Dear Abby: I come from a large family. We are not wealthy but always loved dressing our children up for holidays. Because the outfits were expensive, as our children outgrew them, we passed them on to my sister-in-law.

When my youngest daughter was born, I asked her about the dresses, and she informed me they were not her style so she had given them away. I was heartbroken, but I never said anything.

My older daughter is not a practicing Catholic, and my younger daughter is not having children at all. I saved their christening gowns, but they don’t want them. I would love to pass them on to another family member so they can be used instead of sitting in a trunk, but I don’t want them to leave the family or be sold. Is it OK to put stipulations on something you are passing on?

— Unsure in New Jersey

Dear Unsure: You can stipulate whatever you like, but there is no guarantee that the garments will remain in the family. Once a gift is given, it becomes the property of the recipient to keep or dispose of.

Summer Horse Camps

Kilham Farm

In their own words: “At camp, young riders learn to groom, horsemanship, tack up and ride with English saddles on their ponies.” Small groups focus on hands-on attention. Campers bring their own snack and lunch daily. The weeklong camp culminates with a pony show, “with lots of fun horsey prizes to be won.”

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 19-22 and July 10-13.

Cost: $450

Where: 3431 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio. 415-662-2232.


Mark West Stables

In their own words: Camp includes daily riding lessons, detailed instruction on grooming, horse & equipment care, playing games both on and off the horses. All-day camps include “arts and crafts, cooking, nature walks and creek time.”

When: Nine sessions from June through August. Full day is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Half day is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cost: $450 full day, $350 half day.

Where: 5241 St. Helena Rd. Santa Rosa. 538-2000.


Crystal Clear Ranch

In their own words: “Younger riders enjoy equine related arts and crafts, while older and more advanced riders spend the afternoon learning more advanced riding and training techniques such as lunging, young horse training, working through training issues, and course design.”

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 18-22, June 25-29 and July 2-6

Cost: $500

Where: Private farm in Petaluma, call 753-0902 or go to to register or schedule an appointment.


Strides Riding Academy

In their own words: “Designed to get new riders ready to start lessons,” the annual camp teaches kids about “horse care and handling, play fun games around the barn, do horsey crafts and more!”

When: Seven weekly sessions from June through August. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Cost: $375.

Where: 100 Lynch Rd., Petaluma. 799-5054.


Note: After 160-acre Cloverleaf Farms on Old Redwood Highway was ravaged by last October’s fires, owner Shawna DeGrange is busy with rebuilding efforts and determined to hold horse camp again this summer. Details are in the works — check out to donate and see the latest camp schedules.