North Fork Equestrian celebrates the timeless tradition of horseback riding

A world-class environment, including indoor ring suitable for all levels


Think of horseback riding, and that age-old tradition is likely to evoke iconic archetypal images of chivalrous knights in shining armor on a quest, stately queens making a grand entrance at the castle gates while riding aloft a white horse side-saddle, heroic princes saving the day, as well as rugged all-American cowboys, intrepid pioneers, and daring explorers making their way triumphantly across the plains in search of new adventures and success. With all these mythic connotations and more, it’s no wonder that today, many are called to continue this more than 1,000-year-old tradition, in a 21st-century way.

Today, if someone rides horses, it’s usually for the sheer enjoyment of the boundless freedom it imparts. However, there are also more practical reasons for becoming a modern-day equestrian, including but not limited to, equine therapy, stress-reduction, keeping your brain sharp, and reducing anxiety by initiating a calm and focused flow state, inherent in the delicate balance between horse and rider. Being an equestrian, one also gleans the immense confidence it takes to pick up the reins in all areas, while also staying open to wherever life takes you. Horseback riding is also an exciting addition to your physical fitness regimen. It strengthens a variety of muscles throughout the body, offers a great tune-up for your ticker, and improves posture. Being in nature also reduces stress itself, but with winter here, it’s also great that riders have options for an expansive, climate-controlled ring to continue to reap all the benefits of the stately sport throughout the year, and North Fork Equestrian is an ideal option in this regard.

Escape the post-holiday doldrums this winter and consider booking a session at the North Fork’s preeminent equestrian facility. Situated on more than 21 acres of bucolic farmland and conveniently located in Riverhead, this idyllic, top-of-the-line equestrian facility, at the gateway to Long Island’s legendary East End, was designed with both amateur jumpers and Grand Prix athletes in mind, as well as everyone in between. North Fork Equestrian features a 78-by-185-foot indoor riding area, which is welcoming to both horse and rider with its state-of-the-art, dust-free footing and surrounding mirrors, to monitor your form and to get to see the fabled version of yourself reflected atop a trusty steed. There is also an insulated ceiling and a stereo system throughout to keep your spirits lifted. The spacious, high-end facility has dozens of stalls of various sizes to accommodate each rider and horse’s needs, and a 220-by-160-foot outdoor ring, with sure footing that consists of felt fibers and sand, with ideal drainage and layout. This allows all-year riding opportunities to give each equestrian a satisfying experience amid the picturesque landscape, featuring sweeping acres of green grass and landscaped trees.

The manager of North Fork Equestrian, as well as a trainer, Deborah Moore, explained the benefits of horseback riding and what sets their facility apart: “It’s a better workout than cardio. If you’re looking for something to take you away, you need to just deal with riding. Life is stressful. Plus, you get the added benefit of working with an animal. That’s its uniqueness. The indoor riding area attached to the barn is rare as well.”

The owner and operator of North Fork Equestrian is Dennis Katevatis. For nearly 50 years, the successful entrepreneur has been the catalyzing force behind his renowned home-improvement company, Shells Only Complete Home Improvements. An amateur rider and equine enthusiast, Katevatis has always had a passion for riding, but amid the responsibilities of both raising a family and building a business, for many years, it left him little time for an avocation. However, he did impart his affinity for horses onto his granddaughter, Victoria Manzitto, who first sat on a horse at just 6 months old. She has now grown into an accomplished up-and-coming equestrian, with aspirations of becoming a career rider. When the opportunity to purchase the equestrian property came along, the timing was right, and, with his granddaughter’s encouragement, he embarked on his latest endeavor.

Manzitto cited the “bond between rider and horse” as one of the most remarkable aspects of her chosen career path.

Throughout years of personal experience as a horse owner, Katevatis experienced the joys as well as the frustrations of horse ownership, such as dusty barns, unmanicured rings, lackluster care, and barn drama. These cautionary tales served as the blueprint on how to build a welcoming facility and create the supportive culture of North Fork Equestrian. Why not check out the equestrian facility, right in our own area, that would impress even Grand Prix athletes, but with a best-of-both-worlds atmosphere that makes it also feel like a day at the park? North Fork Equestrian is a stress-free, family-friendly environment with world-class trainers, pristine indoor and outdoor rings, adventurous fun, unique jump opportunities, and a sense of community with those who have a shared passion for the indescribable bond between horse and rider, which is unlike any other.

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