Real People. Stihl People.

Rural Missouri Magazine
A bridled passion
Harry and Anne Weber share a love of horses

by Bob McEowen

Among sculpture enthusiasts and art-conscious sports fans Harry Weber is known as a gifted artist. But in certain circles, particularly among show jumpers and fox hunting equestrians, the artist may be better known as Anne Weber’s husband.

Anne Weber jumps her horse “Red Roof” during practice at Bridlespur Hunt Club. Anne earns her living developing horses for show jumping.

When Harry and Anne met she was the “huntsman” for Bridlespur Hunt, an upscale horse club near New Melle in St. Charles County. Anne lived at the club, organizing fox hunts and caring for the horses and grounds. Harry worked as a “whipper-in,” helping the huntsman contol the hounds as they pursued foxes and coyotes across thousands of acres of Missouri countryside.

The couple’s relationship grew as they rode and worked together. Harry and Anne were married in 1985. Since then the couple has grown two businesses — Harry’s art and Anne’s horses. “When we were starting out Anne was basically keeping us alive,” Harry says.

Now 49, Anne has competed professionally at the grand prix level of show jumping, the highest echelon of an arena sport that grew out of steeplechase. Although she trained riders in the past, today Anne’s specialty is finding promising horses and teaching them to jump.

Harry helps Anne unload hay at the couple's home. The Webers recently sold a 130-acre horse farm with indoor training facilities and bought a home near Foristel.

“I beat the bushes. I hear about them through the grapevine. I read the classified ads. I buy the inexpensive thoroughbreds off the racetrack that are still sound and remake them into show jumping horses,” Anne says.

“My niche and what I do best is to recognize which ones have talent and which ones don’t. Hopefully I sell them to the right people.”

Until recently Harry and Anne lived on a 130-acre horse farm near Bowling Green. There, Anne raised as many as 18 horses at a time and worked them in an indoor arena. Three months ago they moved into a new home, with smaller horse facilities, near Foristell.

There, closer to the Bridlespur Hunt club and, more importantly nearer to aging parents, Harry and Anne have begun to downsize their horse operation, concentrating on just one or two horses at a time. Currently, Anne is training “Red Roof,” a horse she hopes develop and sell to a rider who can take him to the grand prix level.

“I have to hope that if I keep him for three years he’ll be worth $50,000,” she says. “That’s what I hope he’s worth. He hasn’t told me he’s not.”

Harry and Anne share a love of horses. Both participate in fox hunts and she trains horses for show jumping.

Ultimately, her sights are set higher. “My dream is to someday start one that goes onto the Olympics,” she says.

For Harry, riding offers a taste of the immortality he brings to his subjects.

“I do sculptures of people who have done things. Most of the time physical things,” Harry says. “This is the physical thing that I do.

“They’re obviously two different activities,” he says. “My work is the legacy and the quiet part of my life. The horses are the excitement, the thing that doesn’t endure except in my memory.”

 

Rural Missouri December 2014
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