Steveson, who lives on the grounds, has had her share of weather challenges. At 69, she thinks it’s time to hang it up and move to the city.
“We had a tornado in 2010, we had wildfires last year and this year, we’ve had monsoons,” she said. “The days have just gotten too long.”
The drought, too, was a headache. The low lake water gave the horses a western escape route from the 800 acres she leases.
She’ll miss the multiple generations of families that have ridden her horses, taken hayrides or gotten birthday dunks there. Mostly, she admits, it’s the kids she’ll miss.
“They go out crying and they come back in with a big grin on their face,” she said. “At least most of them.”
OU fraternities and sororities are already calling to schedule fall hayrides. Many a foreign student or urban kid took their first horse ride at Thunderbird Stables.
In 1992, the stables started “The Black Hole,” a Halloween haunted house of sorts. It was a revenue bridge that helped pay the feed bills in the months when customers were scarce.
“That made my winter,” she said.
Besides the customers, Steveson said she will miss being able to ride a four-wheeler to see a sunset or fireworks at nearby cities. She could watch wild turkeys, deer, raccoons, armadillos, birds and bobcats. Wildflowers, too.
“When I came out here that first spring I never knew there were so many wildflowers. Every color of the rainbow.”
Wildflowers will be rare where she’s going.
“I’m moving to town,” she said, “and I haven’t lived in town for a very long time. I’m looking forward to it in a lot of ways and then I realize I’m not going to be able to ...,” her voice trailed as she struggled to complete the sentence. “It’s hard. It’s all about memories at this point.”
Andy Rieger 366-3543 email@example.com