March 29, 2010 -- Young foals romping with their moms. A free ride on a gentle, fuzzy pony. A blacksmith forging new footwear for an accomplished dressage horse. The perfect weekend for families comes together April 24 and 25 during the Pennsylvania Equestrian Horse Farms Open House, a free, self-guided tour of professional stables that are open to the public only one weekend a year.
Sixteen stables in Adams. Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, Lehigh, Perry, Schuylkill, and York Counties in eastern Pennsylvania will swing open their barn doors and welcome visitors with tours, demonstrations, pony rides, sample riding lessons, discounts and more on Saturday, April 24 from 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday, April 25 from 11 am to 4 pm. The event, which caters to both experienced horse owners and families looking for a spring outing in the country -- one that costs no more than lunch money -- allows visitors to learn an amazing amount about horses, their uses and care, and ways to get involved with them close to home.
The southeastern quadrant of Pennsylvania, where most of the Open House stables are located, is horse country, home to many of America's most prestigious equestrian events and to more than 85,000 horses, from Olympic medalists to family pets. A study completed by Penn State in 2003 showed that horses are a $10 billion industry in Pennsylvania, centered in the area the Open House covers.
The Open House includes farms specializing in hunters, jumpers, dressage, eventing, western pleasure, trail riding, halter and showmanship, racing, gaming, driving, barrel racing, breeding, therapeutic riding and rescuing and rehabilitating unwanted horses. Stables will offer sample riding lessons, carriage rides, games, live music, discounts, vendors and more. Six of the farms will offer pony rides, and Last Chance Ranch will have camel rides. Several farms will have young foals for visitors to enjoy. Each stable will conduct demonstrations using their horses, showcasing what they do best, from competing in (or hosting) nationally ranked horse shows to providing horse owners with a tranquil place to trail ride their beloved companions. Some farms offer boarding or breeding and sales only; others offer a full range of services from training and lessons to summer camps and hour long trail rides. Many will have horses for sale, or in the case of the rescues, adoption.
Among the demonstrations planned are yoga on horseback, natural horsemanship, jumping, barn fire safety, and equine dentistry.
Descriptions of the participating farms, their programs and what they have planned for the Open House weekend are in the April issue of Pennsylvania Equestrian and on the Pennsylvania Equestrian web site: www.pennsylvaniaequestrian.com. Google map tools on the website will allow visitors to get turn by turn directions to each of the farms from any location. Green and white Horse Farms Open House signs will help to guide them along the way.
Visit these stables open to the public April 24 & 25 for the Pennsylvania Equestrian Horse Farms Open House. Travel in your own vehicle at your own pace. Event is FREE.
Stables are open 10 am to 4 pm Sat. April 24 and 11 am to 4 pm, Sun., April 25
Information and directions: www.pennsylvaniaequestrian.com or (717) 509-9800
Swan Lake Stables
381 Flatbush Rd,
Littlestown, PA 17340
Telephone: (717) 359-5357
Hunters, jumpers, ponies, equitation, boarding, lessons, training, shows.
Heron Mead Farm
15 School Lane,
Robesonia, PA, 19551
Telephone: (610) 488-8978
Hunters, jumpers, dressage, eventing, lessons, boarding, training.
Rainbow Ridge Farm Equestrian Center
4841 Applebutter Rd.,
Pipersville, PA 18947
Telephone: (215) 766-9357
Hunters, dressage, western pleasure, trail riding, lessons, boarding, training, shows.
Gateway Stables, Inc.
949 Merrybell Lane,
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Telephone: (610) 444-1255
Hunt and balanced seat, dressage, western, trail riding, lessons, boarding, training.
573 Lewisville Rd.,
Lewisville, PA 19351
Telephone: (302) 299-3987
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Combined training, Centered Riding, hunters, eventing, boarding, training, lessons.
16 E Brubaker Valley Rd.,
Lititz, PA 17543
Telephone: (717) 627-4269
Hunters, jumpers, lessons, boarding, training.
230 Holtzman Rd.,
Reinholds, PA 17569
Telephone: (717) 484-2250
Hunters, jumpers, dressage, eventing, therapeutic riding, thoroughbred foaling, breaking & training, lessons, boarding, training.
Greystone Manor Therapeutic Riding Center
1063 Hartman Station Rd.,
Lancaster, PA 17601
Telephone: (717) 615-9222
Dedicated therapeutic riding center.
2420 Cold Storage Rd.,
New Bloomfield, PA 17068
Hunters, jumpers, lessons, training, boarding, clinics, shows.
Spring St. & Shenandoah Rd.,
Ringtown, PA 17967
Telephone: (570) 889-2288
AQHA quarter horses and APHA paint horses, breeding, boarding, stud service, halter and western training.
4214 Davidsburg Rd.,
Dover, PA 17315
Telephone: (717) 292-3412
Boarding for owners who trail ride, drive or train their own horses.
River Meadow Stallions
5468 Pine Road,
Thomasville, PA 17364
Hunters, jumpers, eventing, western, gaming, driving. Lessons, boarding, training, stud service for Haflinger, North American Spotted Haflinger, Shire, thoroughbred, mini.
Shady Dell Stables
373 Shady Dell Rd.,
Thomasville, PA 17364
Telephone: (717) 739-5154
Hunters, jumpers, eventing, dressage, trail, western pleasure, barrel racing, showmanship, boarding, lessons.