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NEWS | March 12, 2013

Airmen on Langley 'saddle up'

By Airman 1st Class Victoria Taylor 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

As I walked through an opening in the sun-bleached wood fence that surrounded the two barns filled with 23 stalls, two wash racks and an outdoor arena, I heard the faint sound of hooves trotting along the packed dirt of the back pasture.

While a man on a tractor passed by me with a shovel filled with clay, I noticed that several people were busy digging in the soil, building new fence lines to expand the space where the animals could frolic. It was unbelievable to me that these stables were within earshot of an F-22's thundering engine.

Hidden behind the Eaglewood Golf Course, right beside the East Back River, Airmen can find a great opportunity to volunteer and admire horses roaming throughout 18 acres of Langley AFB.

Langley Saddle Club is a privately owned equestrian association established in 1970 on Langley Air Force Base, Va. The club runs the stables, performing most of the exhausting up-keep of the farm.

"The LSC is different because we do a lot of the farm work ourselves," said Staff Sgt. Nicole Hobbs, 1st Maintenance Squadron scheduler. "It's a lot more homey and tight-knit than other barns where I have kept Liberty, my 11-year-old quarter horse."

As an active or retired military member, the club offers the chance to locally board your horse. There is also an option to become an associate member of the LSC if an Airman does not own a horse, but still wants to be involved.

The club meets every third Tuesday of the month and plans different events throughout the year.

"For the past couple of years we have been doing a Christmas hayride, and we normally have a spring and fall party," said Betsy Riester, vice-president of the LSC. "These events help us in becoming better known throughout the base."

Assisting in the stables is a great way for Airmen to become a part of the family, said Riester. Work parties are held on the second Saturday of each month to help maintain the farm and provide a way to volunteer.

"We are always looking for more volunteers," said Riester. "It's great to see Airmen; many of the volunteers come out for every work party just because they love the atmosphere, and I enjoy seeing that."

Volunteering for the work parties can also be a great way to find pleasure and enjoyment in the hard work accomplished.

"The work parties don't even seem like work," said Staff Sgt. Douglas Teed, 633rd Communications Squadron cable antenna system technician. "We have breakfast and lunch and socialize while still getting a lot of things done."

After putting in a long day of work, it was clear that the volunteers found great pride in their efforts around the stables. As I began to leave, the smell of paint from the freshly-coated barn floated on the breeze from the Easy Back River.

I admired the work that over 20 volunteer Airmen from around the base put in, and found delight when I heard the sound of neighing mares in the background as I slowly pulled away. I left feeling inspired by the fact that such a quaint, pastoral scene shares the same patch of land as world-class fighter jets.

For more information on how to become a member of the LSC, or volunteer as an associate member, contact Betsey Riester at (757) 968-8767 or visit their website at