Riding High

Altadena Stables offers the total equestrian experience

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 | 12:55 am

Teri Botfield of Altadena Stables.

Perched high above the Arroyo Seco, and nestled at the foot of the San Gabriel mountains, Altadena Stables has been boarding horses and training riders for nearly 100 years now. Situated at the end of a cul-de-sac on the Pasadena/Altadena border, the historic stables are hidden in plain sight in a quiet residential neighborhood.

“There’s a lot of history here,” laughs Marcy McLemore, who manages the stables now, along with Teri Botfield.

In 1921, according to a local historian’s account, Captain George C. Hester built, owned and operated the Altadena Riding Academy where Altadena Stables is today.

At that time, the facility was six acres, including a 3-acre riding ring, a polo field and 50 thoroughbreds from Kentucky and Virginia.

In the 1940s, the property changed hands a few times, first to local artist Alex Sison, who eventually deeded it to friend Elena Kellogg, who then leased the stable to a Mr. Iverson for $70 a month in 1954. Current owner, Desdy Baggott, and her husband, William Kellogg, bought and restored the property in the early 1960s.

The stables are still owned and operated by Baggott, with the help of McLemore and Botfield, who both manage the stables, along with training horses and riders.

The stables offer individual and group classes, along with summer and winter riding camps, and boarding.
But don’t come here looking to rent a ride to traverse the nearby Arroyo.

“That’s a whole different thing,” McLemore told Pasadena Now. “We don’t rent horses. We specialize in training and personal lessons.”

Altadena Stables offers private riding lessons for ages 5 to adult. As the website describes, “Whether you are a first time rider or an experienced equestrian looking to enhance horsemanship/communication skills, our individualized instruction will help you to achieve your goals. Our program emphasizes safety, horsemanship, and good sportsmanship.”

All riders at Altadena also learn to groom and care for their horses. In fact, no rider mounts up until all of the grooming and horse preparation is completed beforehand.

The stables also utilize what they call, “the Core Equestrian Technique,” which focuses on the foundational skills of riding and builds in incremental steps. The skills “help the rider gain the proper posture, balance, and nonverbal communication in order to develop a partnership with the horse.”

Altadena Stables is at 3064 Ridgeview Drive, Altadena. (626)-797-2012. www.altadenastables.com

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