Tandum team at C&L Stables

Posted 7/13/22


‘There’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.’ President Ronald Reagan

I agree.

And so does a heck of a lot of people …

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Tandum team at C&L Stables



‘There’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.’ President Ronald Reagan

I agree.

And so does a heck of a lot of people who come from areas far and wide to enjoy the beauty of Greenwich Bay and Goddard Memorial State Park riding one of God’s most special creatures – a horse.

C&L Stables, which operates under a special lease agreement with the State of Rhode Island, will soon be entering its 20th year of operation under the management and care of Lee Phillips. Lee will also soon announce the partnership, and eventual ownership of her long-time friend and employee, Danielle Duchesneau.

The transition is expected to be completed, with the approval of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (the official landlord) in early 2023.

To say that C&L has brought a lot of joy to children of all ages is a gross understatement.

The sheer joy of a young child getting positioned on top of a pony is about as all-American as it gets.

You have to wonder who enjoys it more – the child or the parent.

And the timeless serenity of older folks sitting atop their chosen horse as they ride along the bucolic trails is a satisfaction that you have to experience to truly enjoy.

A little background on owner Lee Phillips: Her family was originally from Block Island but she grew up in Warwick, graduating from Toll Gate High School in 1984. Her love of horses started early in life. “I had a pony on Block Island when I was a little girl, and then helped out at a local trail ride business (when she was 12),” Lee said. She then came to Goddard Park where she worked as a Trail Guide. Like most horse people, she’s not the least bit shy about expressing her feelings. She said, “I always loved horses. They’re a shadow of who you are.”

That devotion led Lee to taking on the concession contract 19 years ago. She’s never looked back. But owning a riding stable concession can be hard work, spending seven days a week caring for 24 horses that are the true stars of C&L Stables.

Each horse is unique, with very distinct personalities. It is not only an act of love to properly care for them the way that they do, but also a total commitment and devotion to the job.

Lee said simply “I’m tired. I’m getting ready to retire, but I want to make sure that it’s passed on to good hands.

Ready to do just that is her friend and co-worker Danielle Duchesneau, who has been riding the trails at C&L for 15 years.

Like Lee, she started riding when she was a little girl.

After her first pony ride she “fell in love with horses.” She enjoyed her first trail ride when she was 12, and a few years later worked at a friend’s business that brought a petting zoo and pony rides to people’s homes for birthday parties and other celebrations.

Danielle, originally from West Greenwich, graduated from Exeter-West Greenwich Regional High School in 1999. Like Lee, she is circumspect about her passion. She said simply “horses sooth your soul.”

She likes to tell stories about how it is not uncommon for people to be a little timid about getting on a horse for the first time and enjoying it so much that they later bought a horse of their own.

C&L Stables is simply a Rhode Island treasure.

Where at one time riding stables could be found throughout the state, they are now a dwindling entity. As mentioned earlier, C&L has the distinct advantage of being located in Goddard State Park, with miles of trails.

If you are a beginner to the sport, you can take the half-hour ride along the trails where one of the four expert trail guides will, according to Danielle “introduce the horse, show how to use the reins, how to sit properly on the saddle, how to balance and how to go up and down hills” among other things.

If you are a seasoned rider, you could enjoy an hour and 15-minute outing that includes riding on the beach in a designated area. And the cost is very reasonable, ranging from $35 for the beginner ride to $65 for the longer, more advanced ride.

C&L has also seen their share of celebrities, including actors, business leaders and politicians, who according to Lee “are mostly out-of-staters who come here for the beautiful views and the beach ride.”

Lee also had a hand in training the Providence Police horses and the Providence Mounted Command in years past.

When Lee Phillips finally retires (bet is she will never retire – just ease off a little), C&L will be in good hands after the transition to Danielle Duchesneau.

Rhode Island will keep a part of her history that started 20 years ago, thanks to a $1 million donation from The Champlin Foundation to build a horse-barn in Goddard State Park for families to enjoy horseback riding.

The trails will continue to see the first ride of a young child whose bright-eyed wonder about being on a horse is finally realized thanks to nervous parents, to the old cowboy who has a place to jump on a horse once again.

Ronald Reagan was right.

If you have never been on a horse do yourself a favor and take a ride to Goddard Park to see Lee and Danielle and the expert trail guides who can help you feel the majesty of riding atop one of God’s most magnificent creatures.

And a humble request from your faithful correspondent: if you do go riding, please save JC for me.

Love that horse.

C&L stables, horses


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