Some are intimidated by horses, but Vicky DiGiovanni is not one of those people.

Some are intimidated by horses, but Vicky DiGiovanni is not one of those people.

She treats them like family.

"They're big animals, but they're so kind. And more people should be like that," DiGiovanni said with a laugh.

She opened the Canal Edge Equestrian Center earlier this month at the former Eagle's Nest location, 11641 Alspach Road, Canal Winchester.

The Canal Edge Equestrian Center offers horse boarding and Western and English riding lessons.

The rebuilt facility includes grass pastures, two heated indoor arenas, an outdoor pen and an outdoor riding area, according to the equestrian center's Web site,

DiGiovanni envisions holding shows on a regular basis at the 47-acre Bloom Township property, and offering many summer camps and birthday parties.

Lessons are offered Monday through Friday. Weekends are reserved for shows. DiGiovanni said she offers lessons for adults and children as young as 5 years old.

She said her students are from Carroll, Canal Winchester, Circleville and Ashville.

Twenty-six horses are boarded at the facility; nine of them are hers. DiGiovanni said she has room for 34 horses and has the option to add more space when needed.

Her students show their horses at the Reality Dreams horse shows. Last week, they prepared to participate in the All American Youth Horse Show in Columbus.

"I'm very competitive," said DiGiovanni, who still shows horses herself.

While there are many places to take riding lessons in central Ohio, DiGiovanni said she is different because she prefers to train horses and people at the same time so they work as a team.

"My goal is to fit a good horse with my client," she said.

DiGiovanni worked as a trainer at 4T Arena in Ashville prior to starting this business. She's been riding horses since she was 6 years old.

She moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio in 2006 with her family. A former preschool teacher, DiGiovanni said she likes to work with kids.

The parents of her students are impressed with her work.

"She's great with the kids," said Toni Zufall, of Lancaster. . "We're excited about what's to come here."

Zufall's 9-year-old daughter, Katie, has been taking lessons with DiGiovanni since January

Zufall said the new facility is awesome.

"The two rings, it's clean ... there are just so many opportunities for the kids to grow," she said.

Kristin Bickel said her 8- and 11-year-old daughters, Katie and Shae, just began working with DiGiovanni and were wowed by the facility's amenities.

Bickel said she likes that the facility is a welcoming place for all members of the family - riders and nonriders.

In fact, that sentiment is prominently displayed on the equestrian center's Web site: "Where it is not just a place to board, but a place to call home."

A public open house at the Canal Edge Equestrian Center is scheduled for July 3. DiGiovanni said entertainment and food will be provided. Drawings will also be held for free lessons, T-shirts and supplies.