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Cater Stables Opens Its Doors



Miles and miles of New Hampshire back roads had been traveled. Listing after listing had been looked at. Some were too hilly, some were too swampy, some were too rocky, some were on narrow dirt roads. David and Kristen Cater as well as Kristen’s parents, Don and Sue Spann, put many hours into finding just the right place.

"We told them not to get in a hurry and don’t settle for something that’s not exactly what you want because you are going to be living with this for many years to come," said Sue Spann. "We came up the driveway and saw the open flat area and knew this was it. This was where they could build the barn they wanted."

For the past year Cater Stables had been residing at a farm owned by one of their customers, Nick Grewal. On Sunday, March 9 they opened the doors to their impressive new facility and home, which sit on 74 beautiful acres in Dunbarton, N.H.

"We bought the property in August, the land was cleared in September, construction started the end of October and we moved in February first," said Kristen. "We’re not done and I can’t believe we got it to this point for the open house, but we’re excited to be here."

A large turnout of customers, friends, fellow horsemen and women and many of the people who worked in some fashion on the construction of the expansive barn and arena were on hand to wish David and Kristen well with their new home.

New England certainly has another showcase facility, as the newly constructed stables and arena are most impressive and workable. Thirty-seven 12 x 12 stalls in two parallel aisles house the show horses, ponies, a few broodmares and foals. An additional seven temporary stalls are home to the lessons horses on one end of the 66’ x 200’ arena. A comfortable viewing room allows for several people to gather at any time and enjoy the activities taking place in the arena.

The impressive woodwork of Gerry Murchison – husband of Amanda O’Keefe Murchison – was the icing on the cake for the bright and nice size tack room. His bridle and harness racks lined the walls, while a brigade of saddles hung on the back wall. Feed rooms, wash racks and a kitchen/bathroom area for the staff all occupied the area between the two aisle ways in addition to the viewing room which overlooks the entire arena just a little above ground level.

Cater Stables has evolved into a truly full service training facility. Saddlebreds, Morgans and Hackneys are all trained there and champion equitation riders from both breeds are instructed. A lesson program will continue to build a nice customer base.

The newest phase for Cater Stables has been the breeding aspect. The Spanns’ former show mares Cindy Lou Who and Callaway’s Whirligig are both heavy in foal to Powerful Charm and a couple of customers have mares and foals as well. Thus, a few pastures for mares and foals will be built right around the house and barn so they will be in sight at all times. Another couple pastures are planned for behind the barn as well.

The home was the only thing on the property and David, Kristen and their assistant/dear friend Mary Del Omo spent countless hours renovating the house. Horses, people, dogs have now all moved in and Cater Stable is bustling with activity.

After a few hours of tours, good food, drink and company, Kristen and Mary Del Omo addressed the large crowd, acknowledging the people who had worked on the barn and made it all possible. They also had a video presentation prepared by Mike Setzer. The first one showed the step-by-step process of clearing the land, building the barn and arena and renovating the house. The second, set to music, was a candid review of the Cater Stables family throughout the 2007 show season.

Thank goodness they’re young as Kristen and David had to put the facility back in order following the Sunday afternoon open house to get ready to host a New England Winter Tournament the following Sunday.

And UPHA Chapter 14 Spring Premiere is right around the corner!

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