Academy Riding Stables staying open despite owner dispute

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Academy Riding Stables are staying open, but due to a short staff and limited number of horses, some people may be turned away during Labor Day weekend — a usually busy time for them.

The stables were slated to close late August when one of the owners jumped in to save the company.

George Armstrong, a co-owner of the Academy Riding Stables, went out of retirement when he heard the company was shutting down.

The other co-owner is his brother’s widow, who apparently tried selling the property, firing employees and telling boarders they had to leave.

“She took all the financing that went with it, we’d always build up funds to get us through the winter when it’s so slow and there was none there,” said George Armstrong.

In 2000, the stables gave nearly 21,000 rides to the community annually through Garden of the Gods.

However, with a short staff now and not as many horses, that number is down to 13,000.

Armstrong says when he got word the company was shutting down, he and his wife were living in Arizona. By the time they got to Colorado Springs, things were already in disarray.

“It’s a sad thing when one person thinks they can take over and sell the whole thing without approval from anyone else or the community,” said Armstrong.

FOX21 News has repeatedly tried to track down the former owner, but she has moved out of the state.

Armstrong says some former employees have not returned or applied since being told to leave, however volunteers and the community have stepped up to help the stables.

A GoFundMe account has also been set-up to help the company.

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