Hedgewood Farm co-owner and riding teacher Dawn Hommel sat on the side of the instruction ring in the warm sunlight Thursday afternoon softly commenting to Elle O’Neill, 7, of Peconic as the young student rode on a pony named ‘Pebbles’.
“Good girl. Keep smiling. Good old lady (the horse). Relax. Enjoy it. Have fun. That was awesome today kiddo,” she said.
Dawn practically was born on a horse. Her mother Jeanette Hommel founded the 12-acre Laurel farm and stable a couple years before she was born in 1982. Now 32, Dawn has been teaching since she was 18.
“I love the kids. I enjoy watching them grow, excel and meet achievements that they never thought were possible. And it keeps them out of trouble,” she said.
Dawn teaches six days a week, sometimes as many as 30 lessons a week. She said all are private lessons, not group, because she believes kids learn better in a one-on-one setting.
“They have my undivided attention,” she said.
She also runs a four-week “Pony Camp” in June, July and August. The camps runs Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Ten kids can be enrolled in the program at a time.
“You have to do what you love. When I get up in the morning I’m excited to do my job, my work,” she said.
For more information on Hedgewood Farm, call (631) 298-9181 or visit their Facebook page. The farm is located at 4000 Main Road, Laurel.
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