July 2, 2010 / By Shari Stern / Photos by Nancy Black
CELEBRATING > 50 YEARS IN WHITE ROCK
Still hoofin’ in Lake Highlands after 61 years
Tex Oddson, Jr. owns 14-acre White Rock Stables just north of Flag Pole Hill.
Growing up in White Rock meant hayrides for many occasions − school picnics, birthday parties, July 4th celebrations − and how especially exciting those got to be in junior high and high school! For many of us, horseback riding at Flagpole Hill was another fun pastime we enjoyed regularly.
White Rock Stables provided us with those memorable times, and is still serving the area. While renting horses for riding and hayrides are no longer available due to insurmountable liability rates, the beautiful 14-acre ranch near Flag Pole Hill and within a mile north of White Rock Lake, remains very much in business after 61 years. It is a serene, pastoral oasis, well separated from the surrounding residential neighborhoods, schools, heavy traffic, highway construction and general chaos of the city.
Texas M. Oddson, Sr. and his wife, Louise McCamy Oddson, purchased the land from Dallas County in 1948. The property was outside the Dallas city limits then. Oddson hailed from Minnesota’s twin cities and, at the age of 16, was on his way to California to train Arabian Horses when he discovered he liked it in Dallas and chose to stay. He went to work training thoroughbreds and jumpers at Moss Haven Farm on Greenville Avenue across from the Royal Parks Country Club, which is now a residential community. Louise and her mother were cooks at Moss Haven Farm when she and Texas met and were married.
On Tex Oddson’s 14-acre White Rock Stables white peacocks roam the serene, pastoral oasis that feels far away from city life. Some people believe that to see a white peacock brings eternal happiness.
Oddson opened White Rock Stables in 1948, when he began boarding services, while offering horse rentals and horse-driven wagon hayrides. The couple had two sons, Terry and Texas, Jr. “Growing up I had a lot of work, but it was fun, and good exercise,” Tex shares. “My brother and I worked seven days a week when we weren’t in school. We worked with the horses, maintained the barn, the fences and we mowed the grass. It was clean living.” Tex says the family didn’t have air conditioning, like many homes in the White Rock neighborhoods that were surrounded by the area’s mature trees. They cooled the house with a traditional attic fan with the windows open. In that regard, it was like “country living.” The young rancher attended Richardson High School, which served Lake Highlands residents at that time.
Tex was drafted in 1967 to the Infantry and served in Vietnam. He returned in 1968 and was out of the military in 1969. He went to work for the president of J.C. Penney, who boarded horses with his family, as the manager at the Irving Mall store. Tex likes to tell this story: “One day, before Christmas, I wore a scarf with my suit in place of a tie. The ladies loved it, and bought them like crazy. The store sold more scarves than in its history. I was just doing my own thing.”
After Tex’s dad had surgery at the end of 1970, Tex went to work with him at the stables until his death in 1994. Tex’s mom passed away six years earlier. Today, Tex, who owns the land and stables with his brother, runs the business while living in his childhood home. His brother, Terry, is a recently retired radiologist in Little Rock, Arkansas.
White Rock Stables currently boards 22 horses, though it has the capacity to board up to 45. Tex believes the economy has caused the drop in numbers. The full-care stables provides private boarding, indoor stabling, outdoor gelding turnouts with shelter and turn-out service. Also available are three riding arenas, an open jump field, 24-hour security gates and locked tack rooms. There is 24-hour on-property staff, high-quality coastal hay and ample trailer parking.
Tex enjoys spending time with his pets: his dog, Dooley, and two miniature horses. His black and white miniature stallion is a 22-year-old national grand champion Roadster Desert Shadows Renegade. “I’ve had him since he was 1½ years old. He’s very laid back and easy going.” Buffy, Renegade’s daughter, is Tex’s 10-year-old miniature horse.
Tex says his favorite thing about his business is the horses, and he enjoys knowing the boarders’ families. “It’s very good therapy.” He says he has no plans of retiring or going anywhere else. “I’ll be here for a very long time.”
The hard-worker says his hobbies are his horses — and his 1962 red-on-red Corvette convertible. “I’ve owned it almost 25 years. I’m only the second owner, and it has less than 63,000 miles on it. Everything on it is original, except I added Vietnam Vet plates.” When asked what his biggest challenges are, Tex replies, “I don’t have any.” Apparently this entrepreneur is doing many things right!
White Rock Lake Weekly salutes Tex Oddson and White Rock Stables for 61 years of doing things right in and around White Rock Lake.