Walking along the 14 acres of land off of Lanshire Drive behind Flag Pole Hill, Amelita Facchiano explains the spiritual connection between humans and horses.
“I consider White Rock Stables a unique destination for healing with your horse, because no matter what has happened to you in your life, just to be able to be out here in the peace and quiet with your horse, just helps you heal your heart and your soul, and regenerate your mind,” she says.
The White Rock Stables, which is a private establishment, has been in Lake Highlands since the early 1900s, started by the Oddson family. The property is still owned by the family but is now managed by Facchiano, who has held close ties with the stable and Oddsons for 45 years.
“It’s kinda the best kept secret in Dallas,” she says.
Facchiano has a doctorate degree in microbiology specializing in equine science and works at the Lone Star Park Equine Hospital. She has dedicated a very large part of her life to taking care of the stables, putting time and money of her own into renovating the land to keep it thriving.
“I’m here for the love of the horse and the passion of keeping the Oddson legacy alive,” she says.
All buildings on the land are original to the property, including the main barn and the first home of the family, which Facchiano plans to turn into a chapel.
The neighborhood stable boards around 25 horses owned by families all over Dallas.
“We provide for people the simple basics on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: food, clothing, shelter,” Facchiano says.
They also have trainers who help riders care for horses and prepare them for shows on the stables’ training fields. The horses are also taken on trails around Lake Highlands, such as White Rock Lake Trail and they often frequent the lake.
When visiting White Rock Stables, with its “bucolic ambiance,” it’s easy to forget it is located in Lake Highlands, Facchino says.
“Each and every time you cross that hallowed threshold where the gate is, you can actually feel yourself slipping into a spiritual space, and the second you drive out, you’re gonna feel yourself back out in the real world,” she says. “You are exactly 10 miles from downtown Dallas, but you don’t hear traffic, and we’re very well insulated.”
What those around the stables do hear are neighs and trotting of horses along with the squawks of neighborhood peacocks.
These exotic birds were given more than 50 years ago and live off the land, roaming freely, often spending time on Eagle Trail, a residential street that backs up to the stables. They are not bred or directly fed because the stables like to focus on naturalism and conservation.
“We don’t want to force them into any existence, so they are here because they want to be here,” Facchiano says.
Two new additions to the land are rescue mules, Ricky and Lucy, who have been drawing attention to the stables.
Neighbors and passersby have looked after the animals and stables, often checking in on them and extending efforts to help when there is property construction to be done.
“That’s the way White Rock Valley Neighborhood Association is. They’re very loving and giving to us and we want to maintain our property in a way that’s commensurate to being worthy of being here for decades to come,” she says.
One of the next steps for the White Rock Stables is to earn a historical marker. This will make it open to the public and allow those interested to visit and learn more about its history and horses.
“In our endeavoring to that, we can be more of a service to the community,” Facchiano says.