Fair   70.0F  |  Forecast »

Haverhill Farms Has Horse Fun for Southeast Michigan Kids

This equestrian center in White Lake, Mich. covers it all, from basic riding, dressage and jumping classes to parties, camps and Scout programs

There's very little kids can't learn from a bit of time in the saddle. They've been getting that experience at Haverhill Farms in White Lake for decades now.

"Horses are big and strong," says Harry Klentner, founder of Michigan's "oldest and largest riding school" – who, at age 82, still runs this equestrian spot. From brushing and tacking to feeding these creatures, there's lots of responsibility.

"It teaches kids how to handle something bigger than they are."

That's a pretty apt analogy for life, wouldn't you say? "You will be able to get through," Klentner says, "whether that's in school, you might have a tough class, or anything."

Horses with a history

His school, set on 35 serene acres of rolling meadows and woods, has found a home in local family's hearts since it opened in 1950.

Horse riding is a quintessentially summer activity for many southeast Michigan kids. For Klentner, the bug also bit young, when he was an 8-year-old refugee from Austria.

Haverhill Farms

"When Hitler came – I'm Jewish – we came to New York," he recalls. "We were poor. I had to work, so I worked at the Claremont Riding Academy."

At the historic Manhattan stable, which closed in 2007, Klentner got hooked. Simply put: "I liked animals. I liked horses. That's how it all got started."

An Air Force stint landed him at the Selfridge base in Mount Clemens. After his service ended, he and wife Kim founded the farm (they still live on the grounds).

Today, it houses 40 "school horses" and 20 ponies for wee ones, as young as 5. Gentle "old timers" offer smooth rides – like Dotty, who's 36.

"He follows directions very well," Klentner says of the beloved white horse with black spots. "He likes kids and he takes care of them." For the get-up-and-go set, there's chestnut mare Ariel, 7, and others peppier horses.

Offerings for everyone

Group, semi-private and private classes offer unlimited flexibility. "That's the idea: You can take lessons any time, any day," Klentner says. "People have schedules, and we try to fit into their schedules."

Covering all skill levels, basic lessons run $25 an hour. Two-week camps, which kick off in mid-June (there are five two-week sessions), also are open to ages 6-16.

From jumping to dressage, advanced riders thrive here, too (those lessons run $30 an hour). Another 40 horses board at the farm, which also hosts horse training, leasing and shows. Birthday parties and Scout badge-earning programs are popular, as well.

What's changed over time? Not much, though smaller riders are on the rise.

"They seem to start earlier, as far as I can see," Klentner says – especially those 5-year-olds. "We have a lot mothers and daughters riding," too.

And the goal is steady as ever. "It's a relaxing place," Klentner says. "What I hope (kids) take away from it is confidence."

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

What to Eat and What to Avoid During Pregnancy

What to Eat and What to Avoid During Pregnancy

Cravings or not, there are some things you just can't indulge in when you're a mom-to-be. Dr. Samuel Bauer of Beaumont Health Systems provides insight and information.

Benefits of Kids Learning an Instrument

Benefits of Kids Learning an Instrument

With many schools eliminating or downsizing their music curriculum, it's still important for kids to be exposed to music.

Mushroom Recipes for a Family Meal

Mushroom Recipes for a Family Meal

Mushrooms can be a tough sell with picky eaters but these dishes will entice them to try a bite – or two!

Tennessee Law Prevents Parents from Giving Child a Hybrid Last Name

Tennessee Law Prevents Parents from Giving Child a Hybrid Last Name

Carl Abramson and Kim Sarubbi mashed together their surnames for their first two kids, but Tennessee law says they can't use the last name 'Sabr' for baby No. 3.

Sticky Fingers Duct Tape Book Offers Easy Bow Making How-To

Sticky Fingers Duct Tape Book Offers Easy Bow Making How-To

Sophie Maletsky's new guide, published by Zest Books, is packed with fun crafts and DIY ideas kids and families can make out of colorful duct tape.

Paper Craft Fun with Handprints, Garland and Kawaii Art

Paper Craft Fun with Handprints, Garland and Kawaii Art

This versatile craft material transforms into an acorn fall creation, decorative ribbon, cute Japanese critters and cool dividers for your kid's closet.

How to Prevent Your Child from Choking

How to Prevent Your Child from Choking

Mealtime can turn from pleasant to panic in a matter of seconds. Protect your child from this mishap with our list of dos and don’ts.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement