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Stony Hill Stables: Hamptons Horses Help Kids

Devon Aragona

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Stoney Hill Stables in Amagansett. (Photo: Courtesy Photo)

Audiences at large often times walk away from movies such as "Seabiscuit", "War Horse", and "The Horse Whisperer" with the romantic portrayals of horses and their relationships with humans still prancing in their heads.

Horses stand as symbols of bygone eras, of freedom, and of adventures. Whether we are simply admiring through an untrained eye, or dissecting their every stride with an adept knowledge, the horse's powerful beauty captivates human minds while also lending them a healthy revere.

But from a means of transportation to a form of recreation, enjoying horses, particularly in the Hamptons, has become a commodity perceived as something only the affluent get the opportunity to enjoy. Until now.

Stony Hill Stables Foundation of Stony Hill Stable in Amagansett has started a unique not-for-profit organization that gives kids, teens, and adults alike the opportunity to ride and really work with horses. This unique program is solely dedicated to the purpose of promoting equine sports through riding education and competitive opportunities for children and young adults in the local East End community.

"We really believe in the power of the horse. The responsibility it gives people, the work ethic it teaches them, the bonds they build, it influences a person, especially young ones," Maureen Bluedorn, the President of the Stony Hill Stables Foundation, and Stony Hill tenant herself, says.

Bluedorn rode as a child and up through her years as a young adult. Having to leave it behind for some years to join the workforce, she never really lost her love for horses or forgot the things they taught her. Bludorn says, as many other riders would tell you, horses helped shape the person she is today.

The visionary for the whole project though, Wick Hotchkiss. A FEI rider and trainer, USDF bronze, silver, and gold medalist, Hotchkiss has studied with international trainers such as Pam Goodrich, Robert Dover, Christine Taurig, Carol Lavell, Patrick Burssens, Chris Hickey, and Lars Peterson. A second-generation owner of Stony Hill Stables, she has been privy to the time and money that horses require when taken seriously as a sport.

"I understand that seriously pursuing equine sport can be expensive. It is important to me that local children still have the opportunity to ride," said Hotchkiss. "The Stony Hill Stables Foundation was created to give back to the community by providing equine facilities for equestrian programs which hopefully will facilitate the growth of the sport on the East End."

Others saw her passion and applaud her ambition. Bluedorn, after becoming aware of Hotchkiss's dream to make horses available to kids from all backgrounds realized that with her own financial backround, she could help that dream become a reality.

"This is truly her her idea, her dream, her vision," said Lynn Stefanelli, the foundation spokeswomen. "We were just able to help her make it happen. We are the mouthpieces that help her bring her passion for her horses and providing opportunities for people come to life."

Last year the foundation was able to give out seven scholarships a semester to all ages and levels. These scholarships help cover the recipients lease horse cost, lessons, and show fees semester. This year they hope to be able to give more out.

Ideally one day, they hope to be able to create an endowment that allows the foundation to help a rider who shows truly exceptional potential pursue their riding career at higher levels, even away from the farm.

"It really is a team here," Stefanelli says. "The kids all help each other, they encourage each other, they root for each other at shows. It's a family."

The farms main source of funraising for their scholarships is at their Second Annual Benefit Cocktail Party will be held on the evening of Saturday, June 29, 2013 from 6 to 8 p.m. on the pastoral grounds of Stony Hill Stables, located in Amagansett on bucolic Town Lane.  Attendees will enjoy a special Dressage Exhibition as well and an exciting Pony Drill Team Performance.

Former president Ronald Reagan once stated, "I've often said there's nothing better for the inside of a man the the outside of a horse."

This is a farm that is truly here to help spread the power of horses, and the lessons that they can teach.

Tickets for the Second Annual Stony Hill Stables Foundation Benefit are priced at $125 for a single ticket or $200 for a couple. Tickets can be purchased in advance on-line. For more information please visit www.stonyhillstables.com or call 631-267-3203.

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Guest (Marybeth Alexander) from Virginia says::
I am a proud and grateful legacy of Stony Hill and the Hotchkiss families dedication to training riders. I grew up practically on the farm with Liz, my intrepid instructor and mother of both Wickety and Cappy, and the lessons have lasted me a lifetime. I rode there in the late late 60's through the 70s, a tiny farm with a huge impact on my life, I am dyslexic, and now know ADHD as well. Those days not diagnosis known or believed as valid or true. Liz Hotchiss, took me as i was, a child who felt unable to do anything well, and never gave up on me..she led me ..although i know I drove her crazy with frustration over never knowing which was left or right as she yelled directions to me during my twice weekly lessons. But she never, never, allowed me to even entertain the idea that i was incapable of learning or a failure. She was the first teacher to ever insist that I could and WOULD do as she instructed..over and over and over..(lol)..! I learned at her hand a confidence in myself that has carried me all my life, 45 years later..I can still hear her yelling directions from center ring..heels down,sit up straight, shoulders back, look up, and hands where they are supposed to be!! I ended up as a rider in some of the very first 3 day events back then at her encouragement ( read: you WILL go...from Liz Hotchkiss!!! Friendly encouragement!) Even competing at Harry DeLeyers farm and actually seeing Snowman, and Mr. DeLeyer himself..! At her encouragement I competed in big horse shows, little horse shows, rode along with famous folks children, and other not famous folks kids like myself. Horses taught me with Liz' s patient (smile) training that i could learn, and that I was pretty damn good at riding, eventually winning multiple shows, honors, and titles while competing under her tutelage. Too many to mention, all to her credit. I lived on Montauk, attended later East Hampton High, my Dad was then Director of New York Ocean Science Laboratory on Montauk, way back then..we were not the rich and famous, I was just a broken child, that Stony Hill Stables made whole.
Oct 9, 2016 12:38 pm


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