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Down On The Farm With CJ’s Stables

by Ruth Ann Ruiz
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By Ruth Ann Ruiz

The Post Newspaper Features Editor

There’s Sarge, Sugar, Buddy, Cisco, Bert, Eeyore, and Coco, who looks like a cup of hot chocolate, and Punk Rocker the rooster, along with a bunch of newborn kids and adult goats along with some geese, hens, more roosters, rabbits, fish, barnyard cats, a pet dog, a lamb who has hair—not wool — and Piglet too. These are only some of the many animals at CJ’s Stables.

Eeyore is a swaybacked donkey and has been called on to serve as the donkey at Arcadia First Baptist Church’s live Nativity show. Eeyore is growing in his popularity and has participated in Palm Sunday processions. reports Cathy Morrison, owner of CJ’s Stables. 

CJ stands for Christ Jesus. “Jesus was born in a stable and that’s why I named my stables CJ’s to represent Christ Jesus and his humble birth,” Cathy explained.

As a devout Christian woman, Cathy doesn’t preach her values. She said she believes her actions should show others Christ within her. A Gospel radio station is playing at her stables, and she is willing to share her faith but not to push it on people. 

She runs a business providing pony rides and up-close petting time with her animals. She takes her animals on the road to churches, schools, private parties, and various other public events. 

CJ’s stables i also a place where parents can host birthday parties or bring their children out for pony rides and plenty of animal petting time.

The Learning Chanel’s “Out Daughtered” came to her farm once and, Ava, one of the quintuplets had her chance to ride on a pony, Cisco was the chosen one. 

Cathy has turned 4.8 acres of land in Santa Fe into a mini farm. 

“It’s been 20 years in the works,” shared Cathy as she pointed to the pond designed to have a beach-like slope. “It starts at 2 feet and goes to 18 feet deep,” she shared. “At the bottom is a spring so the water feels cool closer to the bottom” she explained.

The pond is a place where horses can get in and cool off in the hot Texas summer. There is a land bridge which connects the sloping pond to another pond, and there are drainage ditches. Cathy reports she dug all the drainage ditches. One of her sons-in-law dug out the ponds.

The small barnyard animals are kept up at the front of the property, where they have room to roam around and enjoy chomping on the grass. 

While Cathy cleans out the goat stalls, some of the kids take off following their mother. Others stay behind and can be head from a distance calling out what sounds like “maaama.” Then when mama goat hears the rustling of what might be a feed bag, the “maaama” sound gets louder and a group of kids led by a couple grown goats come around the corner. 

Taking her show of animals out to the public and bringing in clients for pony rides is what Cathy explains pays the bills. The business allows her the opportunity to provide at a very low cost horse riding and husbandry lessons to students. 

While Cathy does her farm chores in the morning and the evening, students and their parents come out on the farm to ride horses and learn how to care for a horse. One of the favorites for the students is Buddy. 

Buddy, Cathy shared, is a horse that came with the property and has been living on the property most of his life. Buddy is a gentle horse, she reports. 

Gabriella and her mom enjoy their time at the farm. In fact, they enjoy it so much they lose track of time. Mom and daughter learn skills such as how to keep the horse equipment in good working order and how to make sure the saddle is secure on Buddy’s back. 

“Cathy is very good with special-needs students,” shared Gabriella’s mom. (Gabriella is special-needs student) 

The family started bringing their daughter from Dickinson in November 2022. 

“She was pestering me for months and months that she wanted to ride horses,” added her mom.

The family is so pleased with their daughter’s time at the stables, they donate their mowing services (courtesy of their business, afamilylawnservice.com) to the stables in exchange for her riding time. 

For ongoing students, Cathy charges $20 a session for horse rental. If someone becomes experienced enough and wants to come frequently, she offers a $100 a month fee for unlimited time riding and caring for the animals. She does not charge for her teaching services.

The property is designed for student riders to gain horseback riding skills. The back area with the ponds has several obstacles. There are logs laid out so that the rider will ride parallel to the logs and learn to make turns. There are mounds of dirt for practicing going up and down a little hill. Cathy points out the obstacles as she explains their purpose.

Learning how to ride a horse and care for animals isn’t done without a parent being engaged at CJ’s Stables. 

“I believe it should be all about family,” explained Cathy. “I’m not a trainer, I don’t profess to be one, I teach the fundamentals of horse care, to parents and their children. 

She didn’t grow up on a farm, but she did grow up in Nebraska and has down-home country living in her blood. Plus, she has the heart of giving to others instilled in her by her father, who was once an Executive Director for Goodwill. 

He comes out and helps on the farm. At 89 years old, he can sit on his walker and dig fence holes. He gets on the tractor and heads out to the ponds to make sure the fish are fed. If the task can be done with him sitting down, he is up for doing the job. 

Cathy raised six children and home-schooled all of them. She and is proud to say she and her husband have 19 grandchildren.

 She lives with her husband, Rick in a small house on the farm. The couple has been married for several decades, and though Cathy’s husband, is not, as she put it, a “farmy person,” he supports her in her endeavors. 

“He works hard at UTMB, and he cooks a lot for me,” Cathy says with a slight smile as she finally sits to chat for a bit. 

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