BRISTOL – Shepard Meadows Equestrian Center, Inc. is bringing back its Holiday Open House on Dec. 5, offering residents a chance to visit with the animals, participate in craft activities, and learn about the programs offered there.
The free Holiday Open House will be held for the third time this year from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the 26-acre equestrian center at 733 Hill St. Visitors can enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, crafts, a blacksmith shop demonstration, tour the farm, and visit with horses, goats and a mule.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn about programs including Therapeutic Riding, Horseback Riding, Horsemanship, Military Veterans and Youth Development Programs, as well as Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy.
Shelly Whitlock-Pope, executive director, said she is excited to invite the community back after the event was canceled last year due to the pandemic. In past years, she said, the event has drawn larger and larger crowds each time it was held.
“It’s a great way to kick-off the holidays, get some fresh air and learn about our programs,” she said. “The kids like to come and visit with the horses. This is the one time of year that we’re wide open for everyone to visit.”
For one of the craft activities, children will be able to frame wallet-sized photos of the equestrian center’s horses and decorate them.
The blacksmith demonstration will feature equipment which once belonged to the backyard shop of late city resident Norm Taillon. The equipment was given to Shepard Meadows after his death in 2013.
“Norn built this equipment himself and before he passed, he asked his wife to make sure that it went somewhere where it could be of use,” said Whitlock-Pope. “It was disassembled piece by piece, brought back over here and put together again. Kids are fascinated by it.”
Visitors will also be able to take a nature walk on Shepard Meadows’s sensory trail. At the top of the trail is a memorial for the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
For more information, call 860-314-0007 or visit shepardmeadows.org.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.