Courses for horses— English riding in the Tetons
Local enthusiasts keep the distinctive style galloping
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Bucking the trend of Western horsemanship in the Teton counties of Wyoming and Idaho, English riding is alive and kicking. And it’s nothing new, as locals have been carrying on the tradition since the 1960s, when Linda Scantlebury, a local English ex-pat, imported a few English riding saddles for a small, enthusiastic group in Jackson Hole.
A decade later, interest increased when Jacksonite Paul Von Gontard introduced polo, jumping, and eventing on a cross country course on the Huidekoper Ranch near Wilson.
The sport really got out of the gate in the 1980s, when a proper cross country course was designed for the Melody Ranch polo fields south of Jackson. In 1984, Jackson English riders participated in their first registered event of the United States Eventing Association.
Two local spreads, Flying W Stables of Wilson and the Half-Pint Ranch near Tetonia, today teach riders the three phases of English eventing: flatwork, show jumping, and cross country.
Wendy and Wanda Webb above) of Flying W Stables hosted some of the early English-riding events in the Tetons. “We either have every day off, or we never have a day off,” Wendy says, reflecting the lifestyle of those who work their passion. At Flying W Stables in Wilson, simultaneous activity abounds, as a youngster practices jumping (below). The Flying W offers quantity and quality in equine services, including boarding, lessons, organized events, an on-site veterinary clinic, and feeding with hay grown on the ranch.
Students ready themselves for flatwork drills (below). The Flying W’s vast indoor arena allows riders to practice their skills in the dead of winter. Pieces of Virginia Huidekoper’s original jumps are once again being used by riders on the Flying W.