Heather Westby goes looking for fun each Wednesday night in the summer at the Town and Saddle Club arena on Highway 210.
Located across from Wall Lake a couple of miles east of Fergus Falls, the club arena is the main hitching post for horse lovers in the area.
“Every Wednesday night in the summer we put on fun shows for members,” Westby said. “Every night is hosted by a different member family or member families.”
The average turnout for the summer frolic is around 50 kids and adults. They participate in events that are either judged or competitive. They accumulate points and at the end of the year, they are recognized for the number of points they rack up.
The events might include showmanship, horsemanship, barrel racing, poles or a keyhole race. The club allows for the differences in age. The pee wee class is first followed by juniors, seniors and seniors plus.
The Town and Country Saddle Club is like an extension of Westby’s family.
“We have some members in the club that have been members since they were little kids,” Westby said.
Westby has been around horses her entire life and they are a big part of her life.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Westby said. “Horses are a lot like dogs, they all have their own personalities.”
She has noticed that horses enjoy getting out of their own corrals, once they know what the “Fun Night” is all about.
Club member Jenny Pesek is another rider who understands the swift and beautiful mounts she rides.
“They don’t speak (neither does a snowmobile) but you can tell what they want,” Pesek said, as she talked about horses. “They are people animals and they want to be around people.”
In addition to the “Fun Nights” the club hosts four West Saddle Club Association events during the year. Three are held on weekends in the summer and the fourth is usually held on a Sunday afternoon in early October.
Like many others who are around horses a lot, Pesek knows what being an owner means. It is not like owning a goldfish.
Horses not only have to be fed, watered and sheltered they also must be groomed and exercised. They are big animals and they demand a big commitment.
“You’ve gotta enjoy animals and you’ve gotta enjoy work,” Pesek said. “It takes a lot of practice and patience.”
Pesek likes the family-like atmosphere that prevails at the Town and Saddle Club when events bring them together. The member-driven organization is a good place to meet people and make friends. It is also supportive of young riders.
“We try to make it as fun as possible and encourage all riders to come out,” Pesek said.
Town and County Saddle Club events are free and open to spectators.