Horses in Highlands

Horseback Riders from Crane Stables on Satulah by George Masa

When the 19th century turned 20, horseback riding was a favorite pastime in Highlands.  Potts Livery Stable had a thriving business.

By 1920, when cars were introduced to Highlands, speed limits were enforced for this new rumbling, racing beastie on four wheels.  One might have thought horses were exempt, but they had speed limits, too.  That was an insult to a young person’s hormonal need to go flying down Main Street just for the sheer thrill of it. 

Anne Altstaetter Rhodes remembered the day her brother Raoul along with Margaretta Duane (later Wood) went airborne, galloping so fast through town they were arrested for speeding.  This wasn’t Margaretta’s first encounter with the law for horsing around. She was arrested once before for riding on the town’s sidewalk.  “I didn’t even know it had a sidewalk,” she protested.

For those who didn’t own a horse in the 1930s, Crane’s Riding Stables (current site of The Bascom’s ceramics studio) provided steeds of varying speeds.  By 1941 Highlands had its first horse show at Mirror Lake.  Out of six entries, Louis Doggett won the grand prize.

Today, horses are rarely seen near town.  No one goes galloofing [sic] down the sidewalk, but Highlands is still on the map for its horses, namely in the area of hoof care.  Easy’s Slipper, an invention of the talented team at Carpe Diem Farms, has worked miracles for horses worldwide which have a variety of conditions that affect their feet.

So, while Highlands’ sidewalks are equine-free, the town itself still has a warm place in its heart for these amazing creatures.

And speaking of heart, “Heart of the Blue Ridge” by historian Ran Shaffner, the reference for these monthly columns, has many more compelling stories about the area and its creatures of two and four legs.  Check out, email, or schedule a visit to The Highlands Historical Museum, 524 North Fourth Street.