News

Office saves on gas by riding horseback to work

Dentist Dr. Keith Leonard and his staff complete their roughly hour-long ride from his home on King-Thompson Road to his office on Smokey Point Boulevard, June 25. -
Dentist Dr. Keith Leonard and his staff complete their roughly hour-long ride from his home on King-Thompson Road to his office on Smokey Point Boulevard, June 25.
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SMOKEY POINT Dr. Keith Leonard knew that at least half of his employees own horses, so the dentist and his staff resolved that if gas prices ever went to $4 a gallon, they would ride horseback to work.
On the morning of June 25, Leonard and his staff kept their word, as six employees, three children of employees and one additional helper rode horseback from Leonards home on King-Thompson Road to his office on Smokey Point Boulevard, joined by two bicycle riders.
Theyll be able to eat the grass here, said Leonard after his roughly hour-long ride, as the 10 horses were led into pens that had been put up that morning and the previous evening, just across the street from his office. One horse galloped quickly around the pens a couple of times, but was soon brought back under control.
Our employees own a lot of horses, so we had plenty of extra, he added. He had to borrow a horse himself, even though he used to ride a lot.
Leonard was gratified by the response his ride received from both passersby and the city of Arlington itself.
We had to declare ourselves a parade to get a permit to ride in the city, but they were nice enough to do that for us, Leonard said. All the people we passed were polite. Drivers slowed down and residents came out of their homes to wave at us.
Dental assistant Kari Alskog lent her horses out to her coworkers for the ride, and her children looked after the horses in their pens during the work day. She echoed Leonards assessment of the ride.
People were clapping for us, and said they heard about our ride on the radio, said Alskog, whose children go to school in Arlington, but who lives in Stanwood. Wed never done this before.
Front office worker Shelli Churchill also owns a number of horses, and admitted that transporting her familys horses to riding trails can incur its own gas expenses. However, shes found an economical and environmentally friendly solution.
I have a four-horse trailer, so whenever we go riding, we try and pick up other riders to get that trailer filled, Churchill said. Instead of carpooling, its horse-pooling.
The ride required Leonard to cancel a few morning appointments, but he normally opens the office an hour later than usual on Wednesdays during the summer. He feels so strongly about adopting alternative methods of transportation that hes willing to recognize patients who are willing to do the same.
Anybody who walks, bikes, or rides a bus or a horse in to my office, in the month of July, will receive a free Commuter Challenge T-shirt, Leonard said. Especially with nice weather in the summer, its fun to try different modes of transportation.
Leonards office is located in Suite 101 at 17432 Smokey Point Blvd. in Arlington. For more information, call 360-659-8406.

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