County equestrian schools
offer riding lessons for young and old
Helen E. McKinney
(May 2006) A drive down U.S. Hwy. 42 in Oldham
County reveals picturesque green pastures and frolicking colts on any
given spring afternoon. Many of these farms in the Goshen, Ky., area
offer summer riding camps and private lessons that are not only fun
but teach important skills.
Equestrian summer camps can extend what children learn through private
lessons, while teaching them concepts that will stick with them for
a lifetime. Equestrian instructor and trainer Ellie Troutman advises
students to learn as much about horses as they can before getting on
Troutman is owner and trainer for Windy Meadows stables in Oldham Countys
Esprit equestrian center. She has owned the stables jointly with her
husband, Randall Troutman, for the last decade.
Troutman is among a group of stables offereing equestrian classes for
all ages. Some teach hunt seat riding, while others teach riding and
showing American Saddlebred horses.
Troutman has more than 20 years of full-time experience in teaching
students to ride. Originally from the Chicago area, her father trained
circus horses for Barnum & Bailey. Her mother excelled as a hunter-jumper
Offered at Troutmans stable is a comprehensive equine education
as far as everything is concerned. Whether young or old, anyone
with a true willingness to learn can do so, she said.
by Helen E. McKinney
Troutman of Windy Meadows
has been teaching equestrian classes
for 20 years. Her farm is located
in Esprit in Oldham County.
Many instructors might agree that before taking lessons,
students must first decide which type of riding they would like to try
and establish goals. Many offer training in hunter-jumper or saddle
Windy Meadows offers private lessons and riding camps for all ages.
Beginner through advanced sessions are offered, from ages 3 and up.
Troutman even has several ladies that learned to ride while in their
Learning to ride has many life-long benefits. Horses offer unconditional
love and a sense of responsibility, said Troutman. Riding is a
very physical activity.
Windy Meadows is a full-time horse facility, said Troutman. In addition
to offering lessons and riding camps, Troutman also trains horses. Troutman
and her assistants train the majority of horses at Windy Meadows. Her
stables are different because we understand the horses and know
how they were trained.
Instructor: Traci Coates
Instructor: Angela Ariatti
La Grange, Ky. (Esprit)
Instructor: Ellie Troutman
Instructor: Jo Cornell
Instructor: Melissa Baumann
(502) 222-7849; (502) 767-7211
Instructor: Susan Harris
Troutman knows firsthand what she is talking about; she
has shown Arabian horses all over the country. Safety is our focus,
she said. Troutman assembles a show team for her students for local
and national level competitions.
Troutman maintains a non-profit outreach program known as Ellingsworth
Ridge Inc. This program is for children who might not be able to afford
lessons, such as foster children or those who are residents of Cedar
Each rider has a different goal, says Angela Ariatti, an instructor-owner
of Ariatti Equestrian Services, which operates at Alta Vista Horse Farm
We let the customer decide on how he or she wants to experience
the horse, whether it be wanting to compete, to just trail ride or have
fun, Ariatti said.
Ariatti is a certified instructor by the British Horse Society. Ive
always loved horses, she said.
It is this love and understanding of the animals that makes her such
a good instructor, he customers say.
"Angela makes learning fun," said student Jordan Poff, 9.
"I love it."
Ariatti teaches beginning and advanced levels for lessons and summer
camps. Lessons are offered seven days a week along with flexible hours.
Ariattis approach to riding is unique because she stresses how
a horse relates to its rider and their life. We instill safety,
respect and confidence in all our riders through understanding of the
horse, she said.
Ariatti offers a six-week starter program for those who just want
to get a taste of the equestrian life. This program is comprised
of six 45-minute lessons that help you to get familiar with the
horse, ride the horse and learn how to care for the horse, Ariatti
Complete care of the horse is taught to students at all stables. This
enables the rider to become more familiar with the animal and understand
why it reacts in the way it does. Students may learn grooming, how to
work around the horse safely and comfortably, tack-up procedures, mounting,
dismounting and riding techniques.
Ariatti has an indoor and outdoor arena and uses certified instructors.
Two local pony clubs operate from her stables.
by Don Ward
of Prospect, Ky., gets a holster adjustment from
Over the Top Stables instructor Traci Coates.
The stable is in Goshen.
Fear is one goal many riders have to learn to conquer.
Generally, adults face this fear more than children, who arent
held back by their inhibitions, says Traci Coates, owner of Over the
Top Stables. She has found that kids are more brave and want to
Coates holds two different types of summer camps, with an emphasis on
hunt seat riding. A regular session for 6-13 year olds is held, ranging
in ability for the rider who has never ridden before to one with lots
of experience. The students are grouped according to their riding level.
Advanced sessions are offered in the summer, one class running from
9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a second from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. By the end of
the second day, even students who have never ridden before are able
to tackup and groom their horse, said Coates.
I encourage them to do as much as they can on their own,
she said. Coates finds it amazing to see just what the children can
accomplish with little help from her.
A Tots Pony Camp is a unique experience for 3- to 5-year-olds, held
from 9 a.m. until noon for a week. Students ride every day and receive
highly supervised instruction.
Only two riders are permitted on horses at a time so that safety can
be maintained. In this second camp, students are able to paint a pony
and participate in arts and crafts lessons.
Year-round lesson programs are offered, Monday through Saturday, depending
on availability needs. These lessons are more private and can be scheduled
for children or adults.
by Don Ward
the Top Stable's
Traci Coates gives instructions during
a recent class.
Coates said her camp programs teach athletics and balance.
Through her positive way of teaching Coates shows that, I really
care that the kids are learning. But at the same time, I
want them to have fun while instructing them in learning to ride
and horsemanship techniques.
Over the Top Stables on Hwy. 1694 offers an intense program and students
get a lot done in a day, said Coates. She encourages students
to attend summer camps, because there is so much about horses that they
dont learn in lessons.
Teresa Talbott's 7-year-old daughter, Sophia McMurray, has been taking
riding lessons from Coates for the past year. "Traci is great;
she's very patient and leads her students on gradually to the next step,"
said Talbott. "My daughter feels adequately challenged."
One spring camp that Coates offers on Derby weekend is the Oaks and
Derby Down on the Farm Camp. In addition to learning riding techniques,
students can participate in a variety of outdoor activities such as
a hike to Harrods Creek, a pizza party, and sleeping in a barn loft.
Participants can experience this camp for one day or the entire weekend.
Jo Cornell, owner of Jo Cornell Stables on Hwy. 1694 near
Goshen, said camps can provide fun activities that are not normally
offered during lessons. She finds that games bring out the best in kids
and offers a way to teach additional horse-related skills.
Three summer camps are offered in American Saddlebred seat equitation
at her stables. Balance and control are practiced through routines.
Cornell has 12 levels of horses, and children advance to the next level
after mastering certain techniques.
by Don Ward
Poff, 9, gets
an adjustment from instructor Angela Ariatti during a recent class
at Ariatti Equestrian in Skylight, Ky.
Depending on a persons individual talents,
I match peoples abilities with the horses, said Cornell.
Originally from Muncie, Ind., Cornell has been instructing riders for
I like to develop the necessary skills in the first lesson for
safety and control, she said. Cornell stresses pivoting, which
bonds the rider and horse.
She also uses a double saddle in which Cornell or her assistants sit
behind students under 10 year olds as the student learns to trot and
canter. It is important for students to feel the horses movements
and learn that they dont have to turn the animal with the reigns.
Balance is important and can be accomplished by the rider using their
legs more than their hands. I love my job because the kids want
to be here, said Cornell.
She feels a responsibility to the youth of today. Her job is to teach
them to learn skills that make them proud of themselves.
David Bard of Louisville has been bringing his daughter, Morgan, 7,
to Cornell for six months. "The classes have really made my daughter
blossom; she's more outgoing," he said. "And Morgan is eager
to learn. She told Jo to be hard on her. Jo has incredible experience
she's the best teacher Morgan's ever had."
At Land's End Farm on Hwy. 42 in Goshen, Martha Lambert teaches children
and adults. She holds a summer camp for beginners in June, and an advanced
camp in July. The beginner's camp is for ages 6 and up.
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