is a community set on the edge of the Palouse country as Idaho begins its climb to the Rocky Mountains. In 2017, 508 residents support a fire station, Fuzzy's Tavern, a part-time thrift store, a post office, and The Pie Safe Bakery and Kitchen located in a
renovated 1920s building. A body shop, mechanic and tire shop, and a combo hardware/chainsaw/riding mower shop, as well as a gas station with a convenience store complete the picture. Tall, straight, lodgepole pines ramble over the rolling hills, creeks meander through meadows rife with edible roots of cous and camas, and cattle move steadily along their summer trails. It's a quiet place on the way to other, even smaller communities.
Fifty years ago Deary was even quieter. The population of 350 residents benefitted from two other gas stations, the Deary Mercantile, affectionately known as the "Merc," and Fuzzy's Tavern. Fuzzy's had the only public phone. Land sold for $50.00 an acre. Winter boasted more snow and spring brought copious rains and generous amounts of mud that slowly progressing to dust in July.
Never overgrazing, watchful of fires, and conscious of his debt to nature for her bounty, George Hatley and his wife, Iola, ran cattle on his 5,000 acre summer ranch. George, a life-long horseman, was known as Mr. Appaloosa for his efforts to preserve and promote the Appaloosa Breed.
Betty Tukey, the driving force behind the Palouse Hills Pony Club, arrived in Pullman in 1966. Within a year she located a barn, re-established an official chapter of Pony Club, and began giving group lessons to young boys and girls. Craig, George and Iola's son, became a member of the new pony club. Children 'shared' horses, tack, board and even boots. But Betty had an even bigger dream; a place where kids and horses could camp and compete in Pony Club team competitions that include dressage, stadium jumping, cross country jumping, and stable management.
In the summer of 1967, everything changed.
George Hatley took Betty and a group of ladies on a trail ride on his summer ranch. Unlike his usual trail mates, the women arrived with English saddles and wearing tall boots. The ladies passed muster, sharing their picnic basket, closing all the gates, and packing out any litter they brought in. At George's invitation Betty Tukey and the Palouse Hills Pony Club were welcomed to Deary. A fifty year tradition began.
The first year, there were 5 teams. Each team had 5 members - 4 riders and a stable manager. They competed on a stadium course and in a dressage arena that shared the same downhill slope, as well as cross country jumps that sported a creative jumble of deadfall, lopped branches and chainsaw surgery.
On George's summer ranch, horses were "stabled" in the woods on the East side of the creek, tied to trees, put in pole corrals (small trees tied to bigger ones) built by the pony clubbers, or secured on overhead pickets. Tack and equipment were stored in tents. Water was hauled by the bucket from the water truck (no running water was available) and hay was stored in a corral by the creek. Toilet facilities were limited to the Deary John, an outhouse. There was no electricity.
Children did not participate unless their parents volunteered to help. Parents were segregated on the West side of the creek and could only visit the teams between 4 & 5 PM. While kids learned how to ride and care for their horses, parents did all the volunteer jobs (organizing, cooking, building jumps and outhouses, painting and taking the kids to Boulder Creek to swim). Volunteers and generous farm families provided farm equipment and worked together, applying elbow grease and determination as they cleared brush, built corrals, and toiled endlessly to transform the ranch into a rally site.
Much of what was accomplished over the years would not have been possible without the generous loan of equipment from many farm families, including the Hatleys, Swensons, Druffles, Rockhills, the Jack Fulfs and Bob Fulfs families, as well as the Tomsons, Clydes, Fosbergs, Randall Jack, and Bill Anderson, Sr, and Doyles.
Deary became the "place to go" in June and over the 4th of July. In the following decades the dressage arena was moved to the top of the hill and enlarged. Cross country courses were designed to go beyond the original ninety "front acres" and the jumps became more varied and substantial. Beautiful stadium jumps were built and decorated.
In 1970, an additional outhouse, Helmer House was added, as well as a shower, the Bare Den, and an old blue trailer that became the Cook Shack. By the 80's a well, electricity, and a telephone were added to the amenities.
Eventually, the horse corrals were upgraded to railroad ties and pipes.
In 1975, former riders who had outgrown Pony Club and other adults who wanted to be part of the fun and learning formed the Inland Empire Dressage & Combined Training Association. They organized Cross Country schoolings, Horse Trials and Adult Camps.
Some summers saw upwards of 100 participants, donned in brightly colored saddle pads and pinneys, galloping over the hills and through the trees. The jumps were, and still are solid, safe, inviting, and attractive, beckoning riders to face their inner dragons and achieve their personal best. In 2001 the Hatleys generously built an A-frame building with a commercial kitchen, a large covered eating area, and 2 bedrooms and bath to replace the cook shack and an old sleeping trailer.
More recently the Hatleys added a shower house (4 showers, 4 toilets, hot & cold running water) up on the hill and conveniently near the dressage arena and additional upgrades to the property. Now there are a few camper hookups, gravel for the roads, two dressage arenas - both flat and sufficient flat space for stadium jumping up on the hill.
There have been years of endless rain, 100 degree heat, as well as unending water and mud. The parents change, kids grow up, horses get traded around, and past participants bring their children for the "Deary" experience.
George is no longer with us, but his wife, Iola, and son, Craig, continue their generous, enthusiastic support of the on-going programs. Betty, with two artificial knees and two artificial hips, soldiers on. The grounds are overseen by the Hatley Horse Council which has representatives from Paradise Creek Pony Club (PCPC), PD&E, and other local organizations, such as 4H,the Appaloosa Foundation, and the Back Country Horsemen, who also use this unique facility.
Together Paradise Creek Pony Club (formerly the Palouse Hills Pony Club) and PD&E focus their activities to help the Hatleys and the Hatley Horse Council maintain the property, the traditions, the fun and the comradery of the Deary grounds. Our goal is to continue these programs so that children and adults can continue to make happy memories and have fun while engaging safely in a variety of horse activities.
And every June, it's time for Deary!