The positive impact of horse riding on the owner’s son was the inspiration behind Blue Line Stables in Noble.
Owner Kelly Bussell developed the business, 7040 114th St., after she and her family moved to Noble from Midwest City more than three years ago.
Bussell said she incorporated elements of her loved ones into the business name and model because one of her main goals is “to make everyone feel like a family.”
“I want the stables to be a safe place for anybody to get their mind off things while they meet certain equestrian goals, and I want to help them do that,” Bussell said.
Bussell said she decided to open the stables when her son’s riding lesson instructor ceased training. She decided instead of going to a different barn, she would start her own on the family’s 13-acre property three years ago.
The barn at Blue Line Stables has four stalls, re-purposed from a chicken coop. The stable of horses can accommodate both new and experienced riders, she said.
The Blue Line Stables name comes from her husband’s career as a law enforcement officer.
According to Equestlife, horse riding can be expensive, with the average annual cost of over $3,800, between the cost of the horse, maintaining it and the equipment, or tack, needed to ride. At Blue Line Stables, riders are able to get started with little investment other than the price of lessons, and shoes with a heel.
“The only thing I really require is for them to wear jeans and a heeled shoe, typically a boot,” Bussell said. “I do have loaner helmets as well as saddles and tack like training stirrups that make bigger saddles able to accommodate smaller kids.”
Another way Bussell tried to make her program more affordable is through allowing her students to experience showcasing one of her horses.
“We have some smaller show circuits that we do, and allow students to show my horses, and that is not common without someone leasing a horse,” Bussell said.
Students may start with one-on-one lessons to get acclimated to both the horses and the riding process before being grouped with other students, often resulting in friendships, Bussell said.
In the early days of the business, Bussell said she took clients’ horses into the stables, where they would stay while she worked with them over time. Although she still helps clients with their horses, she has since moved away from that offering.
Bussell teaches both English riding, where a rider takes a rein in each hand on a small saddle, and Western riding, where a rider holds both reins in one hand. Riding lessons for English and Western styles are available for anyone age five and older. Bussell said the main age range is children to around age 40, but she has older clients who come to Blue Line Stables for help with their personal horses.
“They can definitely bring them in, but they just won’t stay here,” Bussell said.
Riders’ goals at the stable might include riding skills and safety, Bussell said. She also said horse grooming and show preparation are possible goals.
Bailey Williams said she had little knowledge about horses prior to instruction with Bussell. She said she learned riding fundamentals, signs of horse discomfort and proper care.
“I think one of the things that sets her apart from other places is she takes the foundation of riding very seriously,” Williams said. “She thinks the basics are important and she doesn’t jump right into riding.”
Williams now has her own horses, and said she implements many of the lessons Bussell taught her with them. She also said instruction at Blue Line Stables helps develop character.
Bussell said horse riding is somewhat of a dying art, and it’s important to create an accessible offering that keeps the equestrian lifestyle going in the younger generations.
Krystal Strong’s daughter Madilynn was one of Bussell’s first students. She said her daughter received a strong riding foundation that helps her barrel race over three years later.
Despite reaching a level of skill and focus that is best served through specialized racing instruction, Krystal said Madilynn and Bussell remain friends and support each other in their respective shows and races.
“My daughter is now winning rodeos and barrel races and Bussell supports everything she’s doing,” Strong said. “I’ve referred several people to her and they’re all happy as well — she’s really amazing at what she does.”
Williams said Bussell implements life skills like responsibility, patience, assertiveness and hard work.
“You learn to keep track of equipment, and to be patient because horses are animals with their own minds,” Williams said.