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Our Beginnings

Hello from Debbie Meeker, the Program Director! Most of you know The Camelot Center as we are now. But many may not know how it all started! Our founder, Karen Rathburn Uspenski, began taking riding lessons with her youngest son. Karen also had an older son, Anthony, who had cerebral palsy. Anthony often didn't want to get out of bed or dressed. Then one day, Anthony went to watch Mom and Sam take their lessons. Something in Anthony changed and when it was time for their next lesson, Karen found Anthony already up and dressed! Anthony wanted to ride, too! Finally there was an activity both her sons could enjoy together. So with a handful of children with cerebral palsy and a few horses, The Camelot Center was born in May of 1994. Our first rented barn was in Champion, OH, on Shaffer Rd. With the help of family and friends, the small stable and pastures was repaired and painted. Volunteers were recruited and lessons began. We then moved to another barn in Niles, then to Liberty Stables in Liberty township in 1995. This is where I began my journey of 28 years with Camelot. Now you may ask the reason for so many moves. Often we need to use the arena at specific days and times. That may interfere with the regular boarders wanting arena time. We've moved due to property being sold or issues with landlords. Things were good at Liberty Stables with indoor and outdoor riding areas plus trails through the woods and around the lake. We hosted many school groups and field trips. Then, once again, we were told the property was being sold. The search began for a suitable barn. We were offered the opportunity to bring our horses to the Equine Studies barn at Trumbull County Career Center in Champion. The first year of Equine Studies was held at Liberty Stables using our horses so we were familiar with their program. One year later we again packed and moved to a barn in Southington. We wanted our horses to be able to go out in pastures and the Equine Studies had no pastures. It was here that we got to know a local gentleman who showed a lot of interest in our program. I'm going to tell you the next chapter in The Camelot Center's life in my next blog in a few weeks.

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