by Pam Stein Moeck
This was an especially cool interview for me because I’ve known hunter/jumper trainer Ginny Plancke for many years and have ridden with her as long, not only with my previous horse but now with my current horse Lucy. Ginny was instrumental in training Lucy, a hot red thoroughbred mare I got as a two-year-old from Auction Horses Rescue. Couldn’t have done it without her. Ginny’s calm way of teaching and quiet riding style is something I have always admired.
Ginny and her husband Stephan moved to Los Angeles with the thought of chasing the California dream. Coming from New York and the Westchester area where Ginny rode and trained horses, she thought she would just take her time, and decide what she wanted to do. However, on a walk from her and Stephan’s one-bedroom apartment in Burbank, she landed right in the right place at the right time, the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. There she started riding and working for a trainer who ultimately sold Ginny his business. And Ever Wood was born.
Growing up Ginny started as a once-a-week rider at CW Post College on Long Island with Gloria Manning. She quickly went from once a week to bi-weekly to, after a few years, owning her own horse. She then began her professional career driving to multiple locations to ride and train horses.
Now, 20 years later, Ever Wood is a thriving business. With an exceptionally large group of kids and adorable ponies, plus an amazing group of amateurs of all levels, myself included. Ginny prides herself on creating a family atmosphere. She wants Ever Wood to be a place where riders of all ages find joy and encouragement. She truly enjoys seeing kids take their first lessons, and as some of her pony riders did, go all the way to Kentucky for the summer to ride and compete in the Pony Finals. Ginny also loves the adult riders. They, she says, come with baggage and stressors from work and home life. She gets great fulfillment from seeing them relax, enjoy, and set everything aside to be in the moment with their horses.
Included in her “family” are the grooms, farriers, and veterinarians who have been with her for many years and her amazing assistants.
Speaking of assistants, Ginny has a special bond with both of them as Rose Kauffman-Skloff and Rainy Diforte were her previous students who became professionals. Both of these young women have a world of Ginny knowledge to pass on to their students. And both came into the business from different angles.
Rose has ridden at Ever Wood since she herself was a pony rider. Competing many times at the prestigious Pony Finals. She showed competitively throughout her junior year and finished her amateur year by winning the CPHA medal finals on her amazing horse Mac Miller. She then left for college and came back ready to become Ginny’s right hand. Rose says she feels very honored to work at Ever Wood. She says it’s so rewarding watching her students reach their goals. She herself has the goal of competing in the Derby Finals on her horse Jack that she raised from a foal.
Rainy, started with Ginny as a working student. Learning all aspects of horse care and horsemanship. Working her way up to now being not only a full-time college student but an integral part of the barn’s daily routine. She feels so lucky to get to work with horses. Something she’s always wanted to do.
When I asked Ginny how it felt to have these two amazing women as part of her legacy she said, “It was just fantastic, I’m so proud to have two people with absolute integrity working with me.”
When talking to Ginny about her goals for Ever Wood she was very clear, to keep a positive environment for growth and to nurture the development of every rider that comes for a lesson.
Horsemanship is also very important to the Ever Wood team. Everyone participates in the barn chores. Cleaning tack, grazing horses, and kids enjoying their barn time is commonplace. Kids making lasting friendships, traveling to away shows together and everyone enjoying quiet time with their horses are part of what makes Ever Wood unique. Truly a home away from home.
Ever Wood Stables is located at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, 480 W Riverside Drive, in Burbank. To reach Ginny call 818-846-2015.