July 15 • 09:09 PM

Saddle Club created great memories

April 14, 2010
It was a rather raw afternoon in the early spring of 1955 when our Agricultural Extension Agent, Ab Hall, stopped at our farm home. He was on a mission. Our children had horses, their friends had horses, would Red and I consider being leaders of a 4-H Saddle Club? I was elated and thought it a great idea. Red was reluctant but finally agreed.

Red and I didn't want it to be just a fun-and-games club. We wanted them to apply the 4-H Pledge of "Head, Heart, Health and Hands" to their everyday life. During a State 4-H Show at East Lansing, a female (not a lady in my book) said to me, "You can sure tell a horse person but, you can't tell them much!" Well, I nearly became an unglued female...!

The wonderful cooperation of parents of our club members was the key to its success. We had several members from Lapeer since their fathers were in the Lapeer County Sheriff's Posse and they helped Ed D'Arcy and Red organize the club's drill team. The big undertaking of the year was a weekend trail ride. This could not have been accomplished without our wonderful parents. It was planned between the first cutting of hay and combining. Several parents rode with us. George Juhl's buckboard wagon carried our lunches, drinking water and groceries for the cook tent. Several Dads

‘The Cookie Girls,’ a club within the 4-H Saddle Club, in 1966. Front, left to right, Patty Teal, S. Teal, Janet Willing, Donna Schultz and Sharry Jones. Back, left to right, Linda Bristol, Peggy Loeffler, Caren Bristol, Nancy Bloom and Sally Willing.

went ahead and pitched our tents. Sunday the parents were invited to come with their filled picnic baskets and spend the day with us. Monday morning was break camp and the long ride home.

I have a Saddle Club snapshot album. In 1968 we rode to the Pioneer Archery Range on Turrill Rd., Lapeer. Alan picked up Almont's dear Foster Jones, after milking the cows, and took him to camp for our Sunday morning church service.

We also had a little club within the club. It was known as "The Cookie Girls." They enjoyed coming to our home to make cookies for shut-ins at Christmas. I have a picture of them in front of our Christmas tree, each with a plate of cookies to be delivered. They are Linda Bristol, Peggy Loeffler, Caren Bristol, Nancy Bloom, Sally Willing, Patty Teal, S. Teal, Janet Willing, Donna Schultz and Sharry Jones. One time it was a birthday cake for Mary Cochrane, an anniversary cake for my parents, Sam and Anna Park, and even a birthday cake for Alan when he broke his fibula bone playing football.

Our Parliamentary Team went to the 4-H Show twice. The first year we got fifth place and learned a lot. The second year we placed second and called it good enough.

The Drill Team performed at several horse shows, the club rode in several parades and the Parliamentary Procedure Team came in second at the State 4-H Show at East Lansing.

By 1968 Lee, Carol and Alan had graduated from high school and were no longer in the club. We continued for a year but things we planned and events at school would coincide. . . and without our own kids, the interest was not the same. We retired in the fall of 1968 and the club gave us a grand retirement party.

As Red and I said many times, the thirteen Almont 4-H Saddle Club years were the best of our lives . . . with our kids, their friends and parents.

— Country Cousin

Gertie Brooks is a lifelong Almont area resident. A 'farm girl,' Gertie is the premier historian for the Almont area, and frequently offers her memories and first-hand accounts in her 'Country Cousin' columns.
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