Learning to ride is a process, and that process is different for everyone. Nine-year old Andrea Edwards is learning that the effort she’s been putting into riding at Swan Lake Stables in Littlestown, PA has been worthwhile.
Andrea started riding with Swan Lake owner and trainer Mary Bast in August of 2015, but has been jumping for less than a year. Since learning to jump, Andrea has been showing Raisin Toast, a small pony mare, in children’s hunter classes, and has gained a lot of confidence in a short amount of time. Mary says children benefit from competing in the hunters because they learn how to move straight and with the correct rhythm over relatively low jumps.
Andrea’s mother Joanna and Mary have both seen Andrea set goals for herself and work hard to achieve those goals. When asked about her favorite part of riding, Andrea said she likes to ride bareback. She also said during lessons, she sometimes rides without stirrups to practice using her legs more effectively. Although her first lessons were in western riding, Andrea said she now prefers to ride English.
Andrea rides twice a week, and picks up an extra lesson day prior to shows in order to prepare. She realizes that she is fortunate to be able to ride year-round at Swan Lake either indoors or outside when the weather is suitable.
Stephanie Boddiford, a senior in high school, started riding at the age of three and has been riding at Swan Lake for four years. Stephanie purchased her horse Caio, an American Warmblood, as a green five-year old about 2 ½ years ago. “He has come a long way,” she said. “I went through a lot of baby training with him. When I got him he was showing in 2’6’” baby greens and schooling 3’ every other week. I started showing him in the 3’ children’s hunters, then I started showing in the 3’3” junior hunters.”
Stephanie rides Caio every day and has a weekly lesson with trainer Mary Bast. She helped with Swan Lake’s summer camp last summer, and encourages Andrea and other younger students as they learn. Stephanie competed as a member of Swan Lake’s Interscholastic Equestrian Association team this season, and shows regularly throughout the year. This past weekend, Stephanie showed Caio in the 3’ children’s hunters at Swan Lake and was named champion in the children’s division.
This fall, Stephanie will be heading for college, so she’s reluctantly selling Caio. But both colleges she’s considering have collegiate equestrian teams, so she’ll be able to continue riding competitively.