Riding Club had on me over 23 years ago,” McClellan said. “I can imagine that I may have been like many young girls and decided that I loved horses, but without the means to act upon my love, that love may have phased out. I believe that the establishment and the people I encountered at the QRC set the groundwork for a lifetime of a very serious passion for horses and riding.”
More information on the future of the property will hopefully be shared after Hurst shares his plans publicly.
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