Spanning over forty acres, the property holds 20 horses, including two miniature horses and a miniature donkey, and hand-built barns, fences and a hen house.
“In total there was somewhere around 200 acres,” said stable owner Bruce Harper. “But after it was passed down and split up between me and my two brothers, I got this 40-acre piece of land to work with.”
Harper has lived on the land all his life, as much of the property has been in the family for four generations. From taking care of each acre, his dogs, horses, barn cat and hens, Harper spends his time in retirement serving the land and all of those who board their horses at the stable.
“I actually give the eggs from the henhouse to my customers free of charge,” Harper said. “We only have a few stalls open and some pasture space left because we just love having the horses here.”
Beyond the stalls and pastures, the land holds a rich history as Harper recalled many childhood memories. From spending nights in the treehouse he built to taking a dip in the nearby creek with his brothers after a morning’s work in middle school and high school, Harper values his land and all it’s given him throughout his life.
“In the summer months we worked with my grandad in the fields,” Harper said. “Many days after lunch we’d go down to the big swimming hole in the creek, and sometimes we’d have close to 30 people swimming down there.”
The community began to take notice of the land in the mid to late 1900s. Harper recalled some unexpected guests.
“On Sundays we would look down by the water and see a bunch of cars pulled over, so we’d go down and climb up into the treehouse, and we’d see a congregation baptizing people in the creek.” Harper said. “Even sometime around the seventies we’d have a lot of hippies walk the pastures and eat the mushrooms.”
The stable also houses a few horses belonging to UA students who participate in the University’s club equestrian teams.
“It’s important to find a good barn for your horse,” said Stephanie White, a freshman majoring in geology who participates in the University’s equestrian team. “You shouldn’t have to worry about whether your horse is in ‘good hands’ while you’re trying to adjust to college.”
Though the land has paid service to both expected boarders and unexpected guests, Harper welcomes all to the stable to board their horses in the future.
“It’s nice to know stables like this with kind owners and a genuine relationship with the land exists,” said Kat Bielinski, a sophomore majoring in chemistry. “It’s hard to find, but it’s clear Harper Stables has a genuine passion for the land and animals, which prospective customers like myself truly care about.”