August 16, 2002
At the Poki Roni
Ranch, in the Kirchner family since 1929, pony rides are a hit during
parties. Brooke Munkres (left) and Pat Kirchner saddle up a pony for a
May 10, 1989
By Emily Jauregui
El Paso Times
Chickens cluck as their chicks are nearly trampled by prancing horses and pecked by peacocks.
But the sights and sounds of farm life at Poki Roni Horse Farm compete with the traffic speeding along Lee Trevino 10 feet away.
A lot of the peaceful charm at the stables, 8409 Bowers, was lost when Lee Trevino was extended from Interstate 10 through the Lower Valley four years ago. But even the street noise hasn’t changed what goes on at the stables.
The farm dates back to the turn of the century. The Poki Roni name, however, did not come until the 1950s.
During the Depression, Christine Bowers, grandmother of current owner Travis Kirchner, was in danger of losing the farm. But then the Radford School for Girls asked Bowers to give students riding lessons.
“It was an answer to a prayer,” said Bowers’ daughter Pat Kirchner, “I was about 8, and the money was really needed. We would charge 25 cents an hour, and most classes lasted two hours. Believe it or not, those 50 cents went a long way.”
One of the students favored a small horse named Roni. The horse was so slow she often scolded him, “Oh, Roni, you’re so pokey.”
The family later adopted the name Poki Roni for the business.
Pat Kirchner’s son, Travis, now oversees the stables. The stables keep 52 horses, including 20 whose owners pay $100 a month to board each horse.
Part of the business still includes giving riding lessons to people age 7 and older.
“We start out with the very basic principles – from touching and approaching the horse to putting on the saddle and bridle and cleaning the hooves. We use the most gentle horses we’ve got for these lessons,” Travis Kirchner said.
He offers beginning, intermediate and advanced lessons. Advanced students compete throughout the nation.
Riding lessons cost $8 for two hours. Horses for children can be rented at $5 for half an hour. The entire stable can be rented for birthday parties, at $8 per child, and the children get to compete in a rodeo in which prizes are awarded.
About 100 people visit the farm every week, and the summer months are the busiest