Boots and Saddles Club (Oh damn it, I found the longer version after I fixed this one)

    Melody Soto / Roundup

    Each member wrote down five terms on five strips of paper. The strips were collected and mixed in a stack, and then it all began.

    Gabrielle Polakoff went up to the white board and picked up a dry erase marker. Shouting came from all directions.

    “Water bucket.”  “Feeder.”  “Trough.”  “Barn house.”  “Bowl.”

    After a pause, “round pen” was yelled out; it was the correct guess.

    The Boots and Saddles Club has been centered on horses for 15 years.

    On April 4, after the business-oriented portion to their meeting came to an end, they played Pictionary with an equine twist.

    Julia Crisler, club president since Fall 2010, and former club secretary, Helene Zinn, can describe the club in one word: horses.

    Besides producing the equestrian shows on campus, members are concerned with promoting Pierce College during events outside of campus, fundraising for the agriculture department and local charities, and assisting with animals that are evacuated and brought to Pierce during natural disasters.

    “We play games, we play with horses, and we donate time and money to events,” Crisler said.

    Pierce is an official evacuation center for large animals when mudslides or fires occur. In the pens, animals have found a temporary home.

    “One year, we had 326 animals here,” said Zinn.

    Linda Howell, owner of Girlfriend, an 11-year-old chestnut that has lived at Pierce most of her life, remembers the year well.

    “We had llamas, alpacas, tortoises, sheep and a couple of pigs,” Howell said.

    Club faculty advisor Paddy Warner uses Girlfriend, the only female horse on campus, when she instructs advanced riding classes.

    Howell, a specialist reserve officer with the LAPD, has owned Girlfriend for many years. She and her horse have patrolled events at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills.

    Unlike Howell, Crisler had never been in contact with a horse until two years ago when she enrolled in a riding class. Since then, she has been captivated by the four-legged, wide-eyed animals.

    “They’re your best friends,” Crisler said.  “I’ve learned patience and so many things from training them and feeding them. I’ve woken up at 3 a.m. worried about a horse and wanted to come [to Pierce] when I know they’re sick.” 



    With 49 active members, the Boots and Saddles Club is one of the longest running clubs on campus, according to Zinn.

    Warner credits one reason for why the club has continued for so many years.

    “The camaraderie of the equestrian community is strong,” Warner said.