Blankenship realized he had the horseback-riding bug the first time he mounted up at the Jamaica Bay stables.
“I learned how to drive a car just so I could get to Jamaica Bay,” he said.
From there, he began taking regular lessons, but going to the stables from south Brooklyn every day became taxing, and eventually Blankenship got his own horse and boarded it at Kensington.
“After a while, wanting to ride more and more and more, I wanted a horse and I didn’t want to have to travel,” Blankenship said.
Then, in 1993, he and his family bought Kensington Stables, originally built in 1930. At the time, there were only a few horses on hand and now there are 35 horses at the stable, including two therapy horses and eight ponies.
While Blankenship admits it takes a special kind of horse to do well in the urban environment, he says it is a misconception that horses are disturbed by automobiles and do not like walking on asphalt, which he points out was developed by the Romans specifically for horses to walk on.
“Horses don’t treat cars any different from any non-equine herd animal,” he said. “They’re annoying, and they should give you sufficient space, but horses don’t really view [vehicles] as some kind of threat.”
While a portion of Blankenship’s time is spent performing nitty-gritty tasks, some of his responsibilities can be pretty relaxing. For example, he loves training younger horses.
“Especially the youngest ones,” Blankenship said. “[I like] to train them at midnight, so that way, they don’t have to deal with all the stuff in the park.”