Sweet Dreams Horse Boarding and Stable, a new business venture by Kim Barnes and Jimmy Riley at 4419 County Road 1 in the Bellefontaine area, hosted an open house Nov. 18. The stable is a labor of love for the engaged couple, as Barnes moved to be close to Riley but continues to commute to her day job in Urbana.
Barnes and Riley met in September 2014 on Match.com due to their mutual love of horses, but at the time didn’t realize how close they lived to one another. About two years ago Barnes moved to Bellefontaine. After building a house down the road from Riley, she decided she wasn’t happy without a horse in her back yard that she could clean up after or feed whenever she wanted.
The 11,000-square-foot stable took about six months to complete and has room for 11 horses, but Barnes said they have room for 20 horses on the property, which includes an indoor wash rack with heated water, indoor arena, outdoor arena, feed room, tack room and a lounge area.
“People can keep horses here and visit, ride, take them, show them and come back,” Barnes said. “Eventually we’re wanting to make it where you can go all the way around the farm. It won’t be a wooded area like a trail ride, but it’s a good distance all the way around the farm.”
Both Barnes and Riley had fathers who owned horses and say that is a large part of the inspiration for this venture. Neither has operated a horse stable before, but Riley’s parents did when he was younger. Barnes’s grandfather raised draft horses and her father raised ponies that were shown at the Champaign County Fair.
Between the two of them they own six horses, three mares at Sweet Dreams, two geldings stabled elsewhere and a Quarter Horse stallion named Hans Reddington. They say they would eventually like to offer horse breeding.
Barnes continues to work at Orbis Corporation in Urbana, and Riley owns a painting and sandblasting business, as well as a farm that grows corn, beans, alfalfa, wheat and oats. They have two customers now for the horse stable and hope to attract more customers. For information, call 937-539-3249 or 937-508-8621.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304.