ABOUT THE EQUESTRIAN CENTER
Mackinac Horsemen's Association
Mackinac Community Equestrian Center
The Mackinac Community Equestrian Center (MCEC) is nestled away on a beautiful 3.5 acre site on the back half of Mackinac Island. The facility is located across from historic Wawashkamo Golf Course and only a short distance from British Landing.
The land is leased to the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association for a nominal fee per year from Mackinac State Historic Parks. While looking for a new home for the MHA barn (previously located on Mission Hill downtown), the MSHP was generous enough to offer this lovely piece of land, adjacent to the island trails. Previously, this location was the site of the 160 acre Douseman/Early family farm, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) camp, and a sand pit/landfill. (The complex to the east of the property is the City of Mackinac Island Solid Waste/Recycle Facility).
Started in early April of 2011, the stable is by Wick Buildings, built by Mystic Meadows Construction, the stalls are by Classic Equine and the beechwood flooring is from Maples Saw Mill in the UP. The landscaping was done by island resident Jack Barnwell & Barnwell Landscape and Design. The stable was designed to allow maximum air circulation, open site lines and wood flooring, all for the comfort of our horses, currently there are 13 box stalls, 7 turnout paddocks, a working round pen, and 100’ x 200’ arena. The front entry and office welcomes guests into the Mackinac Museum of the Horse honoring our location on the Dousman/Early Farm, our equestrian heritage and our many great horses throughout the ages. Anna May Timmons Learning Center dedicated in 2017, includes several flat screen monitors, seating for up to 50 and an equestrian educational book collection. The room is available to be leased for events, clinics and other equine-related activities.
The 100’ x 200 outdoor arena is filled with natural sand that was found when the property was first being constructed. An archeologist was onsite for every post hole dug on the property, no artifacts of significance were found mainly due to the fact the property was farmed. This sand was originally part of the Island's ancient shoreline as the glaciers receded. Our friends at the Solid Waste Facility sometimes come over and donate their time to help us maintain the vegetation-free sand. It is truly a community facility! The arena is used for lessons, speed and action events, carriage driving courses and competitions, jumping and flatwork clinics, and horse shows.
The three-bedroom caretaker’s cottage was also built in 2011 and houses our wonderful MCEC team.
The wooden turn-out fencing was installed in 2013 by a group of volunteers. All of our horses get to be outside for the majority of the day and/or night—where they are happiest.
We love visitors at MCEC! Please stop by when you are on the island!
Mackinac Horsemen's Association
est 1998 a 501(c)(3) organization
History of the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association
In 1977 Mary Milton passed on the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association legacy to Leanne Brodeur, Trish Martin, Barb Fisher, Candice Dunnigan, Brenda Bunker, Melinda Porter, and the Gough family, who had been involved in the annual horse show for many years. In 1979, Mary Milton campaigned to finance the building of a permanent riding and show ring at Great Turtle Park. Prior to the ring at GTP a snow fence, erected at various locations had served as the annual horse show arena.
Off and on, since 1972, Ms. Brodeur taught lessons to anyone with a horse and begged, borrowed or “stole” horses for those who didn’t. Jack’s, Cindy’s and Chamber’s Riding Stables allowed her to borrow horses after business hours for lessons a couple of days a week.
As the decades wore on there were fewer private horses on the Island mainly due to lack of stables to keep horses. Because of this many of the Island’s summer and year round children were no longer able to grow up having their own pony or learning about horsemanship as the previous generation had, thanks to Mary Milton’s lessons.
In 1997, Ms. Brodeur formed the Mackinac 4-H Horse Clubs with an enthusiastic group of Island kids and became a 4-H Leader through the Mackinac County MSU Extension. They named their clubs Giddy Up & Go for 5 to 8 yr. olds and the Galloping Gliders for 9 to 18 yr. olds.
Now we had the kids, but no horses for them to ride.
Brodeur conceived a program whereby she would act as an agent to find horses for adults and families to lease for the summer; hence the MHA Lease-A-Horse and Share-A-Lease programs.
Now we had the kids and the horses, but no place to stable the horses.
Ms. Brodeur had in mind a stable which had been sitting empty for a couple of years. After conferring with a number of local horse people about her plan, she approached the owner of Mission Point Resort John Shufelt in the fall of 1997 to ask about his unused stable on Mission Hill. Ms. Brodeur asked if he would consider leasing it for a home for the lesson horses, he not only agreed to lease the stable for $1.00 per year, but generously offered to pay the utilities so that she could begin her program. The plan was that horses could be leased by individuals and housed at the Mission Hill stable with the understanding that in return for stable space, the horses could be used by Ms. Brodeur for lessons a certain number of hours per week for lessons for 4-H members. In the spring of 1998, Ms. Brodeur asked several community horse people to come together and formally revive the former Mackinac Island Horsemen’s Association into a committee which became the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association.
From 1998 until 2004 the MHA was considered a committee of M.I.R.D. with a separate
account and filing taxes under M.I.R.D.’s 501(c)(3) status. Ms. Brodeur wrote the first
grant to the Mackinac Island Community Foundation for scholarships for financial
assistance for lessons that same year.
During this period a number of changes occurred, the program grew and more events
were added. In addition, the riding ring at Great turtle Park had to be moved to another
part of the Park to make way for a soccer field. This was accomplished with the help the
help of about thirty volunteers. Also, with no advance notice the Mission Hill Stable was
sold in two parcels to the Chambers and Bensers, who have generously allowed MHA to
remain and continue the program. It then became evident that the MHA needed to begin
it’s search for a new home and form it’s own non-profit corporation. In doing so, the
original committee members took on the role of fundraisers and overseers of the already established MHA and Ms. Brodeur took on the position of Executive Director.
In 2004 the MHA applied for non-profit status which was approved in 2006. That same year an Ad Hoc Committee was formed to start exploring options for a location for the MHA - 4-H stable.
In 2005 the MHA officially endorsed a Community Stable Committee to work with
private and public options for a new location. This committee is comprised of community members from all areas of interest, brought together to preserve the horse culture on the Island through the construction of a public stable for the 4-H program horses and others in the community to stable their horse and provide equine educational opportunities for all.
In 2006 the need for a new stable became even more urgent, as one of the two lots, which comprised the Mission Hill Stable, was being developed for three homes. Construction of the first home was completed in 2007. A number of private properties have been investigated and discussions with the Mackinac Island State Park Commission have ensued. Several explored options have fallen through and at this time the Mackinac
Community Stable committee is negotiating with the Mackinac Island State Park
Commission on the lease of a piece of property located on British Landing Road across
from Wawashkamo Golf Club.
MHA and MIRD
The Mackinac Horsemen’s Association is indebted to the Mackinac Island Recreational
Development, Inc.(MIRD)for their many years of supporting the annual horse show with their volunteer time, allowing the MHA committee to shelter under their 501(c))(3) status, and on continuing to help maintain the horse ring at Great Turtle Park.
Original MHA Committee Members
June 3, 1998
Mrs. Candice Dunnigan, Ms. Patricia Martin, Mrs. Penny Barr, Mrs. Jodi Gough, Mrs.
Cynthia Gough, Ms. Denise Romano, Mrs. Marta Olson, Mr. Brad Chambers, Ms.
Leanne Brodeur, Consultant/Director
Founding Board of the Mackinac Horsemen’s Association
November 12th, 2004
Candice Dunnigan, Chairperson
Cathy Arbib, Vice Chairperson
Michelle Stuck, Treasurer
Patricia Martin, Secretary
Lin Sheppard, Corresponding Secretary
Leanne Brodeur, Executive Director/Consultant
Articles of Incorporation
November 12th, 2004
Mackinac 4-H Horse Clubs - Original Members 1997 - 2000
Leanne Brodeur, Barb Fisher, Jodi Barna - 4-H Leaders
Jeanne Kolatski - Junior Leader
Galloping Gliders(9 to 18 yr. olds)
Katie and Suzanne Porter
Claire and James Dunnigan
Woody and Blisse Beardsley
Nicole and Natalie Hribar
Tabitha and Stephanie Ratchford
Emily St. Onge
Giddy up & Go(5 to 8 yr. olds)
Laurel and Graham Young
Audrey and Emily Benjamin
Darcy and Morgan Brodeur-Bunker
Audra and Zola Murray
Our Mission Statement
The Mackinac Horsemen’s Association, in recognition of the unique ordinance of 1898 banning the “horseless” carriage on Mackinac Island, is dedicated to the promotion, education and future of horses and horsemanship on Mackinac Island and throughout the State of Michigan. Inspiring an appreciation of why the "Horse is King" on Mackinac Island.