When Equus Local launched last month at the Equus Fest East event, we were by chance, appointed a space next to the Woodstock Riding Club booth. Because we are obviously interested in local horse businesses, groups, clubs, etc. we had a friendly chat with them. What we found out in that initial 5 min conversation inspired us to reach out later to them for a more in-depth look at what the Woodstock Riding Club is and how it helps the community. We spoke to the current President, Ralph VanKleeck Jr. to learn more about the club. See below for our conversation.
Equus Local: What is Woodstock Riding Club & why is it important to our local area?
WRC: Woodstock Riding Club is a local horse riding club where people come to ride their horses and attend our horse shows that we have throughout the show season. This is a beautiful spot with over 20 acres of cleared land surrounded by the Catskill Mountains. This is a great place for those who are new to showing, those who like to compete in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, or would like a perfect spot for practicing with their horses.
Equus Local: How long has Woodstock Riding Club been around?
WRC: WRC was founded in 1947 by a local group of horse enthusiasts who wanted to preserve a spot for horseback riding in the Woodstock area. The 20 acres was donated by one of the founders of the club. It’s all run completely by volunteers. Any events, fundraisers and membership dues collected goes completely to maintain the grounds and paying the taxes. Also, to cover costs of trophies and ribbons for the horse shows.
Equus Local: What is your role and how long have you been in it?
WRC: I have been the President of the Woodstock Riding Club for the past 2 years now, and a board member for a few years before that. My family and I have been involved with the Woodstock Riding Club for over 10 years.
Equus Local: Who can be a member?
WRC: Anyone can become a member whether you have a horse or not! The club is run by all volunteers and membership dues, show fees and fundraising is how we pay for everyday expenses.
Equus Local: What are the benefits of being a member and how much does it cost?
WRC: The benefits of being a member of the club are that you have access to the club year-round. You can bring your horses (or mules) here to practice, go on a trail ride, or have fun running around the fields! If you don’t have a horse, you can still use the grounds for hiking, dog walking, etc! It’s very inexpensive to become a member. There are different types of memberships to choose from. For $22.00 a year you can be a friend of WRC, which is mainly to help out the club if you don’t have a horse to bring there, or $75.00 a year for a family membership which gives the whole family with horses use of the grounds year-round, as well as discounts on season stalls! Explanations of all membership options are on our website.
Equus Local: When is the best time to join if people are interested?
WRC: The best time to join is at the beginning of the year as the memberships are for the calendar year. Memberships are renewed yearly.
If you are interested in being a member of the Woodstock Riding Club, check out their website at Woodstockridingclub.com to join.