Riding in Laurel: North Fork Sunday Scene

Hedgewood Farm horse

Nancy Mullady of Southold grooms her horse Chelsea  earlier this week. “She is pretty much my whole life — my gym, my therapy, all in one,” she said. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

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.

See more pics below.

Your North Fork Sunday Scene features weekly snap shots of life on Long Island’s top fork

Hedgewood Farm owner and instructor Dawn Hommel (right) teaches Giavonna Scharf, 9, of Southold, to jump over a cavaletti.

Hedgewood Farm owner and instructor Dawn Hommel (right) teaches Giavonna Scharf, 9, of Southold, to jump over a cavaletti.

Elle O'Neill, 7, of Peconic, rides Pebbles the pony led by staffer Jacey Lengyel of Cutchogue

Elle O’Neill, 7, of Peconic, rides Pebbles the pony led by staffer Jacey Lengyel of Cutchogue

Elle O'Neill, 7, of Peconic, poses with pony Pebbles after her lesson.

Elle O’Neill, 7, of Peconic, poses with pony Pebbles after her lesson.

Big A and Papi are friends.

Big A and Papi are friends.

Dawn with her favorite horse, Ruby, an Oldenburg, which she rescued from an abusive owner two years ago.

Dawn with her favorite horse, Ruby, an Oldenburg, which she rescued from an abusive owner two years ago.

Previous North Fork Sunday Scenes:

Spring plowing at Sang Lee Farms

Baby chicks in Riverhead

Early spring blooms

Peacocks in Southold

Roaming the pasture at McCall Vineyards and Ranch

A Southold ‘Renaissance’ man

Winter at the Beach

Sunset over the Sound

An early harbinger of spring

A field of geese? Look again

A North Fork snow day

A New Suffolk Ave. sunset drive

Icicles form at Iron Pier Beach

Birds of many feathers in Riverhead

Blanket-wrapped horses

Katahdin sheep in Jamesport

Late fall harvest at Andrews Family Farm

Feisty Acres quail farm

Fall art in the fields

North Fork fall foliage

Healing with Horses

Harvest is coming

CSA pickup day at Biophilia

A postcard from Love Lane

Bring on summer

A stroll down Oregon Road

‘Zenful’ flowers in Baiting Hollow

Hello from this North Fork mama and her babies

North Fork asparagus is here