Casey Parton and 'Old Paint' head up Rockin' C Lessons and Parties
BLUE EYE, Mo. -- Casey Parton and her trusty steed "Old Paint" work together as a team to teach youngsters and adults how to ride.
Both have plenty of experience. She has ridden and trained horses all her life, and Paint has been a big part of that life.
"He's 26," said Casey. "I grew up with Paint. We got him as a 3 year-old. I've ridden him since I was five."
Casey has 16 horses at her home, C&H Farm, where she was born, raised and stayed.
It is there that she lives with her husband Gary on the home place they share with her mother Janet Horn and Aunt Janice Chapin.
She's been riding and training horses ever since she can remember, and started up her own business this past spring.
Old Paint is one of five horses she uses in her business, Rockin' C Lessons and Parties, located one mile west of downtown Blue Eye.
"He's my main lesson horse," she said of Old Paint. "We'll have a birthday party for him in September. Anyone who takes lessons with me is invited to the party.
"The kids make a cake out of carrots, sugar cubes, apples, peppermints, and horse treats, such as apple wafers, which are our favorite.
"He's had cancer since he was 15," she continued. "The kids find that very interesting."
His cancer, which causes no discomfort, is limited to a growth on his neck, she said. If it's removed, the cancer will spread, so it remains.
"I would love to take Paint to a cancer hospital and take kids for a ride and let them see his lump," she said.
Casey knows Paint would be up to the task. After all, he was her very own private race horse at one time.
"I pretended to be a racing jockey," she remembered smiling. "I'd ride him fast with a hunter/jumper saddle."
Old Paint's racing days are over, as are his performances at Sho De-O events when Casey ran him in timed competitions at Oak Grove, Berryville and Blue Eye saddle club contests.
He's been in parades with her, and at her side as she won rodeo queen crowns for her horsemanship skills.
These days, he's content to let the others do the racing while he carefully carries his charges around the arena during lesson times.
Casey said the idea to open her own lesson business came about unexpectedly.
"I always had Sunday School kids or families with young children come by to ride," she said. "One winter I lost my job when they closed Branson Hospitality. I tried to decide what to do."
She said Rod Riley, at Riley's Painted Acres in Cape Fair, was looking for someone to give lessons at his place.
"God always opens a door when another closes," she smiled. "I started giving lessons two times a week last year.
"Rod was grateful enough to teach me how to set up my own business, so I expanded and opened here in April. Now, one day a week, on Tuesday, I give lessons at Riley's and I'm here the rest of the time."
Casey says she advertises in this newspaper, and on the radio, plus word of mouth has brought her business.
"I've had a good response," she said.
Currently, she has 10 clients taking riding lessons, plus she hosts parties for churches, organizations, scout troops, businesses, family reunions and birthdays.
"We have the arena for lessons and for games at parties," she said. "Plus, we have the picnic area with a fire pit for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.
"We offer hayrides that go out in the pastures, up and down the hills. The kids love going down the hills fast!
"While we're out there, the kids get to see the grazing horses and cows, and the pigs in a pen. They get the farm experience, where there are also chickens and geese."
A "cow train" that is mower driven is available as well, as is a fishing pond where blue gill and perch are caught nearly every cast on cane poles.
Casey says she has planned a Fall Festival to begin at noon on Saturday, Oct. 17. "The admission will be $6 for anyone, adults or kids, and we'll have games, contests, prizes, hot dogs, marshmallows, horse rides, the cow train, a pumpkin patch and hayrides," she grinned.
While Casey loves hosting parties, it is the lessons that bring her the greatest satisfaction.
Her most challenging student, she said, is an 8-year-old boy with an attention deficit disorder.
"He loves it," she said. "His attention span is short, but I keep him focused and on track. He likes to look at the ducks and chickens. I'm a very patient person, and it takes a lot of patience.
"He was a little fearful at first," she recalled. "Now, he's building his confidence. He can now walk and trot on a loose rein. Learning to ride has given him much more self confidence."
Casey says she finds it rewarding when she's able to help a student get to the point where they can ride on their own. "That's when I know I've done my job," she said.
Casey says youngsters under the age of five get a half-hour lesson for $10. Everyone else gets a one hour lesson for $20. Grooming, saddling and riding are included.
For advanced riders, she offers one-hour sessions that teach students how to train their own horse.
Horse boarding, parties and lessons are all offered at Rockin' C, where "the western fun begins," Casey says. For more information, call her at (417) 230-2479.