Since its redevelopment last year, The New York Equestrian Center, the horseback riding facility formerly known as Lakewood Stables in West Hempstead, has galloped its way into a busy fall season, opening its doors to nearly 100 aspiring riders and local horse lovers a day leading up to the center’s final horse show on Nov. 10.
Most recently, the NYEC has welcomed members of Adelphi University’s intercollegiate Equestrian Team to use its facility as a practice space for upcoming horse shows this semester.
“I’m glad that the community has embraced the new equestrian center,” said NYEC President Alex Jacobson. “We’re really excited because we’re giving people what they’ve been lacking on the South Shore for a very long time.”
Before settling at NYEC earlier this year, the Adelphi Equestrian Team — which is comprised of 13 total members, six of whom compete as part of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association and judged for equitation, or the rider’s performance in terms of position and technique, while the others are beginners that ride for fun — initially had to travel far out east to practice at a stable in Huntington, but the distance became too much trouble for the team.
Given that the team’s coach, Dawn Siehel, also works as a riding instructor at NYEC, Equestrian Team President Amy Coonan, 21, a Senior Psychology major at Adelphi, decided to approach Jacobson last January about reserving time for practice sessions at the center for once hour once every week.
“I love it — it’s convenient, it’s five minutes from Adelphi,” said Coonan, who rode at Lakewood for 8 years until she turned 15. “[Jacobson] has provided all of us with a great opportunity.”
With close to 52 horses to choose from at the center — bringing back about 90 percent of Lakewood’s mainstays after its redevelopment, including Apache, Cuervo and Miami, the big show jumper — Jacobson said that the Adelphi Equestrian Team works with a NYEC-affiliated trainer to perfect riding techniques and overall horsemanship at practices.
Jacobson also said that NYEC’s indoor facility provides an eco-friendly, climate controlled environment to ensure prime riding conditions for the team all year-round during the spring and fall seasons.