Pioneer Tack Story
A little girl had a dream. She dreamed of a horse of her own. After years of begging for a horse, her parents surprised her with a pony, when she was 10 years old. The pony was a black, Shetland mare about 5 years old. Her name was Silver. Some people think a black pony named Silver is a little strange, but that was her name when Tammie got her and she figured the pony already knew her name, so she wasn’t going to change it. There were the occasional jokes about that, but the black pony named Silver became pretty well known in the Willamette Valley. After Tammie outgrew her, Silver was passed down to the younger siblings, Jenny, Tracy and Randy Cutter. Silver turned out to be a halter champion along with wins in showmanship, English, western, trail and gaming. By the time all the family had outgrown her, Tammie Smith was giving lessons on her to other little kids and Silver taught numerous children to ride.
Tammie’s dream of raising horses started with Silver. Silver produced 3 foals for Tammie, 2 by Tammie’s first halter champion Shetland pony, Tigger. They still have a daughter and granddaughter of Silver and their son, Ian, showed 2 daughters and one granddaughter when he was younger. When Tammie outgrew Silver, she moved on to a 2 year old, green broke saddlebred gelding named Chico. Now, a 2 year old saddlebred gelding is not the greatest transition from a very well mannered pony, but that’s what her dad bought for her and Tammie wasn’t going to turn down any horse. There were rough moments, but Chico was Tammie’s 4-H horse and they both learned through the years. By then, Tammie’s interest had turned to Arabians and she purchased a half Arabian mare Ahshallany aka Shawnee. Shawnee always will be one of Tammie’s favorite horses, but her greatest successes came as her sister, Tracy’s, 4-H and hunt seat horse. Tracy and Shawnee won the medallion at 4-H State Fair in Equitation over Fences and also showed in both Arabian and open hunter shows successfully.
Shawnee produced the first foal bred by Tammie, a grey half Arabian colt by Serch. When Tammie was 16, she fell in love with a yearling Arabian colt that was with a trainer that worked out of the same barn Tammie was boarding at. When the colt, Darq Agent, placed 2nd in a class of 32 at his first class A Arabian show, Tammie had to have him. Darq Agent went on to be a successful endurance horse, winning his first ride along with the Best Condition award. The family moved to Albany where they boarded a few horses. Tammie’s parents had decided if the kids were going to be into horses, they’d make some money off it. Besides boarding, they did some buying and selling of horses. Tammie’s parents would buy the horses and Tammie would train them.
Tammie’s parents bought what was then Freeway Stables in Jefferson, OR . Renamed Oakville Acres, Tammie managed the 44 stall facility. Tammie trained and gave lessons and also became the leader of a 4-H club. Transitioning more into show horses, Darq Agent was shown successfully in working cow horse, reining, western pleasure , English pleasure and halter. He was also a successful breeding stallion and all but one of Pioneer Tack’s Arabians are his descendents. When Darq Agent was 16, Tammie’s sister, Tracy, started training him to jump and he won the 1993 Canadian National Arabian Working Hunter Reserve Championship when he was 17 along with other hunter class wins including High Point Arabian at the Region III show in 1992.
The time came when Tammie’s parents decided to sell the horse facility and Tammie moved to a stable in Aumsville where she trained and gave lessons. Then along came Dennis Barnes. Tammie and Dennis
eventually married. Since Dennis had a good job in Yakima, WA, after the wedding, Tammie moved to Yakima. They continued breeding and showing both their horses and ponies, but Tammie didn’t train other people’s horses.
They sort of drifted into the tack business. While attending a tack auction, they were selling English saddles 3 for the money. Tammie only needed one, but they sold so cheap that Tammie bought all 3 and sent 2 of them to a local tack shop that did consignments. After making a little money off that, they got to wondering if this was something they could do. So the next auction, they bought $95 worth of tack and listed it on ebay. Taking that money, they bought some more and so on and so on… Eventually that grew into an eBay store and going to various horse events to sell tack. They eventually grew big enough that they could purchase from tack wholesalers instead of just auctions.
After 12 years, that good job disappeared when they closed the lumber mill that employed Dennis. When Dennis got a job in the Willamette Valley, they purchased their present facility in Aumsville. They offer full care boarding in a small, family friendly environment. With only 10 stalls, it’s a nice atmosphere with something of a farm atmosphere as their son, Ian, does custom haying and the chickens add character. They give each horse the same care they would give their own.
The new house came with a garage, so the idea was born of putting the tack in the garage and a horse tack/garage sale emerged. The one Christmas sale became a sale every 2 or 3 months, then every month, and now is Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00 – 2:00 with the occasional Friday/Saturday sale. The desk and computer were moved into the garage, so Tammie can do her eBay listings and people can come in and shop.
The next idea was a horse show. The first year we had one schooling show. That worked pretty well, so for several years we had 4 shows a year, the last Saturday of June, July, August, and September. For awards, we gave gift certificates to the tack shop, so people could get what they wanted. Eventually, there came a point where it was hard to get help for the shows and it was pretty much a break even proposition, so we stopped having the shows and put the money into showing our horses.
As the stable and tack shop took up more of Tammie’s time, training and lessons were turned over to Makenzie Holley. Makenzie is an accomplished young trainer specializing in dressage and hunter/ jumpers, but also teaches showmanship, trail and western.
They are also getting back into breeding as their Arabian mare, Imzadi aka Star, has produced 2 foals for them. One of those, Ibn Imzadi aka George, is currently in training with Makenzie. He has successfully competed in halter, dressage, working hunter and eventing. He stands at stud at Pioneer Tack and is available to outside mares. Star is a granddaughter of Darq Agent and a halter champion herself.
By Tammie Barnes