By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN Hosting horse shows and events, and introducing an extreme trail course are just a few of the offerings in the works by the new owners of the CM Livery and Training Stable near Winsted.
Candy Phillips and her son, Conrad Flemming began managing the stable at 23677 Cable Avenue last fall.
Phillips considers herself an events-oriented person and has plans to do an event at the stable every month, from clinics to sanctioned extreme rides. In June, there are plans to host a horse show.
Phillips and Flemming also buy horses to train and have them for sale at various events. Currently, they have about a dozen horses Appaloosas, Morgans, and saddlebreds are being trained to eventually sell.
“I would like to see the horses we sell go to people that would keep them here and continue to work in our program,” Phillips said. “Rider and horse, that is what I like to do best. I like to help them accomplish their goals.”
The stable has room for approximately 30 horses and is presently full.
Kim Johnson of Howard Lake boards three of her horses at the stable.
“I spend as much time here as at my house. It is just like another home,” Johnson said.
There is a widerange of courses offered at the stable from basic to advanced skills in all areas of horsemanship hunt, saddleseat, western, driving, and the extreme trail courses.
“Our primary focus will be on the Extreme Cowboy Trail and in getting people to be comfortable in riding their horses anywhere,” Phillips said. “Something I have discovered over the years is horses are only limited by their riders.”
The Extreme Cowboy is a relatively new national organization started in 2007, according to Phillips.
The events are designed to challenge both the rider and horse to overcome a series of obstacles. The number of obstacles crossed, overall horsemanship, and speed with control are the basis for scoring participants.
“It is a fabulous spectator sport as well as a challenge for the riders and horses to go through,” Phillips said.
Included in the Extreme Cowboy training is mounted shooting and gun training, which Flemming is in charge of.
All of the shooting is done in a safe environment.
“We start with a cap gun, and every horse in this barn is fine with it,” Phillips said.
The horses have had noise training so they are not spooked by the sound of gun fire.
“The shooting on horseback with blanks is at balloon targets with a specific gun a Colt 45 single action or a derivative of it,” Phillips said.
There aren’t any age limits set for any of the training that is done at the stable.
Phillips’ daughter, Colleen Flaig will be at the stables two to three days a week teaching children’s beginning riding lessons.
“We have started riders as young as 4,” Phillips said.
“My granddaughter was riding in a show ring at the age of 4.”
Phillips has more than 45 years of experience training horses.
She began learning about horses on her parents’ farm in Atwater at a very young age.
Her parents used light horses for farming, and she got her first horse, a pony, in 1959.
“My parents had horses, but they weren’t very knowledgeable. When I got my pony, we learned about horses together,” Phillips said. “But I have loved horses since I could walk.”
By the time Phillips was 10 years old, she was training horses professionally for other people.
“I started out training Shetland ponies for my uncle in 1965. He would buy the ponies at an auction and bring them home,” Phillips said.
Phillips would ride them for the summer and he would take them back again and sell them.
“Then, my dad would bring horses in, and he would train them to drive and I would train them under saddle,” Phillips said.
“I grew up doing barrel racing, rodeo, and 4-H judging,” Phillips said.
From 1976 to 2006, Phillips worked almost totally with Morgan horses and just did show training.
During that time period, she had a reserve world and two world champion jumpers in the Morgan divisions.
Also during that time, she had students that were medal-over-fence winners and pleasure winners.
“We have done it all, basically, and we can offer that for everyone else, too,” Phillips said.
Before taking on CM Livery in August with her son, Phillips took a two-year break from training horses.
“I just wanted to enjoy my own horses and ride. I went back to school to get my accounting degree,” Phillips said. “But in two years, I was bored. I guess this is my calling. It is just so gratifying to see the look on their (riders) faces when they have accomplished something.”
A western theme has been part of a remodeling project at the stables, giving the stables a ranch-style environment.
Maintenance and repairs are also taking place on an ongoing basis.
Bleachers will soon be added to the arena area for spectator events.
The “CM” in CM Livery & Training Stable stands for the initials of the first and middle name of the new business owners and managers, Candy Marie Phillips and her son Conrad Matthew Flemming; daughter Colleen Marie Flaig, who continues to give lessons at the stable, and the property owner, Clarence Michael Flemming.
Other family members who spend time at the stable and share the family’s love of horses are Phillips’ three grandchildren.
Flemmings’ daughter, Tiana, 10, will be competing in the Extreme Cowboy Trail with her horse, Zack.
Taylor Flaig, 7, has a horse Casey; and TJ Flaig, 5, has a Shetland pony named Charlie.