Horsin' around

Oldham County equestrian schools
offer riding lessons for young and old

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

2006 May Kentucky Edition Cover

May 2006 Kentucky
Edition Cover

(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 one.
Troutman is owner and trainer for Windy Meadows stables in Oldham County’s 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 rider.
Offered at Troutman’s 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.

Ellie Troutman

Photo by Helen E. McKinney

Ellie 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 seat.
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 60s.
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.”

Sampling of Area
Equestrian Schools

Over The Top Stables
Goshen, Ky.
Instructor: Traci Coates
(502) 228-5853

Ariatti Equestrian
Skylight, Ky.
Instructor: Angela Ariatti
(502) 643-4936

Windy Meadows
La Grange, Ky. (Esprit)
Instructor: Ellie Troutman
(502) 608-6179

Land's End Farm
Goshen, Ky.
Martha Lambert
(502) 225-4575

Jo Cornell Stables
(American Saddlebred)
Goshen, Ky.
Instructor: Jo Cornell
(502) 241-6150

Hill Country Acres
Crestwood, KY
Instructor: Melissa Baumann
& Meg Purdy
(502) 222-7849; (502) 767-7211

Zumbrod Stables
(American Saddlebred)
Prospect, Ky.
Cindy Zumbrod
(502) 228-3377

Spring Run Farm
Prospect, Ky.
Instructor: Susan Harris
(502) 228-3456

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 Lake Lodge.
Each rider has a different goal, says Angela Ariatti, an instructor-owner of Ariatti Equestrian Services, which operates at Alta Vista Horse Farm in Goshen.
“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. “I’ve 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.
Ariatti’s 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 said.
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.

Sophia McMurray

Photo by Don Ward

Sophia McMurray, 7,
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 aren’t 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 do everything.”
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.

Photo by Don Ward

Over 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 don’t 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.

Jordan Poff

Photos by Don Ward

Jordan Poff, 9, gets
an adjustment from instructor Angela Ariatti during a recent class at Ariatti Equestrian in Skylight, Ky.

“Depending on a person’s individual talents, I match people’s abilities with the horses,” said Cornell. Originally from Muncie, Ind., Cornell has been instructing riders for 40 years.
“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 don’t 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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