One Last Ride: Silver Buckle Saddle Club Plans Move Out of Plymouth
After 50 years at its current location in Plymouth, the Silver Buckle Saddle Club is closing its gates.
Citing rising property taxes, former club President Annie Mickelson said the group knew it was time to move on.
“Our taxes are about $10,000 a year,” Mickelson said. “Someone offered to buy Silver Buckle, and we accepted their offer because of the membership’s approval.”
The property is being sold to developers.
Mickelson said in more rural communities, taxes for locations like Silver Buckle are much lower.
Generations of Memories
Most people remember that Plymouth wasn’t always the booming suburban community it has become.
“When I first started riding here, I used to ride my horse down 47,” said Jenny Woods, who joined the club in the early 90s. “You’d never catch me doing that now.”
Mickelson joined the club in the early 2000s. She remembers those years fondly.
“We grew up living on hobby farms around this area,” Mickelson said. “And one by one, they all sold and were turned into neighborhoods. This was a little slice of old Plymouth, or like the way it used to be. You’d come here and it would feel the same—it’s horse country again.”
At Silver Buckle, club members found a place to practice, compete and bond.
“We would come with friends and lay under the arena lights and ride. I just have so many memories growing up here,” said Rachel Veschio, a club member. “This ground holds so much sentimental attachment.”
“All of our memories are sitting on that hill as a family and watching the shows,” said Gayle Murray, a board member.
The love for equine sports, and the community they create, spans generations at Silver Buckle.
Lifelong club member Tina Quilling’s grandpa settled at the location on Chankahada Trail, in the northwest corner of Plymouth, back in 1973.
“We moved where all these houses are,” Quilling said, gesturing to the new neighborhood beyond the hill. “I had a farm there with my mom, and my grandma and grandpa lived here through the woods.”
Quilling said she has fond memories of traveling to her grandparents’ house to practice riding horseback in the arena. Her kids carried on that tradition.
Time to Go
The impact was generational. But the landscape of Plymouth is changing. Mickelson said the club knew selling the property was in its future.
“As long as I’ve been a member, they’ve been talking about developing Plymouth. We’ve had land sale conversations probably since the late 2000s,” Mickelson said. “For the last 15 years, we at the saddle club have made the decision that we would do everything possible to stay here.”
Despite the club’s best efforts, taxes continued to climb. It became too much and the club is not able to keep up.
“With the recent developments we just kind of knew that you either become landlocked and they keep raising your taxes, which we can barely afford now, or we do the bummer and let it go and find a new place and start over,” Woods said.
In selling to developers, the club is tying up a chapter. Reflecting on the many years over the club’s time in Plymouth, Mickelson said it is bittersweet.
“It made it a really special place to be,” Mickelson said. “To share your love with people who had the same love.”
Mickelson and the 45 families involved in the saddle club, are still passing that love on to the next generation. Mickelson’s young daughter rides the same horse she rode as a girl.
“At the same time, I’ve been able to ride here, my mom’s ridden here, my daughter’s ridden here. I’m okay closing this chapter and rebuilding somewhere else,” Mickelson said.
What Comes Next
Silver Buckle’s final show will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21. It is open to the public and begins at 10 a.m. More information about the competition is available on the club’s website.
Its not the end of the ride. Board members are now searching for a place to relocate to within 20 minutes of Plymouth.