By HOWARD BALABAN email@example.com
Medina Journal-Register — SHELBY — For the first time in 33 years, Forrestel Riding Camp will be able to give its visitors a year-round experience.
Sunday afternoon the fifth-generation horse farm hosted an open house to mark the opening of its new riding arena. According to Margaret Darroch, Operations Manager for Forrestel Farms, the arena will allow for riding lessons deep into the winter.
Forrestel, located off of Route 63, is primarily a riding camp, Darroch said. However, what makes it stand out, she noted, was that half of its staff is European.
“Our counselors bring a different dimension,” she said.
The riders in the camp learn riding and jumping with the benefit of wide open fields and equestrian courses. The arena, which was completed in February, will be used by campers for the first time this summer.
“It can extend everything we do here,” Darroch said of the new facility. The sheer size of the structure - Darroch said it was among the largest she has seen - allows it to teach riding have a full jump course within its walls.
Jamesville-Dewitt (Syracuse area) sophomore Caitlin Ramsey rode Eli Sunday afternoon in the arena while her grandmother, Martha, watched. Martha said Caitlin has been “dedicated” to horses since she was a toddler and the addition of the arena will allow the camp a lot more flexibility.
“This will be fantastic,” she said. Martha added that Caitlin has been a Forrestel camper for six years and the experience has been overwhelmingly positive.
“They offer a range of riding experiences here and the people here are very affirming and celebrate successes,” Martha said.
Darroch said Forrestel, which is owned by Mary and Chuck Herbert, has plans in the works to further expand by including a bed and breakfast. The arena could also be used to host dog shows, and the farm itself could become a place for receptions and parties to take place.
“I envision us becoming a destination in the Northeast,” she said.