By Tony Parra
Editor’s Note: The following is a part of an ongoing series of stories about local business owners who have been with their respective businesses for five years or longer.
Ray and Wendy Toombs are owners of the Abrazos Adventure horseback riding school and between them have 100 years of horse experience. They teach students how to ride horses and have experience working in all phases of horse competitions.
The Abrazos Adventure is located one-half mile north of Portales and has been in existence for the last six years..
The Abrazos Adventure school is targeted for people who have limited, non-existent or bad horse experience and help them understand horse behavior and inform riders of safety precautions.
“People learn life lessons,” Wendy Toombs said. “They learn to make the horse feel comfortable around them. They learn to be patient and not force the issue.”
Wendy Toombs said approximately two-thirds of their students are from Cannon Air Force Base. Wendy Toombs said a couple of parents were living in Italy and they were looking on the Internet to see what type of activities to involve their daughter in. She said they took their daughter to the Abrazos Adventure school the day after they arrived in Clovis.
Wendy Toombs said she instructs seven days a week.
“I really enjoy putting people and horses together,” Wendy Toombs said. “The horses have a lot to teach about life.”
Wendy Toombs provide riders with safety helmets, meeting equestrian safety standards. They teach students how to English ride, Western ride and bareback ride their horses. English riding is when riders hold the reigns in both hands and control the speed and direction using the reign in the horse’s mouth, according to Fine Living Web site. Western riding is when riders hold the reigns in one hand only and direct the horse by shifting weight and with neck-reigning.
Ray Toombs said he met Wendy at a rodeo when the both of them were in their teens. He said he used to have to catch wild horses while he was growing up around the Santa Fe area. He said he used to get paid 50 cents a head.
Ray Toombs said the training school began with two students and a couple of horses and has expanded to 40 students and nine horses for training. Wendy Toombs said they have 26 horses in all in a 42-acre ranch northwest of Portales.
Wendy Toombs said she teaches lessons and most lessons are for an hour. People can sign up for various amounts of lessons.
Wendy Toombs also offers pony rides for those who are not old enough for lessons. Toombs said they offer lessons for children above age 5.
Wendy Toombs said they can also arrange field trips for schools and organizations. People interested can call 356-8078.