Longacres Riding Camp - Where else can you ride 5 hours a day?
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Best people to answer your Longacres Riding Camp questions!!
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Longacres 2014 References & Penpals
Ask Friends of Longacres! (Return to "Tour")
Exploring our website will give you many pages of useful information about Longacres Riding Camp and our riding programs. But in the end, nothing reassures someone considering coming here for the first time more than hearing from others who have come before you.
This "References and Penpals" page is a mix of testimonials from former students and email links to some of them (and parents) who have offered to answer any questions you may have and act as "penpals" and references for new families interested in Longacres. There are several nice letters from former students and parents listed at the bottom of this page.
Penpals "Just for Fun":
This "penpals" page is intended as much more than a list of references to answer questions from possible new students. Once you have chosen Longacres and signed up, we encourage you to write to the other students on this list and become friends with some of us before you get here. The people listed on this page are like you - they like horses! (a LOT!)
The following have all offered to communicate with families new to Longacres:
(click on the blue name link to e-mail)
NOTE: We suggest that if you are a first time Longacres prospect and want to contact one of the Longacres people listed below, e-mail them a little something about yourself or your daughter, including age and riding background. Then perhaps ask one or two specific questions, so they will have someplace to begin in their response. Many of our Longacres "penpals" families are also willing to talk with you on the phone if you ask.
Younger Kids? You’ll notice that many of the girls who have offered to take time being penpals are older teenagers. But almost all of them started at Longacres very young and just kept coming back! They’ll be glad to tell you what it was like when they came for the first time as young girls!
NOTE: Be sure after browsing the following, to scroll to the bottom of the page and see how far Longacres riders sometimes go in the horse world!!
Katherine – will be 12 when she returns for her third year at Longacres during July in 2014. Katherine had our great pony, “Merlin”, at home with her on winter lease last winter, and bought her own horse this year. She is an enthusiastic rider and has offered to answer questions from new students. Katherine came to Longacres for a one week session this past June and liked it so much that she returned again for the end of summer “Lazy Days” week! She is from near Watertown, NY.
Toni – will be 18 when she returns to Longacres for her third summer in July & August 2014. Toni will be a second year CIT (counselor in training) this season. She fell in love with our horse, “Boo”, last summer and took him home with her to Long Island for the winter.
Paige – will be 13 when she returns to Longacres for her third season in July. Merlin and Sunfire are two of Paige’s favorite Longacres horses. She and her mom are good friends of Longacres and are great contacts for new families! Paige is from the Dallas, TX area.
Sydney – is age 17 and returning to Longacres for her 8th year in August 2014. She has come by herself, with her mom sometimes to mother – daughter week, and sometimes with her younger sister. She will be a Counselor this summer and is a good rider. She has had horses from Longacres several times over the winter, including “Lincoln” this year!
Kellie - is 17 and returned to Longacres for her 7th summer in 2012. She came first with her mom to mother - daughter week, and is now one of our leaders as an older teen. Kellie is from Texas. She has three of our horses at her farm outside Ft. Worth for the winter. Kellie is now very involved in breaking and training Mustangs in Texas and came to Longacres for two shorter visits last summer, but knows us inside and out and is a good correspondent!
Zoe – is 12 years old and returning to Longacres in July 2014 for her third season. She really likes Star! She lives in Dallas, TX and is a very focused rider.
Below - Adults, Staff & Parents:
NOTE: We encourage you to ask our parental references how we handled communication when they needed us. If there was a trip to the doctor, a little homesick episode, a travel glitch, or simply offering a helping hand adjusting to the first few days here. We pride ourselves on the time we take to communicate with parents, whatever the need. Most of the below parents can attest to this. As mentioned at the top of this page, first write an email to our references asking a question or two and then ask if you can talk on the phone. Most of the adults listed below will be glad to give you a phone number, though we do not list them publicly here.
Andrea D. – mom of 11 year old Katherine (listed above). Andrea is very good on the phone and has experience not just with sending a ten year old away to Longacres, but with owning her own horse, leasing one of our ponies (“Merlin”), this winter. The family is from Watertown, NY.
Teri J. – mom of 11 year old Zoe from Dallas, TX, who is returning to Longacres for her second summer in 2013. Teri is a good reference for parents of very young children. She has the experience of sending her 10 year old off 1500 miles to a new camp for the first time!
Tina M. – mom of Toni, listed above, who will be returning to Longacres for her second summer as a 17 year old CIT in 2013. Tina has plenty of experience communicating with Meghan during the summer, since they are winter leasing one of our horses and there were MANY arrangements to be made! She can certainly comment on our willingness to help and quickly return calls and messages!
Keeley H. – mom of 12
year old Paige, who is returning to Longacres for her second summer in
from the Dallas, TX area. Paige and Keeley have been active as boosters
friends of Longacres, know us well, and are a good source of info for
time families with younger girls.
Sarah H. – has an interesting set of Longacres experiences. More than ten years ago, Sarah came to Longacres as a teenage rider. She returned again in 2010 as an adult rider in one of our June all ages Clinics. We liked her so much and she had so much fun that she returned again for part of the 2011 season as a senior counselor and instructor. So she has experienced Longacres from multiple viewpoints! She is now a 20 – something Medical student in Atlanta. She loves to talk about Longacres.
Debra H. - is a mother of Sydney who will be returning to Longacres in 2013 for her seventh summer, coming this year as a Junior Counselor. Debra has attended the Longacres mother - daughter week or Lazy Days week herself several times with her girls. Her family also has boarded of our horses, "Star" and “Lincoln”, over the winter. Debra is from central New York, but the family is living overseas this year. We’re pleased that Sydney is able to fly half way around the world to be at Longacres in the summer.
Kathryn L. – Kathryn was a Longacres camper herself some years ago and is mom of second generation Longacres rider, Ale, who is 12 years old and is returning to Longacres for her second year in 2013. Ale came to us as a complete beginner last summer, and was cantering and jumping after three weeks! Kathryn and Ale are from NYC and are glad to have us give you their email contact if you’d like to talk with them, but prefer not to have it listed publicly here.
Mandy - Mandy Bartlett was our head instructor for the first part of 2009. Mandy spent several years at Longacres as a student, a year as Program Director, and was head of riding here in 2007 and part of 2008. She has her own horses and majored in equine science at college. Mandy's home is in Massachusetts and she went to college in Vermont. She'll be glad to correspond if you have questions about getting ready for Longacres. She was a valuable part of Longacres for many years, and is now leading every Longacres girl’s dream – as an adult, she has her own horse farm!!!!
Sharon W. - Sharon has been attending Longacres mother - daughter week or our adult week with her 16 year old daughter Laura for seven years. Laura has spent month long sessions at Longacres and knows all the ropes. Sharon has become good friends with Meghan and knows a lot about our philosophy of running a camp and a riding program. Sharon and Laura are good contacts for new parents who want some reassurance about Longacres before signing up. Laura and Sharon are from New Jersey. They almost always winter lease one or more of our horses, Bristol this year.
Kay H. - is the mother of Kellie, listed above. They were at Longacres together for "Mother - Daughter Week" for several years. Kay is a good friend of Longacres and knows how we think and what we try to do here at the farm. Kay is from Texas, where she winters several Longacres horses for us. She’s sometimes hard to reach, since she is a mom, business woman, horse farm owner, AND manages her daughter’s private school! (How do you do it all, Kay!?!)
Meghan Marie Kranz - "Well, YES!" I have been sitting here for two hours with wife Meghan updating this Pen Pals and References page. And I am not going to let her get away without being formally listed as a Longacres Pen Pal. She is that, believe me! I often go to sleep at night to the sound of Meghan tapping out late night answers to all of you on her trusty iBook! She loves hearing from you all and corresponding about anything Longacres. Meghan pretty much runs Longacres - or gets stuck with all the work, depending on your point of view. She will be a biased reference, of course, but all our other references will vouch for her unflinching honesty and realism about Longacres and all that we have to offer. AND for her incredible work ethic. Meghan talks on AVERAGE over an hour on the phone with new camp prospects over the winter making sure that you know all that you should before choosing Longacres for your child.
- Tom Kranz
(Valerie was a first time student for August, 2011 and returned for August 2012)
Dear Tom and Meghan,
Thank you both for an unforgettable experience! I had the most amazing 3 and a half weeks. I wanted to let you know that after looking back at pictures from the beginning of the session right up to pictures from the fair, I'm pleasantly shocked to see how far I came with my riding. I can't wait to show my trainer (who happens to be named Barb :D) how much I've improved. I look forward to taking what I learned from camp and applying it in my weekly lessons. I so wish that I could have taken Zanee home to continue with my newfound love of jumpers. She really made camp all the more special for me and I miss her already! Thank you again for this unique opportunity to truly immerse myself in riding unlike anywhere else I've been. Camp was everything I could have hoped for and more!
I just wanted take a minute to thank you and Tom for both the attention and care that my precious baby has gotten. I hear in her voice how much she has grown and enjoyed the summer. I can see from the pictures how much she is learning and what incredible new experiences she is having with your guidance and thru the camp. These are truly days that will shape her in the future and the two of you have made them such a positive challenge.
Wishing you a good rest of the summer,
A Great Letter
It's always nice to hear from former students. I'm sorry when I hear that they can't return to Longacres, but I feel all the work we do is worthwhile when we get letters like the following. This letter came from Shelly L. and her mom several years ago, and I reprint it here with their permission. Thank you Shelly and Julie for your very kind comments about Longacres, and best wishes to you, Shelly, for a great future riding career!!!!!!!!!!
We got your letter and news letter and application regarding camp this
summer. Shelly will not be attending this year, however I would love to
tell you what she has been up to. I think you will be proud.
When she got home from camp last year and went back to her lessons, her
instructor could not believe how far she had come in just two weeks. Horse
back riding has just snow-balled from there. Shelly worked as a counselor
at her barn (The Ridge) for the remainder of the summer. In October we half
leased a horse for her. So she has her own horse, she is a working student
at her barn, she gets a lesson a week for working and one I pay for.
In January the instructor who is part owner of the stable, who was touring
in New Zealand came back and saw Shelly ride. Well she has kind of taken
Shelly under her wing. She says that Shelly has incredible natural talent.
They will be on the road most of the summer showing with AHSA.
Since you are the one who gave Shelly first her real taste of working with
horses and you were her first really strict instructor, I just wanted to
I remember something you said to us last summer. You said that when other
people teach the kids after you have taught them, you want them to say Wow
who taught this kid! not Oh my god who taught this kid? You can be assured
that everyone at The Ridge and now at Rabbit Hill Farm were saying Wow who
taught this kid. And her current instructor is the same way, strict, but a
great teacher. And she believes in Shelly and really wants Shelly to go
I thought you would be interested in seeing where one of your campers has
moved onto. Thank you for everything."
Julie L. (Shelly's Mom).
Below: Great letter from long time Longacres mom, Debbie
Tom (and of course Meghan),
First I hope you are having a good winter. Ours has had ups and downs with snow and ice. The girls have been hoping for a snow day (no school) or at least a delay. Unfortunately, neither has happened.
As a camper during Mother/Daughter/Alumni Week I had the opportunity to experience LA first had. The camp cottages, bunk beds, Perfume Lagoon, shower house, etc. There was also a cabin party given by Meghan late one night. Real food as my girls put it, not a lot of quick fix stuff, for meals. The camaraderie among the campers and staff in all aspects of LA - cleaning stalls, riding, doing laundry, shopping, etc. Of course the best part of LA is the riding. Being at LA a week early gave us a sense of accomplishment as the horses arrived. We trimmed manes, brushed and jumped several for the first time in months. The instruction was wonderful with a demanding instructor. The videos (the first I have ever had done) were very educational. During this time the campers were given a lot of latitude (trust by Meghan and you) and expected to complete tasks with minimal guidance. A real education and training experience for some. Though I was quite a bit older than the other campers, everyone made me feel at home, not "the mom" on site.
As the parent of two campers, it has been a wonderful experience. As you know Beth (16 at the time) attended LA for two weeks the first year based on the encouragement of Emilee. Beth loved the camp and did not want to leave. She begged me to let her stay longer. She said it was the best instruction she had ever received. She raved about the meals, time at the mall, dinners out and the opportunity to compete in some very demanding jumper shows. The second year she stayed for a month and brought her horse Baxter (a.k.a. Polka Dot Soxs). Again she had a great time and Baxter learned some new skills. She returned home excited and ready to enter several jumper shows in the fall. Beth wanted to return to LA for the Jumper Derby in August however, we were not able to do so. This year the demands of preparing to attend Wilson College in Sept will preclude her from attending LA. If possible, she would like to enter Baxter in the Jumper Derby this Aug.
Michelle (now age 13), a.k. a. "Da Child", could not be happier at LA. Her riding skills were such that she had outgrown the riding camp she had attended for 3 years. At the urging of Beth she went to LA last summer for 4 weeks. She really enjoyed everything about the camp. She especially liked riding in all the jumper shows she could (a real treat over the number of shows I let her ride in during the regular year). We all know how she fell in love with Jenna. Jenna is now a very happy part of our family thanks to your help. Michelle loved LA so much she asked to return this summer as soon as the registration information was available. Besides the regular camp she really wanted to return for Mother/Daughter Week, which we are doing. She thought it was great painting, making jumps, training incoming horses, hammering, planting flowers and all the other activities she did to help open the camp for the official season. She will bring Jenna this summer. We know she and her horse will be in good hands during their time at LA.
Meghan and you could not be better suited for this enterprise. Both of you are very caring, placing the welfare of the campers first. When there were some homesickness concerns last summer, both of you were very supportive of the issue. The concerns were addressed immediately and I received several follow-ups.
Also I want parents to know this camp is not just for the advanced rider. Some of the campers attending LA are a bit on the novice side (myself included). You were extremely patience with us, teaching some basics before launching into more advanced lessons. Every rider (skill wise) has a place at LA and every camper supports the accomplishments of the various individuals.
Guess I've rambled on long enough. Looking forward to seeing Meghan and you in June.
- What can we say? Meghan and I can only hope that if you are reading Debbie's letter above as a possible new student or parents of such, we will be able to give you the kind of successful summer horse experiences that we have given to Debbie and her children! - Tom & Meghan Kranz, owner Longacres Riding Camp
AND one more letter that came to us in January 2005:
(introduction from Tom) - If I told you that I just got a letter from "Karina Busch", it might not immediately ring a bell. But if I told you that I just got a letter from the former Longacres student who is shown jumping "Tip-off" 5'3" in the old promotional video, and also riding "Tip-off" at Erie County Fair, probably everyone who has been to Longacres in the past fifteen years will know who I mean. Letters like this are what make this job worthwhile:
I was surfing on the Chronicle of the Horse bulletin board and someone was asking about riding camps. I told them about you but said I didn't know if Longacres was still offering camps. Imagine my delight to see you guys still going strong, and also my surprise and glee to see so many of my old friends still there doing a great job teaching new generations of students. Pep Pat, Missy, Brownie, Dipper, Joey!! No horse will ever replace Tip Off. Ahhh, the memories. She was by far the best horse I ever rode, and I have ridden a lot of VERY fancy expensive horses since, and none could touch her. How I miss her.
Ahhh, the good old days. I am living in Lexington, KY now and am doing my residency in Emergency Medicine. I did eventing for a long time and have now come to my senses and switched back to jumpers. I now have an almost 6yo Zangersheide Holsteiner gelding who is still green but can JUMP THE MOON!! You would LOVE him! I'll try and attach a pic. I am not as good as I was back in the glory days, but when my residency is finished hopefully I will have more time and money and can ride several a day again rather than one horse just a couple days a week.
Anyway, I am thrilled to see you are still doing well and are even still at your old Mr. Mud antics! I still hope to come for a visit one day, and I still hope to make the Team someday so you can say "we knew her when". :) You taught me soooo much and I never had as much opportunity or as much fun as I did there.
All my best to you!
PS: Pix of Lantus Z, aka Linus, aka Biggie below... :) My BABY!"
Below: Picture of former Longacres rider Karina Busch jumping one of her horses, Contempo in the fall of 2012; dreams do sometimes come true for 12 year old Longacres horse lovers!: