June 28, 2004
Stanford University to reassume management of Equestrian Center and historic Red Barn
By KATE CHESLEY
Stanford University will reassume management of its Equestrian Center and Red Barn beginning Sept. 1.
The aim is to better integrate the Equestrian Center into the academic life of the university, according to Provost John Etchemendy. For 20 years, the 13-acre center that includes the Red Barn, a national historic landmark, was leased to the partnership Equestrian Associates as a public boarding stable. The lease expires Aug. 31.
Under the auspices of the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER), the university will manage the center, expand equestrian services and education for students and continue to serve private boarders as it moves to involve the center more in campus life. The university also plans to begin renovating the facilities.
"We are very grateful to the Equestrian Associates and to the many community members who have supported the Red Barn and equestrian center over the past several decades," Etchemendy said. "Their efforts have preserved an important historical asset for both the university and the area community and have benefited the many people served by the Red Barn."
In the next several months, the university will conduct a review of the center's operations and implement a plan to ensure continuity of service, according to university Athletics Director Ted Leland. All private boarders will be invited to continue boarding their horses at the facility. The university intends to work with Equestrian Associates to create continuity of the staff caring for boarders' horses. A search will begin immediately for a DAPER facility manager with significant experience.
Leland also is appointing an advisory board for the Red Barn that includes alumni with equestrian and Olympic experience and faculty, staff, alumni and boarders with an interest in historic preservation or equestrian riding. George Parker, professor at the Graduate School of Business and an accomplished horseman, has agreed to chair the group. The Annual Red Barn Festival, a popular open house set for Aug. 21, will continue as planned.
"There are many details to be worked out, but we're confident we can improve the facilities and accommodate the needs of the many people on campus and in the community that the Red Barn serves," Leland said. "We plan to take the transition slowly to cause as little disruption as is possible for the horses and the boarders. We're excited about this move because it gives us a chance to bring the Red Barn back a little more into the mainstream of the campus."
In addition to the Red Barn, the Equestrian Center, located on Electioneer Drive on the Stanford campus, includes two stables and a covered riding ring. The Red Barn was built between 1878 and 1880 and restored in 1983. The center currently houses about 100 horses. The facility also offers university students horseback-riding classes, public lessons and summer camps. Under the new arrangement, the facility also will provide more services to Stanford's intercollegiate Equestrian Team.
The complex is all that remains of university founder Leland Stanford's extensive Palo Alto Stock Farm, which predates the university. Stanford, who served as governor of California and a U.S. senator, bred world-famous trotting horses on the property. In its day, the Palo Alto Stock Farm was one of the most famous in the world. A statue of Stanford's most famous stallion, Electioneer, now stands in front of the Red Barn - a gift from the family of alumnus Bill Lane, former publisher of Sunset Magazine.
The farm area was also the site of a historic study by photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who used stop-action photography to capture the incremental movement of horses' legs. His experiments proved that, while trotting, horses at one point have all four hooves off the ground. Muybridge's work helped to advance the development of motion pictures. The site is registered as a California historic landmark.
Stanford's athletic department currently operates one of the most extensive and successful athletic programs in the United States. Its current facilities include the Stanford Golf Course, Maples Pavilion, Sunken Diamond, the Taube Family Tennis Stadium, the Avery Aquatic Complex and Stanford Stadium.