One of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune’s hidden, lesser known, facilities is the Scarlet and Gold Riding Club, located on Stone Street near Johnson Primary School.
The history of the base stables dates back decades to when the U.S. government had horses there as MCB Camp Lejeune was first developing.
Now, the riding club gives Marines, Sailors and their families in the Jacksonville area the opportunity to bring a major part of their lives, their horses, with them to their new home. That was the case for Cassie Heidmann, who handles the club’s community relations.
Heidmann, the wife of a Marine, brought her horse to MCB Camp Lejeune all the way from Wisconsin, taking advantage of what the club has to offer while bringing a piece of home along with her.
Not only does the riding club allow members to board their horses there and to use its facilities, Scarlet and Gold has the potential to bring in many riders for competitions, according to Heidmann.
“The possibilities we have are pretty awesome,” Heidmann said. “We have a full jump arena. We have a big arena, and we also have another smaller arena that’s a pretty good size. We have the round pin. We have a dressage arena, so to be able to offer all of those things is pretty good.”
The club tried hosting a competition in the spring, but bad weather in the days leading up to it resulted in a no show; however, the club’s officers are hoping to host another one this fall.
According to Heidmann, there are two major disciplines of equestrian competitions. The first type of show is Western, which consists of events such as barrel racing, pole bending and keyhole racing. The second kind of show is the English show, which may consist of flatwork and jumping events, among others.
There are currently 26 horses boarded at the Scarlet and Gold Riding Club, but that number is expected to rise in the coming weeks due to the addition of new members.
Members must be in the military or closely connected to the base.
Out of all that the Scarlet and Gold Riding Club has to offer, Heidmann says one of the things she enjoys most are the friendships built and the moments shared with the other members.
“A lot of us have become friends,” Heidmann said. “It’s not just ‘my horse is here, I go out, feed, train and leave.’ There are many nights that a lot of us are out here until 10 o’clock just talking and riding our horses together. We form a lot of friendships and it’s like a little community.”
For more information on upcoming events, visit sgrcnc.org.