Equestrian center offers camps, lessons

SUN GAZETTE FILE PHOTO At top, Robert Schnars, owner of Elysian Fields Equestrian Center in Montoursville, leads Redwood out to pasture. Redwood is a horse rescued from the Danville SPCA. Schnars hopes to put in a place a program that helps both horses and veterans, first responders and law enforcement living with depression, anxiety or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Above, other horses at the center are gathered outside.

Elysian Fields Equestrian Center is a place to learn about horses and so much more.

The new member of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce is located at 1345 Tallman Hollow Road near Montoursville.

Robert Schnars, owner, said the facility provides lessons on horseback riding all year long and holds a summer day camp.

“It is great to get out and be around families and their children,” Schnars said.

The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop the daily activities, he said.

“We’re always doing classes and private lessons,” he said. “We have had no shut downs.”

The facility has an indoor arena where the family-run staff educate guests about horses.

Schnars said he and his partner enjoy the summer camps the most because the students learn all about how to take care of the horses.

The camp day begins in the morning at 8 as the horses are turned out, he said.

Then, the students muck stalls doing the work together.

“They form a team and bondship,” Schnars said. In just a few short days, the students “earn their saddle,” he said.

To prepare for a presentation before their proud parents, grandparents and other family members, the kids choose which horse they want to ride and practice in time for a ceremony.

“It is amazing,” Schnars said. “They come in on a Monday and in five days they are able to navigate a western obstacle course,” he said.

That is what gives Schnars and those running the facility the most pleasure.

Currently, the facility has 23 horses, a mule and three ponies.

The horses are different colors and breeds, most of whom are rescues from around the region.

Horses have come from the SPCA in Danville and Appalachian Horse Help and Rescue near Linden, he said.

“We’ve had several donated to us,” he said.

Among the prized horses are the Fjords, which are horses pure bred from the Netherlands, he said.

The horses are as much or more pure bred than the Arabian, he said.

Although classified as a pony they are a draft horse, a miniature stout horse resembling a Clydesdale.

The Fjords are sweet, he said. “They are trained to pull a cart and remain close to one another.”

The equestrian center has been run by Schnars since October 2017.

Before that, the center was in operation for several decades.

The 40-acre center has 42 stalls total, and 10 acres of pasture.

“This is our home, our business and we love to teach horse care and riding,” he said.


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