by Robin B
Horses are gentle animals and riding them can be both fun and educational. Does your child ask for riding lessons every time you drive past a riding stable or farm? If so, below are a few suggestions on places that offer horse riding lessons and/or camps around the Kalamazoo area.
This guide updated as of April 2017.
Horseback Riding Lessons
True Vine Equestrian Center’s purpose is to provide therapeutic horseback riding for people with special needs, youth at risk and able-bodied students. Their goal is to combine equine companionship and professionally designed riding programs for physical, personal and spiritual growth.
Riding lessons meet once a week for 1 hour. Riders will sign up for lessons in 4 to 8 week sessions. All new students will need to schedule an evaluation lesson prior to the start of a session. Visit the website for schedules and pricing.
Eastfork Farms, 10392 N. 44th St., Augusta | 269-207-7349
Eastfork farms is located in Augusta, between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, situated on 65 acres of beautiful horse country. They specialize in horse riding lessons for all ages – with classes for children beginning at age 5 and up. They offer beginner through advanced, birthday parties, and special events.
Eastfork offers 8-week lessons that run during the week. Private lessons are available upon request. Visit the website for pricing and additional information.
Photo Courtesy Annie Rouvillois
Karin’s Horse Connections 8001 Patterson Ave. SE, Caledonia | 616-570-1106
Riding programs at Karin’s Horse Connections are structured around the same principle: to allow riders to build a special connection with a horse. They do this by teaching safety, allowing riders to brush their horses, teaching how to communicate with your horse while riding, playing games on and off the horse, and of course feeding a treat at the end! Karin’s has a large indoor arena with a lot of natural light which allows for year-round riding.
Vaulting is a unique sport and alternative to traditional riding which combines dance and gymnastics on a moving horse. KinderPony Program is perfect for children who are too young to appreciate the routine of lessons. This 30 minute program is designed for children ages 2 – 6. Trailblazer Riders generally elementary/teenager age, enjoy one hour per week in small group (2-3 riders) lessons. Various Therapeutic Programs are open to people of all ages and abilities – everyone is welcome! Their passion is to see other people fall in love with our horses and find the healing and joy found in a human-horse connection.
For additional information visit the website or email [email protected]
Diamond Sahara Equestrian Services LLC 6700 Moe Road, Middleville | 269-795-4430
Stacie Berends Bode, owner, has felt a call to work with kids and horses. She owns and operates Diamond Sahara Equestrian Services, LLC located in Middleville. They offer a variety of lesson options – private lessons on a client’s horse, schooling horse, and group lessons. Children lessons generally start at age six. Call or visit the website for more information.
Hillcrest Equestrian Center, 2615 S. 9th Street, Kalamazoo | 269-353-9276
Hillcrest is conveniently located in Oshtemo Township in a beautiful setting in which to learn about, and enjoy, all things equestrian. Lessons are given with Saddleseat instruction and are geared toward teaching students to ride not only a horse, but a show horse. Driving lessons are also available. Lessons are available year-round in the Center’s indoor arena and are available for ages 4 through adult. Beginning lessons are geared toward learning basic horsemanship regardless of future intent. Email [email protected] for additional information.
Every Stride Dressage LLC, 13482 S. 29th St. Vicksburg | 269-547-0647
Every Stride Dressage is a full service dressage training facility located in Vicksburg, focusing on the education and well-being of horse and rider. It is home of accredited dressage trainer / instructor Erin T. McElmurry. Beginner Lessons (age 6 and up) are 1/2 hour long in the saddle plus student gets hands on learning to groom, tack and untack before and after riding lesson. Advanced Lessons are 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Call to schedule an appointment to see the farm and meet the trainer, or email [email protected] for more information.
Model Farm Stables, LLC 67503 38th St., Paw Paw | 269-569-6678
Established in 1977, Model Farm Stables, LLC offers weekly riding lessons for all ages (generally starting at age 7) beginners through advanced riders. All riding disciplines are welcomed, but English is the primary style since this teaches balance. Lessons also include groundwork/lunging and other horsemanship skills which is just as important as riding. Call or visit their Facebook page for pricing and other information.
Pine Meadow Farm 8125 N. 42nd St., Augusta | 269-731-4294
Pine Meadow Farm is owned and operated by Beth Vanderploeg. Their mission is to promote the enjoyment of horses through continuing education, focused training, and proper animal care. They offer a variety of school horses to best suit a rider’s skill level and needs. Lessons generally start at age 7. Lessons are offered in 1/2 hour, one hour increments or a one hour group lesson option.
Opened in 1970 as the first therapeutic riding center built especially for the purpose of serving those with special needs in North America, the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center serves riders of all ages who have physical, emotional or cognitive disabilities.
Therapeutic Riding and Therapy Services (PT and OT) are offered to clients all year round with programs in both fall and spring semesters, as well as summer sessions.