I grew up riding horses and jumped at the chance to tune my skills with a lesson at Touch of Class Riding School in Aberdeen.
Pulling into the driveway leading to Compass Farm, I realized I was in a thoroughbred sanctuary. Theresa Crowther, owner of the school, has 10 thoroughbreds and six ponies. While she spent most of her career working with racehorses, she has been teaching English riding for almost 10 years.
The riding school offers lessons, summer camps, birthday parties and the chance to earn Scout badges. The stables and the tack room were also renovated recently. For those who take their riding seriously, Crowther can help with competitions and has worked with some students for more than nine years.
But don't let that intimidate you if you're just looking to have fun. The farm has outdoor and indoor rings and two wooded trails. And Crowther is happy to teach people of any level. She helps riders attain their personal goals without pushing them too far.
"We teach whoever wants to come ride," says Crowther, who trained racehorses at Fair Hill and Delaware Park for 15 years. "Everybody does their limit, they work at their own pace. I only put people on horses they're going to be comfortable on."
Crowther had me trotting, cantering and jumping Ginny, a dark bay, during my one-hour lesson. I forgot how much of a workout jumping was, and my legs paid the price the next day. My own horse doesn't jump any more, and while I'd been riding regularly, jumping is a whole other thing.
Still, I'll be back -- when my legs recover, of course.
Touch of Class Riding School
3200 James Run Road, Aberdeen
Group lesson: $35 (one hour) or $25 (half hour)
Semi-private lesson: $45 (one hour)
Private lesson: $50 (one hour)
Party hosting: $20 per person