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Horsemanship, Camaraderie For Riders Of All Ages

Duncraven Equestrian Center

Shawn Stout grew up helping with his family’s transportation business and his family's farm, where he learned to ride horses and maintain the stables. Eventually, he became part-owner of the family business alongside his two brothers.

Shortly following a trip to Wyoming with his father and brothers, which renewed Shawn’s love of horses, he recalls passing by the Duncraven Equestrian Center in Titusville, noticing a 'For Sale' sign. "I could clearly picture in my mind its beauty once restored," he adds, conveying to his family members his idea for a new family business to share their passion with riders of all ages, teaching them the horsemanship and camaraderie central to the sport. 

By December of 2021, the property became the Stouts' to enjoy and nurture.

Pam Long Niederer, manager of the Club at Duncraven, the center’s all-new clubhouse, describes Duncraven's history. “Duncraven in the 1990s through 2000s was a premier, state-of-the-art facility," she says. "The Stout family’s vision was to bring it back to its former glory, improve upon it and put it back on the map.”

The 60-acre property has access to trails, as well as Washington Crossing Park. Shawn and his family worked diligently to re-open the property in early 2022 after undergoing extensive renovations, which are ongoing.

“With a farm this size, we’re always going to be upgrading and improving,” says Pam, excited to speak of the property’s restored barn with 35 brand-new stalls, along with new roof and siding.

In addition to the center's two, outdoor warm-up rings and three renovated outdoor show rings, a large indoor arena features state-of-the-art F.I.C.S. fusion footing, LED lighting and innovative technologies, she says. These include a misting system and an upper-level, temperature-controlled lounge to view the festivities.

The new Duncraven Equestrian Center is, for one, a horse-boarding facility. In September, the center began accepting boarders as individuals who own horses and pay the center a monthly fee for feeding and caretaking. Riding lessons with the center’s trainers are available to boarders and those without their own horses, as Duncraven has its own horses available for lessons. In addition to boarding and providing custom lessons for riders and horses, the center offers horses available for sale or lease.

Kim Wickenden, with 40 years of professional experience working and training with Olympic gold medalists and other professionals, is Duncraven’s resident trainer. Before turning professional, Kim was a former WEF Circuit Champion two consecutive years. She qualified for the Amateur World Cup and competed in championships at Devon, Washington and Hampton Classic. At Duncraven, she provides lessons to individuals of all ages and skill levels, from beginners to advanced riders, some of whom compete at shows. Kim shares her longtime dedication and horsemanship with students in a program that emphasizes the importance of a complete understanding of each animal.

These days, Duncraven regularly hosts hunter jumper horse shows open to boarders and other riding enthusiasts year-round on all-weather footing, while winter shows are hosted indoors. The large property offers generous space for parking as well as food trucks, sponsors, vendors and jump rental.

The center also hosts clinics led by expert and competitive equestrians. These events draw numerous spectators, especially when well-known riders visit, such as Olympic Gold and Silver Medalist Joe Fargis. The USEF Lifetime Achievement Award recipient hosted a two-day clinic for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders at the center in December.

While Shawn says his family's intent was to restore the facility’s original luster, they also were given an idea to improve upon the original. Duncraven Equestrian Center’s extensive renovations also include the Club at Duncraven, which brings "a country-club lifestyle to an equestrian facility," describes Pam, making it an integral part of the community.

The clubhouse includes space for events and private parties, a fully upgraded private shower and locker room and an impressive lounge area with a refrigerator stocked with refreshments. Membership, which is open to individuals, couples and families as well as boarders and non-boarders, includes four lessons a month using one of the center’s horses. It also includes full access to the clubhouse for “a place to hang out before and after riding,” says the Club manager. A children's play area at the Club will be completed in 2023.

Pam shares that she first explored her love of horses as a child while living in Pennington, eventually becoming a junior equestrian. After receiving a college degree, she worked in advertising and lived in Arizona for nine years before returning home to Jersey. When her two young sons showed an interest in trail riding, she saw an opportunity to re-explore her own earlier passion. Living near Duncraven, she stopped in one day to show her interest and support. The Stouts approached Pam with a new concept that evolved into the Club at Duncraven, a wonderful enhancement to the property. 

“I really wanted to be a part of their vision,” she says. Pam got her wish when she was asked to join the team as Duncraven's Club manager.

While Pam and the rest of the team work hard, she says she has developed a bond with her colleagues because they share the same passion. “People who work with horses do it because they love being around them,” she says. “It's more than a job but a way of life.”

She adds, “We also have a lot of fun. It’s a business, and we’ve got a great team. We all enjoy being here.”

609.281.7181
DuncravenEC.com

“People who work with horses love being around them. It’s more than a job but a way of life.”

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