University of Vermont AAHS

 

Fall in New Canaan

by
Jan Dawson
President, AAHS

[reproduced from Caution: Horses Vol. 3, No. 4, Winter 1998]

The first horse book I ever read was by the late Margaret Cable Self   In fact most of the early horse books I read were by this author.  I had the honor recently of teaching a clinic at the barn of the  New Canaan Mounted Troop which was Ms. Self’s barn until her death several years ago.  The Mounted Troops were a group of cavalry-style programs which were popular all around the United States in the Fifties.  In fact, one of my cousins belonged to the one in Denver and I was forever envious because we did not have one where I grew up.  Only a couple are left and one is in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Following a fierce battle with developers, a dedicated group of parents were able to save and rehabilitate a riding school that otherwise would have been destroyed to make way for more houses.

The result is a lovely riding academy situated on twelve wooded acres right in the middle of New Canaan.

This group of dedicated people have worked miracles because the barn is not the modern variety with spacious stalls and walkways.  Some of the stalls are quite small and some of the walkways are definitely one-horse wide.  The turn-out facilities are excellent.  The indoor arena is great with a marvelous surface.

So how, one might ask, can they possibly have a youth program in a place so far from what we consider even minimum parameters?  Simple, one identifies the risks and then works around them.  No, it isn’t easy but few good things are.  The program is what counts and their program is excellent.  It has everything that a good youth program should have.  Good instruction, required work in the barn (yes, it is required), fun time with horses, community service projects, and dedicated involved parents.  How can they lose?  They can’t as far as I can see.

Zoning restrictions will not allow the Mounted Troop to change either the number of horses, which is limited to 22, or to change the foot print of the buildings.  The latter limit means that they cannot build a shed, a lean-to, or make any alterations to the barn.  They must live with things as they are.

What they get in return is a riding stable that is close enough for after-school and after work lessons and rides.  It is a neighborhood stable, place for the students to be able to learn horse care as well as how to ride, which has nearly become a thing of the past in the populous northeast.  It is hard to believe that New York City is just an hour away by car.
 

The first horse book I ever read was by the late Margaret Cable Self   In fact most of the early horse books I read were by this author.  I had the honor recently of teaching a clinic at the barn of the  New Canaan Mounted Troop which was Ms. Self’s barn until her death several years ago.  The Mounted Troops were a group of cavalry-style programs which were popular all around the United States in the Fifties.  In fact, one of my cousins belonged to the one in Denver and I was forever envious because we did not have one where I grew up.  Only a couple are left and one is in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Following a fierce battle with developers, a dedicated group of parents were able to save and rehabilitate a riding school that otherwise would have been destroyed to make way for more houses.

The result is a lovely riding academy situated on twelve wooded acres right in the middle of New Canaan.

This group of dedicated people have worked miracles because the barn is not the modern variety with spacious stalls and walkways.  Some of the stalls are quite small and some of the walkways are definitely one-horse wide.  The turn-out facilities are excellent.  The indoor arena is great with a marvelous surface.

So how, one might ask, can they possibly have a youth program in a place so far from what we consider even minimum parameters?  Simple, one identifies the risks and then works around them.  No, it isn’t easy but few good things are.  The program is what counts and their program is excellent.  It has everything that a good youth program should have.  Good instruction, required work in the barn (yes, it is required), fun time with horses, community service projects, and dedicated involved parents.  How can they lose?  They can’t as far as I can see.

Zoning restrictions will not allow the Mounted Troop to change either the number of horses, which is limited to 22, or to change the foot print of the buildings.  The latter limit means that they cannot build a shed, a lean-to, or make any alterations to the barn.  They must live with things as they are.

What they get in return is a riding stable that is close enough for after-school and after work lessons and rides.  It is a neighborhood stable, place for the students to be able to learn horse care as well as how to ride, which has nearly become a thing of the past in the populous northeast.  It is hard to believe that New York City is just an hour away by car.


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