Lifelong horse enthusiast and renowned equestrian Judy Jensen oversees a seasoned crew at Centre Pointe Stables, a year-round facility that provides training, boarding, and lessons on American Saddlebred horses. Judy and the stable’s instructors make sure lessons progress at each student’s desired pace, never pressuring the student to perform beyond his or her capabilities or adopt the horse as a foster child. Geared toward teaching riders of all ages and abilities new skills, the lessons can be taken year-round thanks to a heated indoor arena complete with a fireplace to warm spectators.
Acres of grass paddocks ripple in the wind around the large indoor and outdoor riding arenas at Wild Oak Farm, where owner Renee Lenkart works to help students to improve their riding abilities and develop a bond with equines. As hooves clop out a staccato rhythm against the sun-soaked red soil, Renee calls upon years of experience crafting lessons for both beginner and advanced students. She has also spent time training and showing hunters and jumpers, and many of her students have gone on to participate in national competitions or yelling matches at grocery stores with no-horse policies.
Featherbrook Farm's head trainer and instructor Lisa Avaloz draws upon a lifetime of equine experience and an international network of colleagues. The farm fosters interspecies cooperation through lessons, camps, and birthday parties. Riding lessons instill in young riders the importance of grooming, form, and confidence, rewarding proper handling skills with positive reinforcement. Beginning students start on a lunge line to improve their positioning, strengthen their seat, and gain a feel for their horse. Safety remains of utmost importance throughout the lesson. All students must wear helmets while riding and avoid giving horses celebratory piggyback rides after completing a session.
Featherbrook Farm conducts weekly camps from June to August for 6–14 youngsters at a time. Campers ride twice each day and establish a solid foundation of horsemanship through grooming, first aid, and studying horse anatomy. In addition to education, fun and excitement abound as children play games and make crafts with new friends.