New Windsor — Saturdays were for the horses.

New Windsor — Saturdays were for the horses.

Debbie Schiraldi would leave her Washingtonville home and head to Henry Tuttle's Clove Acres farm and riding area in Blooming Grove.

Tuttle was in the Goshen and Middletown Riding Club. He also ran a riding program for the local Girl Scouts, of which Schiraldi was one.

"Those Saturdays were my favorite time in my entire childhood," Schiraldi says.

She felt powerful when she climbed into the saddle.

"It's like a majestic feeling, that this creature allows you to sit on it, control it and love it," she says.

Tuttle helped Schiraldi get her first horse when she was in junior high school, an thoroughbred ex-racer named Thomas English Muffin.

She paid for his upkeep at a local farm by selling the farmer's vegetables during the summer and cleaning his house.

But when she was 17, her parents moved to Florida. She stayed behind to live with an aunt, but had to sell her Muffin. It hurt.

Schiraldi left the world of horses after that. Started a career, met her husband.

When he proposed, she accepted, but with a condition: We need to have three to five acres, because I'm going to want a horse.

The minute Schiraldi's youngest child was old enough to ride a school bus — about 11 years ago — she had her husband clear out the backyard and install fencing and a barn.

She found herself a horse — an American Morgan named Maggie.

But it was her daughter, Alyson, who was doing most of the riding.

She liked that majestic feeling, too.

Eventually, Alyson was going to need a horse of her own. So when she was in junior high, the Schiraldis began another search for a horse. They found Goodbye Mickey through ReRun, an adoption agency for ex-racehorses. A thoroughbred. Just like Thomas English Muffin.

Alyson renamed him ReRun's Derby. She worked at a farm — Ray Schnittker's place in Goshen — to pay for riding lessons and his upkeep.

She earned her horse. Just like her mother.

"That thought has crossed my mind," Alyson, now 21, says. "You have to work for what you love."

Debbie enrolled Alyson in the G&M Riding Club as a child. She was just an enthusiastic spectator back then.

But as soon as Alyson went off to college, Debbie became more active. Now she's the club's publicist and rides Maggie in their tri-annual shows.

The club's summer show is this morning. Debbie and Alyson Schiraldi will be there.

For the horses.