by Diane Rumbaugh
Conejo Valley YMCA campers who enroll in Conejo YMCA summer camp will have the opportunity to learn about, care for and ride specially-trained horses as part of their summer camp experience. Private lessons are also available to the community. The equestrian program is a partnership between the Conejo Valley YMCA and the nonprofit Stepping Stones Riding Program.
“Children as young as five years old can learn to ride,” said Meaghan Shaffer, lead instructor and founder of Stepping Stones Riding Program. “Small group lessons in English and western styles are available for kids and adults year round. The lessons are conducted in the arena and out on trails. No riding experience is necessary.”
Stepping Stones Riding Program offers extra hours for riding during the summer and is open seven days a week. There is also an equestrian camp offered this summer. Equestrian campers ride twice daily and have a schedule filled with horse crafts and barn fun.
“The equestrian program is another benefit of Conejo Valley YMCA summer camp,” said Haley Swenson, the Y’s youth and aquatics 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 camp. Every camper will go home each day with a huge smile on their face, stories about their adventures and new found friendships.”
Small group 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 staff. Lesson fees go toward feeding the horses and purchasing supplies. “Donations are always welcome for pipe corrals, tack, feed and other items,” said Shaffer.
The Conejo Valley YMCA serves Thousand Oaks, Moorpark and Santa Rosa Valley. For more information, go to http://www.sevymca.org/conejo/, call 805-523-7613 or email Stepping Stones Riding Program at [email protected].