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Explore the Beauty of Goddard Park on Horseback at C & L Stables

By Kelly Church

Located in the former plantation Goddard Memorial State Park, C and L Stables offers horseback riding, English and Western riding lessons, summer camps and private party rentals in Warwick, RI. Owned and operated by mother-daughter duo Lee and Toni Phillips, the pair brings more than 40 years of experience with horses to the stables. For Lee, Goddard Park horse stables are part of her roots, going as far back as the late 1970s.

"I actually started riding when I was ten," Lee says. "I worked at the first horse rental trail rides on Block Island[, RI] when I was 12 years old, then the following year I got a job at the old Goddard Park Stables back in 1978 to 1984."

Flash-forward to present day, Lee and her daughter are managing the 18-miles worth of horse trails. All experience levels are able to take the trail and beach rides, as long as the rider is seven years or older. Horseback rides last between 90 minutes and two hours. The Bayside Cove ride covers the East Greenwich Cove on the southwest end of Goddard Memorial State Park. The trails, according to Lee, are maintained well. Experiences on the trails have gained a following over the years, especially among families.

"We do have a following -- people that ride every week and also folks that come back every summer with their families," Lee says. "We are very family oriented."

For children specifically, C and L Stables incorporates private and semi-private riding lessons, and summer camps. Camps are held in July and August and are weeklong immersions in horsemanship. Students learn ring work and trail riding in addition to barn management. Last year, the summer camp participated in arts and crafts where the kids made their own cowgirl and cowboy hats. Lee says they try to keep no more than four kids to one weeklong camp session to allow the kids to experience the most hands-on practice possible.

"They get hands-on handling [with] the horses and two hours of riding each day, so it is a great camp for kids who want to learn horsemanship and get their hands dirty," says Lee. "We like to inspire the kids. I've actually inspired quite a few successful horsemen and women over the last 30 years."

For those nervous about the safety of horseback riding, C and L Stables received the Safety Award from the North American Horseman Association every year from 2004 to 2013. They ensure students are wearing helmets and distractions including cell phones are put away during the ride. If that wasn't enough, they earned 2010's "One of the 10 best things to do" awards from Rhode Island Monthly. They suggest calling before to reserve spots for day horseback rides, especially during the peak summer months, as spots can fill quickly. Camp sign ups open on the first of June.

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