New indoor arena and equestrian training center opens in Watford City
By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer
In December, a brand new indoor arena and equestrian training center opened in Watford City. Roughrider Stables & Training Facility is at the cornerstone of North Dakota’s equestrian culture and welcomes all types of riding and training, as well as boarding services.
“I feel like it’s an amazing story, building, and really an amazing thing for Watford City,” says Dianna Guadagnino, Roughrider Stables & Training Facility co-owner. “It’s pulling people from all over the region who really have something fun to do that they care passionately about. The opportunity to spread this horsemanship and western legacy has attracted many sponsors and people who help out. And our facility provides a safe and friendly environment for both horse and rider.”
According to Jason Gillen, Roughrider Stables & Training Facility co-owner and manager, in the short amount of time the facility has been open, people have been coming to train, spend time with their family, and prepare their animals for events, everywhere from Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota to Canada.
“I’ve loved every day of this,” says Gillen. “It’s remarkable. It’s great. Everyone that has walked through our doors seems very happy with the facility. And the response from the community has been great. Once I opened the doors, it’s just kind of hit and it’s been growing steadily ever since. I think we’ve built an amazing facility for equine.”
Gillen grew up on a 7,500-acre ranch with 450 head of cows in Utah, where the life of rodeo and being a cowboy just naturally ran in his blood since he was a young boy.
“Buying this building in Watford City and having grown up with that type of lifestyle, it just went hand in hand,” said Gillen. “I already had a background and knowledge in this field. Once I moved to North Dakota and started working in the oil field in 2010, things just progressed, and one thing led to another. I chose Watford City because at that time, I loved the feel of this community and the people. And what I wanted to do and offer, well I really felt this place was the most appropriate place to do that.”
The facility has paddocks, stalls, pasture, and an all-weather, 30,000- square foot indoor riding arena outfitted with equipment for all western riding and competitions. The facility hosts barrel racing clinics, bull riding clinics, team roping clinics, group practice events, and jackpot rodeos. Every discipline is welcome from novice to expert, whether someone wants to hold a 4-H event, train, work with a colt, or prepare to compete for a show.
“The Center welcomes all types of riding and training, whether someone is a PRCA or WPRA champion, NHSRA student, or novice, they will find world-class facilities, trainers and staff ready to work with them,” says Gillen. “It is Roughrider Stables’ strongest desire to make this facility a place where individual skills are uniquely honed.”
The facility will host a jackpot barrel race and a jackpot team roping event once a month. The first event hosted by the Roughrider Stables in January brought in 27 riders that competed, which was a number they were very pleased with. They are looking forward to having several professionals in the upcoming months holding various clinics such as Gary Leffew, Jane Melby, Paul Humphreys and Mike Beers.
“We do a lot of trainings and clinics,” says Gillen. “And not just for the person, but for the animal as well. People can come and get trained at whatever level they are at.”
Roughrider Stables has several options to accommodate horses, including 12’x10’ and 12’x14’ stalls, 100’x400’ paddocks, barns, and a turn-out area. The success of the stalls has been so great that he recently had to order 15 additional stalls to fulfill the demand. And the stalls are portable so individuals have an option of moving them inside or outside.
They also provide services for nightly layovers, a horse hotel, and medical rehabilitation for those that need a place for an injured animal for recovery and comfort.
“It’s made a lot of people happy,” said Guadagnino. “These people want and need all the support they can get, as it is a really special community. A community of really amazing and nice people who love to rodeo and spend time with their horse community.”
Currently, the training facility offers various times throughout the week for the general public to come train and ride at their leisure. Individuals are welcome to visit the facility’s website or Facebook page to check times and prices for the different services: http://www.roughriderstables.com or https://www.facebook.com/roughrider.stables. Questions can also be directed to Gillen via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 701-609-0733.
“For the number of people and sponsors, I plan on bringing a lifetime of fun to the people,” said Gillen. “There has been so much support. Tractor Supply has been huge in helping us get started and I appreciate all they have done. It’s been so nice to hear the positive feedback from people saying it’s nice to have a place to bring horses and get them ready for upcoming events.”