Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Zedaker’s Farm and Pony Rides


Zedaker’s Anjon Acres, photo by author, taken June 22, 2019.

Did you ever go for pony rides at Zedaker’s? Riding lessons? My wife and her girl friend (still friends 60 years later!) remember going for pony rides as kids. They lived nearby in Brownlee Woods, so it was very convenient. We never made it over there from the West side.

I was reminded of this recently when we drove by what is now called Zedaker’s Anjon Acres a few weeks ago. [The Anjon combines the names of Ann and John Zedaker who owned the farm together until John passed in 2010.] Then this week, I saw  an old coupon from “Zedaker’s Pony Farm” posted in the “I Grew Up in Youngstown” Facebook group. I decided, I have to write about that!

According to Joseph G. Butler, the Zedaker family was one of the pioneer families of Youngstown. John Zedaker moved to Youngstown from Pennsylvania and fought in the War of 1812. They originally owned land near what is now Zedaker Street on the South side of Youngstown. Later the family acquired farmland in Boardman Township where Jacob Zedaker was born. His son, Marcellus W. Zedaker, acquired the land, 100 acres, where the present farm is located, in 1864, on the border of Boardman and Poland Townships, on the Poland side of the line.

Marcellus, his son, and grandson (“Jack”) farmed the land, growing hay and corn, and raising dairy cattle. When Jack developed arthritis, he decided to convert the farm to a horse farm, beginning in 1948. John Campbell Zedaker III, gave his first riding lessons that year at age 11 For years they offered pony rides with ponies led by young workers at the farm, as well as riding lessons. Ann was one of John’s students and they married in 1969. In the 1970’s family members sold off parcels of the farm for development. John and Ann took over ownership of the remaining 11 acres in 1977. They continued the pony rides until 1984 when John’s mother retired.

In the late 1990’s Ann and John renamed the farm Zedaker’s Anjon Acres. They remodeled the barn, adding an indoor arena, enabling them to give year-round lessons. They also offer a Therapy Alpaca program and riding lessons for those 8 years old and above. They teach English as opposed to Western riding, a style relying on posture and form. In addition to their own “very gentle” horses, they offer facilities for boarding. John’s great niece, Mia, offers lessons as well as the Therapy Alpaca program.

In addition to his work with the farm, John Campbell Zedaker III was a member and captain of the Mahoning Valley Polo Club for over 40 years, the corporate secretary of Moore Peterson Insurance, and a board member of the Potential Development School for Autism. But perhaps his greatest contribution was the delight he gave generations of children on his ponies, and the skill and self-confidence he instilled in the many riders he instructed. After his death from lymphoma in 2010, Ann has carried on the business. The website describes her role in the business as follows:

“Ann has extensive experience showing and training hunters and jumpers and more recently has logged thousands of miles competing in competitive trail and endurance rides. She coordinates the lesson program and barn activities, and also has a real knack for diagnosing and treating horse ailments including lameness.”

In a time when so much has changed around Youngstown, it was delightful to drive past and still see the Zedaker name and an active operation on the site so many remember for its pony rides.

You may contact them at:

Zedaker’s Anjon Acres
5375 Youngstown Poland Rd.
Poland, Oh. 44514
Ph: (330) 757-3445


30 thoughts on “Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Zedaker’s Farm and Pony Rides

  1. Relocated to South Carolina, but I drove pass it last week when in town & it was so nice to see the place I took a pony ride there as a child in the 60’s (lived in Struthers) & took my nephew for a ride in the 1980’s. Nice to know the history.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My first job at 13 was leading kids around on Johns ponies.. in turn he taught us how to ride, jump, and take care of the horses this was around 66-67 and Ann was just coming into the picture. So glad to hear that Ann is still alive and carrying on the family tradition!!
    Laura Freeman

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well said! As family, my favorite Memory, was when I finally became good enough to ride in the Memorial Day parade around the arena! Uncle Jack and Aunt Zib knew how to be welcoming & helpful to each kid that came to work and ride at the farm! Good memories Back When riding your bike a mile or two away from home At 10 or 12, & being gone all morning without Worries or a tracker!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Your Favorites of 2019 | Bob on Books

  5. How wonderful to read about Zedaker’s. I lived on Youngstown Poland Rd for many of my growing up years and have fond memories of this place where a childhood friend boarded her horse. I rode there once or twice and then rode through rice paddies in East Africa and on the beaches of Huahine in French Polynesia but have never forgotten Zedaker’s. It was just so nice to see the picture and read the family history of the Zedaker’s. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. One of my first jobs.Loved taking the kids around in circles.Every Sunday they would roast hot dogs for us.Learned many things like how to brush,bath,saddle and ride.Some of the ponies ( Baby & Freckles),even knew tricks!Loved playing with the goat,(Sundance),on the teeteer totter.”Initiation” was halarious!Best time of my life as you can tell.I’d do it all over again.I could go on and on.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello there! This blog post couldn’t be written any better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he’s going to have a very good read. Thanks for sharing!


  8. I lived in Boardman and rode there every summer and fall from about 1955 to 1959. I remember ponies, Tony and George. There was also a mule Dynamite, that bit me on the shoulder once. I was warned to stay clear of him but didn’t follow the suggestion. They also had a monkey that got loose now and then and jumped on me from the rafters as I rode into the barn, bareback, on a half- Arab black mare. John had a gray polo pony called Freckles and another gray, Milky Way. He also had one who had a bad hip and he’d have to stop playing to shove the horse’s leg back into the socket. It was a sorrel. I loved it there, some of my happiest, most memorable. moments of my life. I am still involved with horses almost 70 years later and thinking of giving pony rides in Oregon.

    Liked by 1 person

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