Horsing Around

Unplug With Saddlewood Horse Club

While driving on Saddlewood Lane, country views of amber cattle, billy goats and Shetland ponies replace daily worries and busy schedules.  It hardly feels like suburban Southwest Cape Coral!   Saddlewood Horse Club, 16111 Saddlewood Ln, Cape Coral, not just an oasis for horse enthusiasts and kids, has something for everyone.

This member-only Horse club, owned and operated for over 10 years by the Sdrenka family, specializes in group and private riding lessons.  Saddlewood offers leasing and boarding services, flat-rate birthday parties, and Horse Interaction Day.  Saddlewood boasts a lake, covered riding arena, race track, hunter jumper ring, dressage arena, 60-feet round-arena, and various grazing pastures. Knowledgeable staff work with many types of horses and riders, riding styles and experience levels.

German Roots, American Wings

Christina Sdrenka, Saddlewood’s hardworking and humorous matriarch was born in Hamburg, Germany. Sdrenka’s relationship with horses began at four.  Her mother and aunt were both riders, but it was a stable she biked an hour through the woods to that provided a solid foundation in horsemanship.

Without extra money, Sdrenka worked mucking stalls, gaining immeasurable knowledge along the way and paving her way to a spot on a competitive cross-country driving team. Working and riding for a variety of different stables in these early years, Sdrenka rubbed elbows with the best riders in the business.  Alongside the most distinguished dressage riders the word around, Sdrenka learned the intricacies of the discipline.  She continued competing until her husband thought maybe it was time to slow things down and start a family. Slowing down is not Sdrenka’s style, but during a pregnancy she agreed it was time for a change, leaving those competitive reins behind, and spreading her wings to the United States.

These days, Sdrenka’s four amazing children, Phil, Ricky, Jenny, and Henry work in the barn.  Ricky, a determined trainer and instructor, is developing a client-base of his own.  Jenny, Sdrenka’s “mini-me”, and fun-loving Henry are junior instructors and work well with Saddlewood’s youngest riders. The Sdrenka family epitomizes teamwork, dedication, commitment, and love.

Bring the Kids

Sdrenka, a Certified Horsemanship Association instructor, trained in Jumping and English and Western riding, meets the diverse needs of her clients.  Vacation lesson are available.

“We primarily have vacation riders from Europe and Canada, but really from all over the world.”

Saddlewood enjoys creating those childhood memories with flat-rate birthday party packages that include riding, grooming, small animal interaction, and the ever-popular- Paint-a-pony.  Once a month they host Horse Interaction Day, providing children a chance to interact with the animals, ride ponies and horses, experiencing life on a horse farm. Summer and holiday vacation day-camps are available for kids between the ages of 4-16. All staff are background-checked and well-versed in working with children with diverse backgrounds and various disabilities.

Christina explains the mission, “We do more than lessons.  It’s not about producing ribbons and champion riders, but developing a love for the animals.”

And that is just what you’ll see at Saddlewood Horse Club, children outside in the sunshine, breathing fresh air while loving and caring for animals. Riders build confidence by working through obstacles and attaining goals, developing life-skills that transfers into other aspects of their lives. Even though, Saddlewood has many activities for children, it’s for kids of all ages.

Adults Welcome!

Saddlewood’s oldest rider is 86 years old. Sdrenka remembers,

“I had a rider over 80. Grooming the horse was hard for him, but he would brush the tail. It took two of us to lift him on the horse, but he loved to ride. He told me one day he bought a motorcycle. He was great!  I don’t even think he told his wife he came.”

Sdrenka comments on her adult clients,

“We accommodate wives that want something to do while their husband golfs, moms that once rode and now that their children are riding want to get back to it. We have people that just retired, but don’t want to stay in the house all day. I had a client going on cattle drives out west with his son. He took some lessons before he left.”

If you want to introduce your children to horsemanship, want back in the saddle yourself, want special birthday memories, are seeking adventure (no experience necessary!), or are switching up your workout routine (your thighs will thank you!) visit CapeHorses.com to schedule an appointment.