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La Fleur Stables 1965-2015: Celebrating 50 years of Horsemanship

by Dawn Moore
Photo credit:  Brendan Heintz

When Marlene and Dan La Fleur met back in the first grade, little did they know they’d become Norwegian dance partners, go on to get married and start up a Saddlebred training facility that is still in existence today. On May 23, 2015 the La Fleur Stables and home became a focal point for friendships spanning over fifty years to stop by, have a bite to eat, a drink or two and share a few stories.

Long time customer Jean Ann and her husband Dr. Sigurd Gundersen joined in the festivities. Sheri Brandl, her daughter Hadley and Mark Bodnar stopped by as well. Both Sheri and her sister Karen Brandl met their first Saddlebreds while taking lessons from Marlene La Fleur 33 years ago. Sheri gives full credit to Marlene for ‘sparking her interest’ in Saddlebreds so long ago. Jackie and Doc Sweeney stopped by to visit, as well as good friends Drs. Dan and Mary Bushard. Marilyn Nelson Herbert and her 96 year-old mother, Jessie Nelson were on hand as were Terra Lee Herale along with Mary Ann Volz Brown and Trudi Carlson. Marilyn and Terra were two of Marlene’s very first customers back in the mid-sixties.  Trudi and her brother showed Arabians but were on the Madison Horse Show board with the La Fleurs “back in the day”.

More recent past clients that dropped by included a couple of junior exhibitors that have since grown up, Allison Sara and Nick Nevaiser and of course Nick’s mother, Susan Watson. Farrier Jeremiah Sprague made the journey up from Indiana. The celebration would not have been complete without the existing customers and friends that have now become part of the current family, Teresa Atkin, Patty McDonald, Joanna Rouse and several others. Long time family friend Brendan Heintz helped see that everyone got their picture taken at least once during the night. He also helped spread the word on Facebook that the party location had been changed from the Madison Spring Show (cancelled) to the home of La Fleurs.

What started out as a beautiful day with blue skies, continued into a wonderful summer night as the sun set over the treetops. Kids had fun playing in the yard and pastures, while adults enjoyed the various patios and visiting indoors. Around 9:00 PM a group gathered out front to set free a few Chinese flying lanterns into the peaceful evening sky full of stars. As the lanterns drifted away into the dark, things started to wind down, but as is always the case at any horse function, there were several hard cores that spent a few more hours looking through albums and reminiscing about some of the great horses and riders that have passed through La Fleur Stables.  Congratulations to La Fleur Stables for keeping the breed alive and supporting the industry and we look forward to your name being around for another 50 years.

A more in depth article was done on the history of La Fleur Stables in December 2014 Horse World.

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