NORTH SALEM, N.Y. -- Every Friday afternoon a posse of children from North Salems Pequenakonck Elementary School pull on their boots and hit the trail to C.B. Walker Stables on Starr Ridge Road for their weekly lesson in horsemanship.
The stable is owned and run by longtime North Salem resident Bob Bolender and his daughter, Courtney. Courtney started riding as a child and rode with the Goldens Bridge Hunt when she was 5 years old. Her sister, Lundyn, also works at the barn and has been riding for 20 years since she was 2.
The PQ kids are at various levels of training, Lundyn Bolender said. So they each get a private 20 minute lesson. That way everyone can advance at their own speed.
While some are on horseback, others are learning barn maintenance, grooming, blanketing and how to tack and feed.
Lundyn Bolender said that the students try to switch horses every week so that they can learn how one horse varies from another and requires different riding skills.
This is the first year that Walker Stables has offered the riding program.
There are three eight-week sessions, Lundyn Bolender said. The first one was in September. Most parents brought their kids back for the second session.
Andrea Good and her husband were watching their son Conrad, a third grader.
One of the nice things is that its not only riding, its horse management, Good said. Grooming, barn safety. How a horse gets shoes put on. Theres lots of hands-on experience. Its a lovely way to introduce a child to riding.
Third grader Adelin Hoyt said that she is new to riding and likes being around the ponies.
We tasted the grain once, Hoyt said. It tastes like oatmeal.
Chloe Fogle, who is almost 7 years old, has been riding for two years.
I can walk and trot and canter, Fogle said. I learned the difference between a pony and a horse. Its the amount of hands. A hand equals four inches, and a pony is 14.2 hands tall or less (measured to the withers). My parents said I can get my own horse, if we ever have enough money.
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