Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saying Goodbye to a Childhood Landmark

So many of my favorite childhood memories reside in the heart of this big red barn, Cedar Ridge Horse Center, located in Woodbridge, Virginia.
My mom would drop me off first thing summer mornings, and I'd spent the entire day there.
There were other girls my age, of course, and we'd exercise and groom various horses, pick stalls, feed, water the arenas (to keep the dust down) and just eat, breathe, and live horses.

A boarding facility that housed 50 horses, there was always action to be had.  I rode daily, but I also participated in lessons once a week, and occasionally a group clinic.  If we weren't riding or working, my friends and I would pretend to be horses - ascending over the jumps in the arena by foot.  Or we'd sled down the manure pile (which towered overhead in the rear of the barn) on a little red sled.  If someone with a driver's license was around, we'd pile into a car to head down the road to Taco Bell, the newest fast food chain on the block.  Sometimes we'd grab Peach Nehis at 7-11 to have later in the afternoon.  And if all food options failed, there were always the snack machines in the lounge.

Here I am riding Sprite, a school horse that I leased the summer prior to getting my own horse.

And here is my horse, Chico, in the private paddocks to the side of Cedar Ridge.

Of course, there have been rumors throughout the years that Cedar Ridge would be closed down.  Prince William County blossomed around it, and being a suburb of D.C. housing is in high demand.  I stopped in Cedar Ridge briefly when I was in the area about 8 years ago.  Many of the stalls then were empty.

And so, I guess it wasn't really surprising when my old barn friends began posting on Facebook that Cedar Ridge was being torn down.  What surprised me, though, was that seeing the current pictures hurt so badly (I was thankful to be given permission to share them with my readers).

Here is a view of the barn aisle, which I swept from end to end by broom many a summer morning, pausing along the way to greet my favorite horses by name.
Back in the day, steel bars graced the stalls, blankets hung on doors, and handsome horse heads peered out from every door.

And here is the indoor riding arena.
Raped of it's wooden walls, jumps, and soft footing.  An arena I spent many, many hours in.  If I wasn't riding myself, I was often to the side watching others.
It is with great sadness that I say adieu to this landmark of my childhood.  When I think of Cedar Ridge, I think "Yes, as a matter of fact, I WAS raised in a barn". 
And although it may be silly to miss a cinderblock and metal building, Cedar Ridge will be missed by many - who may be grown now but who still remember, fondly.

17 comments:

JDaniel4's Mom said...

It is shame they couldn't keep it up!

cat said...

So sad. I think of the many little girls who grew up under the metal roof of Cedar Ridge who will cherish the memories into their old ages. It wasn't the building or the paddocks, Lisa, it was the people. God bless all those barn rats, trainers, instructors, managers, muckers, and moms with trailer hitches on the backs of station wagons or double cab trucks. They were the community that you mourn.
I'm so glad you got to be a Cedar Ridge Rat!

Nancy said...

I guess there could be many reasons why it did not flourish over the past years, but I feel sad to see something like that fall into ruins. What great memories it must have held for you.

Sonya Heilmann said...

Oh, how sad. What a great place for you to have grown up. Thank you for sharing your memories of such a wonderful place.

Ahh, Chico! What a handsome guy. And Sprite looks like a great horse to learn from!

texwisgirl said...

I am jealous that you were able to grow up around horses. I never had the opportunity but loved them so. I'm sorry this arena is gone - squeezed out by developments, I'm guessing...

Kritter Keeper said...

the taxes probably got too high and the poor owner couldn't afford them. the indoor pic was very very sad...i am glad you had good memories though.

Doris Sturm said...

That is very sad! I still think that change is not always good and the new mantra "change is good" was just something the boss made up to keep us from quitting ;-)

I believe that when things die or get torn down, it's not so much about those things being gone, but with it the end of a memory, childhood, summer vacation, whatever it was...it's more than that, is part of our past is disappearing as well. I guess that's what photographs and memories are for!

Thanks for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading it.

Lulu said...

That is too bad it couldn't remain open or they couldn't keep it going. It is sad when a landmark memory is gone. I was in my hometown this weekend and happened to drive by the little red house that had our girl scouts meetings ... nearly in shambles. I was suprised how hard that hit me.

Sorry about your beloved barn; it's still beautiful.

laughwithusblog said...

What fun memories. It's hard to let things go. Sometimes we just would like to freeze things in time.

The Damsel in Dis Dress said...

Sad! But I'm glad you shared this...it preserves the memories of a wonderful place.

Home In The Hollow said...

Progress (?) ruins so much in our lives...:)JP

Greenacresmama said...

Nooooo...this is SO sad! I only took lessons there for a little while, but seeing that lifeless barn is terribly depressing. Hope Hill (my old haunt) sadly also went the way of the cookie cutter...

mountain mama said...

wow, so many good memories were had there.
thank you for sharing such a great place.

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates said...

That's unfortunate, but at least you will always have the fabulous memories!

Myya said...

How awesome that you have those amazing memories.

Anne said...

What a great memory to look back on. I grew up in the city but have always wanted to be in the country. Being born in a barn in not such a bad thing... Thanks for sharing.

Anne @ http://lessonsthrulife.com

mommylebron said...

Your feelings are completely understandable! You obviously have so many cherished memories and these things tend to become a "part" of us. :)
((hugs))
Stopping in from TRDC.