story by Nathan Papes
Sandy Lipford stands where she saddled her first horse, Miss Sun Glow, 49 years ago.
Together, Sandy and Miss Sun Glow built Sandy Creek Stables, located on the same piece of land on the edge of town where she grew up. Generations of riders have passed through the gates, learning to ride and care for horses.
When Sandy was 10, her parents gave her Miss Sun Glow for Christmas. “She was really my first show horse,” Sandy says. “She lived to be 25 years old, and when I stopped showing her, she became my lesson horse. She taught a lot of little girls to ride and show a horse.”
Today, horses with names such as Moon Rapper, Fabulous Flash and Awesome Ace fill the stable stalls. While the horses may be different, some faces look familiar.
"The kids I taught, I now have their children," Sandy says.
Her start in teaching, at age 16, came from a love of horses but also out of necessity.
“I had a truck with no gas,” Sandy says.
Now, Sandy teaches for the joy of passing down what she has learned.
“I can identify with the children who are just horse crazy,” she says. “To see a child suddenly acquire the skills to ride and the self confidence that comes over their face when they make the horse post by themselves, that’s the satisfaction.”
Running a barn and teaching isn’t just a job for Sandy, but a way of life, which she never could have imagined the first time she took Miss Sun Glow out for a ride all those years ago.