For most, if not all of us, it can be amazing, encouraging and insightful to look back over the years and see where people, places and circumstances have taken us.
Fifteen years ago, Kelly Del Margo’s daughter Samantha was at a friend’s house. The friend had a riding lesson with Julie Phillips at what was then the Bobkat Ranch in Hangen Ranch. Samantha ended up riding that day as well and a passion for horses ensued. Up until then, Kelly had struggled to find something that her daughter was passionate about. Something to give her focus, direction and teach her the life lessons that could build her into the person she was made to be.
Kelly herself had a taste of that passion when she was thirteen at Girl Scout camp and had the opportunity to care for and ride horses. Not until Samantha climbed onto a horse that day at nine years old, did Kelly’s horse love get to come to life again.
As a single mom, Kelly worked and made sacrifices to allow Samantha to be involved with horses growing up. Kelly knew this was Samantha’s passion and she was good at it! Samantha was a part of Julie Phillips’ Horsefeathers 4-H group and Julie allowed Samantha to work off a portion of her horse lease and lessons. Kelly attributes much of the amazing person that Samantha grew up to be to Julie as a mentor and friend and of course, to the horses.
One of the great joys of Kelly’s life has been her time as a teacher. Kelly holds an undergraduate degree in Social Work and has a double Master’s in Education and Special Education. She retired three years ago from the Jefferson County School District after being a Special Education teacher at West Jefferson Middle School and Colorow Elementary in Littleton. With some health issues at the time, the timing for retirement made sense. However, over the next couple years after retiring, Kelly struggled to find a reason to get out. She ended up gaining weight and couldn’t find a purpose to get going again like she had when she was teaching and with her dearly loved students.
In the meantime, Samantha had started giving lessons to a family that lived in Indian Hills that had a horse facility on the property that they rented. To have a horse suitable for lessons for their daughter, Kelly brought over her horse Frankie, originally acquired from Samantha. Frankie has since passed away, but played a big part in Kelly’s healing within herself as well as in her relationship with Samantha.
Eventually, the family moved on and for eight months, the group of boarders that had collected at the barn struggled to know what the future held for the facility. Finally the owner David wanted to be done managing the barn and Kelly took over the lease in May 2013.
With the horses to care for and a new purpose in her life, Kelly also joined a weight loss program through Kaiser Permanente and over several months lost 80 pounds. Being outdoors, walking around the farm, working and riding were a significant part of her physical and mental wellbeing. Last year, at least four days a week, Kelly and her horse Mack explored Mount Falcon Park.
Managing the barn and caring for the horses was that “something more” that Kelly desperately needed to find since retirement.
The success of the barn she can attribute to people and circumstances that have purposefully fallen into place. Luann at Canyon Tack & Feed (www.canyontackandfeed.webs.com) in Kittredge has supported Kelly in numerous ways. Julie Phillips (www.jubileehorse.com) has been a great friend for 15 years and gives riding lessons at Hilltop Stables.
Barbara Wright of Harmony Horseworks (www.harmonyhorseworks.com) has partnered with Kelly to help rescued horses, not to mention stopping in on a regular basis with food and treats for the horses. Bi-weekly Yoga with Tysu has also helped to keep Kelly in balance. Even her niece’s grandfather Tom collected materials and put in many hours making improvements on the barn, arena and built a bin to hold shavings.
The Foothills Chapter of Rocky Mountain Dressage Society has leased Hilltop Stables for the end of May, beginning of June to put on a lecture and three day clinic with clinician Dr. Maria Katsamanis called “Molecular Equitation”. They also have dates reserved for clinics in August and October. The potential seems endless and this experience has helped to renew her trust in people and life again.
The horses and the opportunity at Hilltop Stables continue to change her life and she feels truly blessed everyday to get up and go to the barn. She now has the long term goal of getting her Doctorate from Denver University in their Equine Assisted Therapy Program.
Recently certified as a 4-H leader for the Mountaineer group, Kelly has a horse leader in place and is hoping that other kids in the area will let their interests and passions shape the group, weather it be archery, quilting, horses, chickens, cattle, etc.
Kelly has created a friendly, community atmosphere at Hilltop Stables in Indian Hills. With a ten stall barn and an indoor arena on this amazing property, you can take in the views with a ride around the 185 acres of picturesque, horse heaven in 45 minutes. Of course, for a longer ride, the Mount Falcon Park trailhead is ten minutes away. She currently charges $450 for full care and $350 for partial care. You can reach Kelly at 720-984-0145 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Heather McWilliams © 2014.