East Tennessee Riding Club (ETRC)


ETRC is a 72 year old barn begun in 1945 with 12 members and is located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The buildings that became the clubhouse and main barn were warehouses at that time. The members rented the warehouses for a monthly rent of $13.12 and built stalls and tackrooms in one warehouse and that building (barn) now houses 31 horses. At one point in the history of ETRC, there were more horses than stalls so an annex building was built attached to the main barn. This addition houses 8 horses. The other building (clubhouse) became the home of live-in paid caretakers and meeting/entertainment rooms for the ETRC members. Over the years, there have been other people paid by members to help them with their horse, but it has been at least 40+ years since the clubhouse has been used as a home for any caretakers. In 1958, the ETRC property was purchased from the city government for $1800, and ETRC is one of a handful of businesses in the city that is still in the same business as when it started. ETRC is a member owned barn (the only one in the nation) which is overseen by a board consisting of 8 elected members. Monthly meetings are held to "run" the barn. Workdays occur each month to help maintain the barn, arena, the 11 paddocks, fences, roadways, and other buildings. All members are expected to work 40 hours (30 hours for ETRC and 10 hours for horse shows) within the calendar year. ETRC sets on 14 acres and is one block away from the major shopping center. In addition to riding on the ETRC property, members often ride trails that are close by the property and sometimes ride around town. It can be surprizing to shoppers and those in cars to see horses walking by. At times, some ETRC riders have ridden through the drive-throughs of fast food places to get something to eat. This usually gets a laugh from the person at the window and they tell all the others working that a horse is outside the window.


clubhs2b (1553K) barnfttrees (2269K) barnbk2a (1441K) annex1a (466K)
hallwhorse (480K) hallwhors1a (843K) Much of the outside of the ETRC barn still looks a lot like a warehouse, but the inside is very different from a wide open warehouse. There are 31 stalls (each approximately 8ft X 10ft)tack rooms (each approximately 4ft X 10ft) combos. The 21 outer stalls have a window which allows the horses housed in these stalls to put their heads outside and look around as well as put their heads out into the hallways through the open upper stall door. The 10 inner stalls have no windows but allow cross ventilation of air from both the front and back sides of the stalls. The open upper stall doors also allow the horses in the inner stalls to put their heads out into the hallways. The 8 stalls in the annex all have outside windows. The annex has dirt floors unlike the concrete ones in the main barn, but because of the outside windows some members would rather have these stalls than the inner stalls in the main barn.

hallwhors1b (571K) hallwhors1c (145K)

ETRC has not always had an arena. In the early years, shows were held at the baseball field just down the road. Horses were riden or trailered to the field. In the beginning, when the arena was first built, it was designed for Tennessee Walking and gaited horse events. The center of the arena was a grassy knoll with the track around the knoll as the site of all show events. The arena is a large arena but no longer has any grass area at all. Over the years the arena has been the site of many shows and rodeos. For the last 24 years each May, the 4H show has been held and participants have come from all over East TN and some times from near-by states. In addition to the 4H show, most years there have been 3 or 4 open shows at ETRC. This year there will only be two other show in additon to the 4H show. Plans for these shows are incomplete at this time. More information will posted on this site as plans are finalized. Of the 11 paddocks, 5 paddocks will hold at least five horses. There are two horses in 4 of the remaining paddocks. Two separate paddocks hold only 1 horse each. The last of the 11 paddocks hold 3 horses. At times, if the need arises because a horse is sick, injured or needs special accomodations, a temporary paddock is added to the paddock area by moving the rust pen from the front of the barn.


arena1a (828K) padck2a (737K) padck2 (2297K)
arena1b (1244K) padckz (1662K) rustpin (1007K)

To learn more about the history of the barn and a couple of the horses and their owners read the article that appeared in The Oak Ridger newspaper.

Ray Smith, the author, is a writer of historical articles for The Oak Ridger.

East Tennessee Riding Club -- Oak Ridge historic site and working stables


In addition to ETRC, the barn is the home of the Anderson County 4H Horse Project. This 4H group is the only one in Anderson County that has horses in its program.


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