For her eighth birthday, Tricia Rabalais got a chestnut male quarterhorse named Gold the Great. Seventeen years later, Rabalais and Gold the Great still have that unique bond between owner and horse ' and share that feeling with a new generation of riders.

Rabalais owns Cambridge Stables in Maurice, a seven-acre expanse that Gold the Great shares with 23 other horses such as Apollo and Rebel. She teaches private and group riding lessons to adults and students (like Emily Claton, pictured), but it's the immeasurable rewards of teaching kids to ride that gives her the most gratification. "It teaches them how to be responsible," she says. "The only care the horses have is what we give them."

There's a serenity and majesty in horses that children are drawn to ' and horses respond in kind. Most of the horses at Cambridge Stables range from 15-30 years old, a mature age where they've become accomplished jumpers and grown accustomed to interacting with humans. "The horses I teach on are older horses," says Rabalais. "They tend to be more gentle and a lot safer because they have more mileage and have seen everything."

One of the stars of Cambridge Stables is the aptly named Big Dad. "He's a huge horse, and extremely quiet," says Rabalais. "The kids get around him, and they're just mesmerized by his size."

Rabalais' riding courses are also outfitted with lights so she can teach at night ' especially in the summers when the daytime heat is too brutal. For kids, the night sessions are a chance to have a real-life storybook experience: riding the creatures that carry knights and princesses under the stars.


For more information on Cambridge Stables, call 893-6230.

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