Rivendell Stables, located on Grand River Drive, has been an established business for almost 25 years. Under new management for the past two months, the facility looks to create additional opportunities to expand its programming and on site amenities for those who are visiting.
Two summer camps are open for kids this year, offering lessons on the ins and outs of horses and riding. While one is underway this week, another session is being offered August 6-9. Just Horsing Around is a day camp which runs 9am – 11am for ages 5-8 and 12pm – 2pm for those who are 9-14. Participants will learn about horse care, safety, and basic riding skills. Lessons will be learned through crafts, scavenger hunts, and other fun activities.
The Building a Rider camp will take place on Wednesdays and Fridays July 10 – August 2 for kids 8-14. Between 10am – 1pm campers will learn about horse care, safety, and horse behavior. The group will also build communication and social skills with other kids and instructors at the barn.
These summer camps are a great way for kids to gain knowledge and experience with horses as a beginner or to enhance what they’ve already learned. Those interested in signing up or need questions answered can contact Rivendell Stables through their Facebook page.
Boarding, Lessons, and More
The previous owner of the stables decided to sell the business in order to be able to spend more time with family, although she still boards her horses at the facility. The new owner is looking to expand programming and continue the family friendly atmosphere at the barn. This was evidenced when meeting Lindsey Whitelock, the Equine Facility Manager, for a tour of the grounds.
Those visiting the stables can see horses, ponies, and a mini horse totaling 38 who call Rivendell Stables their home. The full-service facility sits on 30 acres and has 35 stalls. Stalls are mucked, horses are fed and able to spend time in pastures, and the facility grounds can be used for riding. There are also horses available for lease for those who want to experience horse ownership without all of the expense.
A large indoor arena as well as an outdoor area provides space for riders to get lessons and practice. Beginning riding lessons for kids and adults are available as well as dressage and hunter/jumper classes. A viewing room off the indoor arena allows for viewing of lessons and riding.
Additionally, the facility offers an equine therapy program, allowing kids and adults the opportunity to incorporate horses and riding into the healing process. Whitelock described the ability of horses to pick up on human emotions and freely share their own. As humans are around horses natural bonds develop which provides an additional therapy component. There is a special room with comfortable seating designated for individual or group discussions right off the indoor arena.
Kids and adults alike quickly learn that being around and taking care of a horse is a huge responsibility. There are tack components to clean, condition, and learn about while forming a relationship with a horse or two, who will be ridden regularly. It takes time to prepare a horse to be ridden and clean up afterward. However, all of the hard work and dedication is usually worth it in the end. For many it doesn’t feel like work at all when doing something that’s loved.
A Family Extension
Those who are involved with Rivendell Stables through boarding, lessons, or both often see each other, as well as staff and trainers, as extended family. During the summer and after school when it’s in session, kids can be found taking care of horses, riding, and taking lessons. Adults are also part of the mix.
Programming during the day and evenings promotes a family atmosphere where everyone looks after each other. Horses show humans what they’re feeling and in turn this teaches humans to better understand, form, and grow relationships with others. “We have so many amenities and have constant growth but we have an amazing welcoming atmosphere. We strive to make sure this is a second home for kids and families as well as a place to grow and learn.” says Whitelook.
She hopes to continue expanding programming in the fall. There are already partnerships being formed with home school groups and scout troops with more being welcomed all the time. Her goal is to give as many who are interested the opportunity to be around horses and learn about them as a beginner or someone with years or decades of experience. With this, she wants to foster relationships between regulars at the barn as well as be welcoming of new people. She comments on how the kids with experience are eager to help younger kids learn.
Lucy and Sophia Raap will be entering fifth and third grade respectively in the fall. They have been riding for a few years and happily learn from their peers and are eager to share their knowledge as well. Their mom has nothing but positive things to say about Rivendell Stables, saying her girls have shown growth in knowledge, responsibility, and confidence since being around horses, trainers, and others who use the facility.
As Rivendell Stables, located at 11555 W Grand River Avenue, continues to grow, they are looking forward to working on another outdoor area, more partnerships within the community, additional pastures, a cross-country course, and more therapy offices. Follow them on Facebook for information on upcoming events and opportunities.