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Free Riding Lessons at Villa Stables

The brainstorm of Sharon Ellingwood and her husband, Nicholas Villa, of Villa Stables, North Stonington, Ct., Villa Stables is offering a program which gives free riding lessons to kids whose families are unable to afford the cost.

"Our goal is to open our barn doors to horse loving kids denied access to professional riding because of the cost," said Ellingwood.

Nicholas Villa Stables is a public riding lesson facility also offering boarding and training for American Saddlebred and Morgan show horses.

We are proud to add to our roster of services this new, limited enrollment program making it possible for kids to receive riding instruction and learn horsemanship at no cost," continued Ellingwood. "Horses help children in a special way to grow in mind, body and soul as they have their real life chance to sprout their wings, get riding instruction from professionals and live a dream."

The requirement for enrolling in the program is an existing passion for horses that is unfulfilled due to financial constraints. It is necessary to fill out an application, and references are required. The four-week session will begin March 28 and will be held on Fridays from 4–6 p.m. for riders eight and older.

"Not only will this give back to kids who need the leg up, we will boost the exposure to American Saddlebreds," said Villa. "In this lagging economy, everyone is cutting back on their discretionary spending on things from horse show travel all the way down to beginner riding lessons. This pinch in the economy is going to be felt not just for a show season, but more importantly, for years to come when we aren’t getting the numbers of American Saddlebred owners at the entry level.

"To invest our time into a free program is to invest in our collective future. Kids, teachers, guidance counselors, librarians and all who refer to us will have a lasting impression of the American Saddlebred. They will be the horses that are remembered in the hearts of all this program will touch."

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