The Faces of Lake Country: Mary Jane Swedberg

Meet Mary Jane Swedberg! Mary Jane owns Hoof Beats Express, which offers horse drawn services featuring stately dapple grey and white Percheron draft horses escorting antique and modern carriages, sleighs and wagons. Hoof Beats Express is located a few hundred yards north of Hwys. P and CW in Mapleton.

Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “From a very young age, I always wanted to own my own business and I loved horses, so this is a natural extension of that. I grew up on a farm, but didn’t have horses.  I used to harness and ride the fences pretending to be riding a horse, so my parents decided to buy me one.

Also, I always wanted to go out west on a wagon train.  I made the trip to Montana, drove horses and fell in love.  It just snowballed from there.  And I get to be with horses all day and share my love with others.  My husband, Bob, went with me to a driving school in Iowa. We learned to drive one, two, three, four and six horses.  Hoof Beats owns several themed carriages for community events, and we even have a hearse.”

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Lake Country, and what do you love there?
A: “I like Grill 164 for their fish fries, and Sobie’s for their salmon.”

Q. How long have you lived or worked in Lake Country?
A. “We’ve lived in this home for 42 years, which was a cornfield when we bought the land.”

Q. Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Lake Country?
A. “Chuck Herro, who was an attorney in Oconomowoc.”

Q. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
A. “I’d like to go to Machu Picchu, Peru to visit the Sacred Door in the mountains.”

Q. What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A. “My first movie in a theatre was with my cousin, it was ‘The Sea Chase’ starrring John Wayne and Lana Turner.”

Q. What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A. “I would say to maintain their connection to the environment.”

Q. What is your favorite music?
A. “Smooth jazz.”

Q. What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Lake Country?
A. “I miss May Garden Center, I am a master gardener.”

Q. Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative, with whom would you love to have lunch? Where in Lake Country would you have lunch?
A.”I’d choose Lisa See, author of ‘The Island of Sea Women’. Which is a story about female divers in Korea who harvest from the sea that I’m reading now. I’d like to meet Lisa at Bella Gusto.”

Q.What is your favorite thing or something unique about Lake Country?
A. “Our Lakes, the variety and individual culture that each one has.”

Q. Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?
A. “Still here, doing what I am doing.”

Q. Even for friends or family, what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A. “Possessing the desire to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, which a friend and I did last year. We stayed in a tent together for 9 days!”

Q. What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A. “Family, comfort and love.”

Q. If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A. “Tom Hanks or Dustin Hoffman.”

The Faces of Lake Country is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured, please click the button below. Interview by Dani Austin-Rauch.


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