Cassandra Lacitignola is a horse riding instructor and trainer for Jamaica Bay Riding Academy. She has about 17 years of experiences with horses and says that, at times, she feels closer to them than to other people. In this piece, she describes the various characteristics of horses.

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Cassandra Lacitignola is a 23-year-old horse riding instructor and trainer at Jamaica Bay Riding Academy located at 7000 Shore Parkway in Brooklyn, New York. She started riding at the age of six and now has 17 years of experience training, grooming and riding horses.

Jamaica Bay Riding Academy is a family-owned business that has been open since 1972 with over 400 acres of nature trails. They also lease space to horse owners and part of her job is to exercise these horses while they are kept on premises.

She says that the worst thing that a horse can do is pin its ears flat against its head. This means that the horse is angry and could attack at any moment but only if provoked.

St. Patrick Day is approaching and the horses at Jamaica Bay Riding Academy march in the parade every year.

It is Lacitignola’s responsibility to also cut the manes of the horses and prepare the horses for this big event.

In addition, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been trying to ban horse carriages in NYC. Animal rights organizations have supported the mayor saying that horse carriages are inhumane and cruel to horses, which has led to several of the horses’ deaths.

Lacitignola is aware of the concerns of these activist groups but believes that the horses were bred to be able to carry a certain amount of weight for horse carriage riding and, as long as they are not being abused, these riders should have the right to earn a living in this manner.


(00:06)Horses will never lie to you.

There not always perfect but they’re just easier to trust than people.

My name is Cassandra Lacitignola. I am a riding instructor here at Jamaica Bay Riding Academy.

My sister started riding when she was 9. So I always went with her to her riding lessons and then as soon as I was big enough, I started riding. It’s been my entire life.

00: 47) I wouldn’t normally describe myself as a people person.

Horses are very loving and caring and if you are into horses or horseback riding or anything like that, it’s a passion. You should never work a day in your life.

01:04) Some of them love each other. Some of them, like, get along. There’s always, like, the head of the herd. Everyone listens to them and if like a new guy comes in then they get, like, initiated.

01;22) Ponies are crafty. They are really really smart because they’ll get out and they’ll squirm around. They’ll run under something. They’ll move logs out of their way. They’ll jump over stuff and just run around improperly.

01:39) Sometimes they can be difficult if they are in a scary situation. Their automatic reaction is to get away from it so if you are standing on the side that they are moving toward, sometimes they will hit right into you.

02: 41) They never seem to intentionally do any harm to you but sometimes it is an accident. They are big animals and if you get in the way, you are in trouble.

02:22) I could work in an office everyday and deal with it, but I’d be dealing with it, I wouldn’t be happy.

02:28) So that’s why I do this.

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