"Children as young as five years old can learn to ride," says Meaghan Shaffer, president and founder of Stepping Stones Riding Program. "Private lessons will be available for kids and adults year round. No riding experience is necessary."
When Shaffer heard that the YMCA's equestrian facilities were not in use, she contacted the Y and the program was soon created. It officially kicks off when summer camp begins on June 4 with lessons beginning in July. "A lot of children have never been exposed to horses," says Shaffer. "Campers will learn how to brush them and ride them in the arena and along horse trails right at the Y. It will be a great experience."
“The equestrian program is another benefit of Conejo Valley YMCA summer camp," says Meghan Lopez, the Y's youth development director. "The property at the Y lends itself to weeks packed with a variety of adventures. Besides horseback riding and education, we offer a climbing wall, low ropes course, field games, swimming, songs, skits, arts and crafts plus field trips for those enrolled in travel camps. We can promise that every camper will go home each day with a huge smile on their face, stories about their adventures and new found friendships.”
Private lessons are $25 per lesson ($20 for a 10-lesson package) for Y members and $30 per lesson ($25 for a 10-lesson package) for nonmembers. Lessons are conducted by experienced volunteers. Lesson fees go toward feeding the horses and purchasing supplies. "Donations are always welcome for pipe corrals, tack, feed and other items," says Shaffer.
The Conejo Valley YMCA serves Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and Santa Rosa Valley. For more information, go to http://www.sevymca.org/