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Equestrian Program Returns to Conejo Valley YMCA

Children as young as five can learn about, care for and ride specially-trained horses.

An equestrian program is returning to the Conejo Valley YMCA after a several-year absence.

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 non-profit organization Stepping Stones Riding Program.

"Children as young as five years old can learn to ride," said Meaghan Shaffer, president and founder of Stepping Stones Riding Program. "Private lessons will be available for kids and adults year round. No riding experience is necessary."

When Shaffer heard that the YMCA's equestrian facilities were not in use, she contacted the Y and the program was soon created. It officially kicks off when summer camp begins on June 4 with lessons beginning in July.

"A lot of children have never been exposed to horses," said Shaffer. "Campers will learn how to brush them and ride them in the arena and along horse trails right at the Y. It will be a great experience."

“The equestrian program is another benefit of Conejo Valley YMCA summer camp," said Meghan Lopez, the Y's youth development director. "The property at the Y lends itself to weeks packed with a variety of adventures."

Private 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 non-members.

Lessons are conducted by experienced volunteers. 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 steppingstonesridingprogram@gmail.com.

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