Welcome to Locally Grown! Locally Grown introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. Have you met this month’s featured business owner, Sue Leverick, yet? Sue is the owner of Millennium Farm in Mundelein.
My 7-year-old daughter has always claimed to be a horse lover, but she had really only ridden a pony in a circle at a fall farm. I was ready for her to know the joy, and hard work, of truly loving horses. We chose Sue Leverick and Millennium Farm for her very first horseback riding lesson. With Sue’s lifelong passion for animals and the farm’s 15-year-old legacy, I knew we were in great hands.
What first struck me as we walked into the stable was how CLEAN it was. It smelled like sweet hay and fresh breeze, not what you would typically associate with a barn. And it was the only stable I’ve even been in with a chandelier!
Sue’s training philosophy is definitely hands-on. Starting very early on, she teaches young riders to groom and care for the horse, even offering horsemanship classes which are solely focused on proper bathing and treatment. It was inspiring for my daughter to watch a young rider, not much older than herself, brush, saddle, and clean her horse’s hooves.
The other focus at Millennium Farm is on safety. Riders need to be six before they are able to start lessons, and, unlike other farms, Millennium Farm only offers one-on-one lessons to young riders.
“We don’t do camps for young riders because safety is our first priority. In a group you have young kids on 1,000 pound animals and you would have to turn your back on someone.” — Sue
During lessons, a trainer will be right next to the student and their horse for up to 6 months, or until the rider can safely control the horse by themselves. Then the teacher will move away for small increments of time, having the horse and rider come to them, until she feels comfortable that the rider is in control.
Although it was raining on the day we visited, my daughter was able to have her lesson in their warm indoor ring. The lesson began with her learning how to properly mount the horse. Then she was given instructions on steering and stopping. Throughout the lesson my daughter was given constant feedback on everything from her posture to how she was handling the reins. I watched her skills and confidence blossom by the minute. Towards the end of the lesson she was even able to guide the horse by herself and trot for a few steps. The look on her face was pure magic!
According to Sue, typical lessons last 30 minutes and would follow a similar fashion as the rider gains skill and independence on the horse. Lessons cost $50 each, or buy 10 get 1 free. Trainers spend about 10 hours a day at the farm and many lessons for kids are offered on evenings and weekends.
Now my daughter can honestly say she is a horse lover. In fact, her favorite part of her whole spring break was getting to trot on a horse. Now, guess what she wants for her birthday…. a pony!
If you’d like to check it out for yourself, Millennium Farm is offering Little Lake County readers an opportunity to buy one lesson for half price: $25 ($50 value). New students only.
(note: the entrance is actually off of LaVista Drive, across from the Steeple Chase Golf Club)
Disclosure: Millennium Farm is our featured Locally Grown Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact littlelakecounty[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our monthly series.