Peggy and Parry Thomas of Las Vegas, Nevada, have owned the 80-acre property on the Wood River for more than 30 years. They completed construction of River Grove Farm in 1981. Peggy and Parry have a house near the stables and also one in Sun Valley to be near the skiing in winter. Jane and her husband Peter Sturdivant built their home at River Grove in 1996 and live there year-round with her son Christopher Nielson. “It’s a small farm – it’s not a huge riding facility,” explains Jane. “There aren’t going to be many people riding the same time as whoever wins this auction. We usually have one person in the dressage arena at a time because we like it that way. There aren’t other trainers – it’s just us, because it is a small private facility.”
Peggy and Jane Thomas originally rode hunters with Bob and Debbie McDonald in California in the late 1960s. Peggy switched to dressage, and eventually Jane and Debbie did too. Bob, who is still actively involved in the hunter/jumper world, trains hunter riders that trailer in to River Grove for a week or two, and Debbie also periodically has students trailer in for dressage lessons.
||“We have two dressage arenas and one large hunter/jumper ring that we use as well because it occupies a few acres and it’s nice to ride without corners,” explains Jane. “The newest arena we call ‘The Brentina Arena’. We built it specifically for a performance last year that Debbie did with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, which is a 100-piece orchestra. She rode Brentina in a Freestyle. We raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Sun Valley Symphony. It was quite the event – there were almost 800 people here.” The Brentina Arena is an outdoor ring with a two-foot wall around it planted in summer annuals with Carbonit Mountain in the background. Apart from training in a spectacular outdoor arena, the lucky high bidder will also have the opportunity to trail ride in splendor. “We have walking trails that go through the woods and along the river – we usually walk our horses out on these trails after we’re done training. They all have shavings on them for footing. It’s a nice way to cool your horse down after you ride and give him a chance to just be a horse again.” Jane notes that if the rider is a skier, she will most likely choose winter to come to Sun Valley, and that River Grove Farm has a large indoor arena.
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