Smith Lake Riding Stables

My parents divorced when I was 8 and after growing up in a small country town, I was forced to move to Fayetteville, NC where my world was turned upside down. No friends, no hope and a sadness that couldn’t be cured affected me. My mother found a weeklong “horse-camp” to send me to on the edge of Fort Bragg. It was called Smith Lake Riding Stables. I went to this camp summer after summer for many years until the administration offered me a volunteering position. This camp was everything to me. The horses were my life.

After a few years some horses came and went, others died from diseases… Eventually management had to buy new horses to fill the places of the ones who were gone. Many young horses were brought in, mostly geldings and a few mares. One of the geldings, a buckskin/dun, QH/Arabian cross named Cowboy became my best friend, my favorite horse. He was the one I always chose out of maybe 35 other horses to ride. He was my everything. I hit my teenage years, got into the wrong crowd and my visits to the stable slowes until I no longer went. Four years ago was when I last saw this place. The management had fallen apart and the volunteers were criminals who were forced to do this to fill their time. I was shocked and digusted by what had happened. At the end of that day, I said goodbye to Cowboy and went home with the mindset that I would do something about the situation. Months later a tornado tore through the barn and the management building, further destroying the finances of the barn. MWR shut it down claiming that the barn couldn’t even break even. This event was televised and a petition was started to save the barn and horses. It wasn’t enough. Later on the government owned horses were auctioned off. My instructors didn’t know where the horses had gone. I lost hope at finding Cowboy. The only information I could dig up was that he was sold to a woman who lived in Coats, NC.

A few days ago something encouraged me to look for Cowboy again. Putting up a descriptive post on Facebook, I waited for a reply while searching sale records, Craigslist and other equine sites. Hours ago I checked Facebook because of a notification alert. My step mother who has a friend who knows someone bought a dun/buckskin colored horse named Cowboy from Fayetteville about 3 years ago. We think this may be my baby. From what I’ve gathered he has rear end problems and cannot be ridden but I’m so happy beyond what words can describe that I actually found my horse. I’ve missed him so much!