Kids on Salt Spring have a chance to learn to ride a horse in five days this summer, with camps being offered by the Salt Spring Therapeutic Riding Association.
The first of three camps finished on July 19. Open to kids aged six to 16, camps cover everything from stable management to riding skills, as well as arts and crafts and games.
“They learned stable management, from cleaning tack to tying knots to cleaning poo . . . they did it all,” said SSTRA coordinator Erika Ponsford after the first camp had concluded. “They learned all the parts of the saddle, the horse, the bridle, all of it. They came where they didn’t know anything and they left when they could ride a horse in five days.”
Ponsford saw the need for the riding camps after the one-on-one lessons offered by Therapeutic Riding were filling up over the previous summer. Lessons were offered to kids who did not have a chance to participate in the society’s regular sessions during the school year.
“There’s such a huge need for it,” Ponsford said. “There are so many grandparents on this island with young girls, and there’s nothing for them to do. There’s no riding whatsoever. It also gives my horses a break from therapy. They get to hang out with the girls, get brushed and pampered.”
The camp included students from as far away as Toronto, along with local boys and girls. Camps are limited to 12 kids. The group is broken into three, which gives them equal time in the riding ring, as well as time to participate in the other activities.
Space is still available in the remaining camps. The next session takes place from July 29 to Aug. 2, from 9 a.m. to around 3:30 p.m. The last camp is from Aug. 12 to 16.
Sign-up is done through PARC.
For more on this story, see the July 24, 2019 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.