Equestrian Center

At Ray of Light Farm, it's not all about the ride. Along with riding instruction, we concentrate on promoting a genuine understanding of animals and how to care for them. This is accomplished through building a strong foundation in the skills of both horse and rider, preparing riders for success in whatever discipline they choose to pursue.

We Offer Instruction in...

Groundwork

  • Handling
  • Roundpen
  • Lunge line
  • Long-rein

Riding

  • Western & English
  • Youth and Adult
  • Special Needs
  • Group and Private Instruction

Driving Instruction - coming soon, stay tuned for details!


Please call 860-873-1895 for lesson times and availability.


Our B.I.T. Program

In our Basics in Training program, students are given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience using groundwork exercises like round-penning, lunging and long-reining in order to acquire or improve skills necessary to work effectively with horses. Our approach uses positive reinforcement and communication in the language of the horse to build the foundations necessary for both human and equine to advance to other pursuits.

The course builds the necessary skills and understanding in a series of 8-week sections, with each section meeting one day per week. Each section ends with a written and practical evaluation to assess the students' strengths and identify areas requiring improvement. Students who fulfill the requirements for all sections will be awarded a certificate of completion.

To ensure that each student has an opportunity to receive individualized attention and time to work with a horse at every meeting, enrollment space is limited and advanced reservations are required.

We believe this is important work, as building a foundation for your horse's education sets the stage for a confident and reliable horse. A horse should look forward to his work and be able to trust the people that work with him. In this course, you will learn guidelines for a training program and how to tailor it to each horse. Skills will be taught to better enable you to communicate with your horse in a language he understands.

Section A: A Good Beginning--Introducing Yourself and the Horse to a Common Language. In this section, the emphasis is on learning the language of the horse in the round pen, but additional topics include: understanding the basic nature of equines, good-manners handling, basic grooming, using an obstacle course at liberty, and trailer loading


Section B: Improving the Skills of Horse and Handler. In this section, skills are further developed in the round pen and using obstacles, and students are given an introduction to proper lunging technique.

Section C: Ride Preparation, Step 1. In this section, we begin to use the skills developed in previous sections prepare a green horse to take the first steps toward accepting a rider as we progress to an introduction to long reining. Skills are further developed and refined in the round pen, at liberty with obstacles, and lunging.


Section D: Ride Preparation, Step 2. As green horses continue to make progress toward going under saddle, all previous skills are developed and refined, with an emphasis on intermediate lunging and long-lining skills.

Section E: Ready to Ride: Introducing Weight to the Horse. In this culminating section, we continue to refine all skills learned in previous sections, practice and perfect long-lining, and make the exciting move of introducing weight to the horse.

 

We have received enthusiastic response from BIT participants like Jennifer, who writes:

"I certainly have to extend my gratitude to each and every one of you for helping me along in learning about horses and about myself….It has been a wonderful year of awareness and learning for me. Dakota has helped me to move to a level that I didn’t even know existed within myself!"    ~Jennifer G.

Click here for more testimonials.


Meet Our Instructors

Susan Macauley

Sue started her equine studies at a horse day camp in Guilford, CT, when she was only 6. By the time she was 8, she was showing Hunter Equitation, and continued showing in the New England circuit for the next 10 years. She continued studying and working with horses, and earned a BA in Horsemastership from Lake Erie College, and became a certified instructor from the Morven Park International Equestrian Institute. She spent many years teaching, training, and competing in Combined Training (Dressage, Cross-Country, and Stadium Jumping), and those pursuits took her around the country and around the world. Now, Sue has returned to CT, and brings her extensive experience and level of excellence to Ray of Light Farm, where she is both Head Instructor and primary trainer to all the Ray of Light horses.

Sally Sanders

Sally began her teaching career in Westchester County, NY. She received her teaching degree through Pace University Equine Studies Program. She taught for several years at Pace U, then eight years at Fox Hill Farms in Pleasantville, NY. She also traveled throughout Northern Westchester teaching, training, and exercising at numerous barns and private homes. Sally moved to CT in 1994 and started teaching at her home on rescued mare. An increase in students brought two more horses home to teach on. For the winter months, she made arrangements with the previous owners at the Stables at East Haddam to bring her students to the indoor arena. This led to teaching at the farm and started her relationship with the new owners of Ray of Light Farm.

Sally thanks her teaching success to the numerous kind, patient and dependable school horses she has been blessed to work with over the years. Without them, she would not be in the ring today.

Sanna Piispanen

Sanna grew up with horses in Finland, where she began riding at the age of eight. She has been involved in Harness Racing and Dressage, but finds an especial affinity for Arabian horses, and is involved in their breeding, training, and showing.

Sanna has been in the United States since 2001, and joined the Ray of Light family in 2010. She has been a key asset to the farm since then, and her responsibilities have continuously increased through the years. Her current roles at the farm include: barn manager, assistant trainer and instructor. She is always busy, ensuring that chores are being done, animals are cared for and things are running smoothly.

Sanna also works with the Premarin foals, with the goal of developing a good foundation for each of the babies so when they go to their forever homes, they'll be ready for anything.

One of Sanna's many gifts is her keen photographic eye. Many of the images on this website and shared through our Facebook page were captured by Sanna. Like us on Facebook to see more!

Please call 860-873-1895 for lesson times and availability.

Also, don't forget that Pony Rides for small children are offered from 11:00 2:00 every Thursday through Saturday for $10. No advance registration is required.

The Save-A-Buck Tack Store is located on-site and offers tack, gear, a full line of riding apparel, toys and gifts for animal lovers. Hours: 10:00 5:00 daily except Wednesdays.


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