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Stepp Stables, a haven for horse loving Marines, families

CAMP PENDLETON — Military affiliated horse lovers in search of a memorable riding or boarding experience need not look any further than the San Luis Rey gate.
Stepp Stables, which was established in 1945 as the “Base Stables” and renamed in 2003 in honor of Sgt. Maj. William F. Stepp, serves as a one stop shop for both curious beginners and experienced equestrians.
Stepp, a Korean War veteran, retired from the Marine Corps to become the base stable’s manager in 1968, a post he held for 20 years. He became the namesake of the base stables in 2002.
Marine Corps Community Services sponsors the facility, which is open to service members, government civilians, and their families, said Claire Pelton, the stable manager.
“Our main goal is to provide high-quality boarding, training and lessons for all skill levels and disciplines at a lower cost to service members, their families and Department of Defense civilians,” said Claire Pelton, the stable manager. “We currently own 21 horses that are leased to patrons and used with lessons, along with more than 100 service member-owned horses.”
The stables provide a wide variety of services on its facilities, which include 100 boarding pens, a large pasture, tack and feed rooms, three performance arenas, parking for horse trailers and miles of trails.
Stepp Stables also offers multiple activities for beginner, intermediate and expert riders, such as trail rides, pony parties, English and Western-style lessons, horse shows and evening and weekend rides.
“Our recreation opportunities are limitless. There’s something for every person here,” said Pelton. “Our youngest student here is three years old, and the oldest is 80.”
Riders who own their own horses have the option of boarding their horse at Stepp for a monthly fee, which varies depending on the desired feeding schedule, said Pelton.
“The stables here are unique to outside facilities in that it offers patrons the ability to choose between paying for services or servicing their horse themselves,” said Pelton.
“Horse owners can feed their horses themselves every day, or they can opt to have us feed their horses on a daily basis.”
Stepp Stables, which operates Wednesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., is an important aspect of life aboard Camp Pendleton, said Pelton.
“The stables are priceless and a vital part of base life,” said Pelton.
“Most of the Marines that take advantage of our services are from areas of the country with working ranches and land.
For those Marines, Stepp Stables is a little taste of home.”
For more information on services provided Stepp Stables, contact Claire Pelton at (760) 725-5094.