Founded in 1947, the Woodstock Riding Club has been running horse shows for generations of Ulster County kids on its property at the base of Ohayo Mountain. Over the decades, membership in the club has waxed and waned, and right now the organization is recruiting new members.
"It goes in waves," said Jane Booth, the club's treasurer, who has been a member for 25 years. "You get a bunch of kids and they ride, and then you watch them grow up. My son is 17. He started out as a lead liner at three years old, and now next year he’s going off to college."
To keep the club running, "we need to get more people," Booth said. "If the area loses that, the riding club, there’s really no other venue locally that can fill its spot."
The club aims to be the place where a kid first learns to ride a horse--it's not just for experts, Booth said.
"Although we do take our shows seriously, and we hire accredited judges, we try and keep our prices down so that the average, everyday kid, like my kid, can ride and compete," she said.
Members must provide their own horses--probably a key factor in making recruitment difficult. But the club works with local stables to give all kids a chance to ride.
This Sunday, the Woodstock Riding Club is hosting one of its regular horse shows, which will feature both English and Western-style riding and jumping. Competitors vie for trophies and ribbons, and there will be taco and Hawaiian ice food trucks onhand to feed spectators, who are very welcome, Booth said.
"It's a great place to start horses," she said.