WHINNIES AND WINNERS AT LAS RIDING CAMP

The kids were excited, readying themselves and preparing their equine friends for the Grand Finale for parents and other spectators, where horse and rider would strut the meneuvers, riding techniques, jumps and formations that they had learned and practiced over the past few days. The Lakedell Agricultural Society (LAS) sponsored and organized a three-day Youth Riding Camp including overnight accommodations from July 12 - 14.
 In its second year, the successful program consists of a fully-packed three days of activities, learning and fun. Some of the activities included:
• Basic Groundwork and Safety • Western Horsemanship
• English
• Jumping
• Gymkhana
• Drill Team
• Goat Tying
• Ground Driving
• Roping
• Braiding
• Camp Games, crafts, and more.

The Equestrian's Quest
 The young horseriders are taught to recognize both the similarities and differences in Western and English riding, such as the different tack used and saddle form and weight; Western saddles are heavier and rounder, more comfortable for long rides, whereas English saddles are lighter and smaller, designed to give the rider a closer contact with the horse's back.   There is more detail involved in the particular riding styles, but to give you an idea, Western Riding is more suited to trail riding, team penning, reining and speed games, whereas English Riding and appropriate tack is more fitting to activities such as jumping, hunting, Polo and other Mounted Games.
 Suzanne Stone coached Western Basic with Kim Dennis coaching English Riding. Gymkhana, coached by Joan Miller, is a selection of timed games for horse and rider, a great way to learn valuable skills while participating for fun.
 "I want to thank Roxy Bell," said Joan, a coordinator of the program.  Roxy Bell, Veterinarian, spent time with the children explaining the importance of horse care, grooming and dental maintenance. Hearing expert advice on how to care for and learn more about their beloved animals was a captivator for the kids.
 In Camp Games & Crafts, participants made items like halters, Tshirts and Goat-tying strings.  On Wednesday, the group made a behind-the-scenes visit to Northlands Race Track Barns to visit horses and trainers and watch the Thoroughbred Races.
 Sleeping in tents set up inside the LAS curling rink seemed to add to the adventure. 

Rules of the Ride
 Participants must be nine years or older, have their own horse that is suitable for the campers riding level, and should be in shape for three days of riding. During the Grand Finale presentation, as she prepared for the next event, Tasha, a young rider, spoke with affection for her horse 'Buddy'.  Buddy was in great shape, ready to go for the next event, when Tasha grinned, "and he's 20 years old!"  Buddy's performance, like the rest of his cohorts, was polished and professional.
 After the presentation, all riders on horses lined up to a loud round of applause, whistles, and a burst of camera flashes. 
 The Youth Riding Camp is made possible through the many volunteers and other ways of keeping costs down, like the help of the parents with meals and having kids bring their own horses.  "We want to enable ALL kids the option to attend riding camp," said Joan Miller, Lakedell Ag Society, expressing huge gratitude to all the volunteers and helpers whose hard work is such a big part of making Youth Riding Camp affordable for all.
 "We also hold two-day camps - day camps only," said Joan.  The Lakedell Agricultural Center holds various events all year such as Farmer's Market held through the summer, Mighty Mutts dog agility classes, Country Fair and much more. 
 For more information, call the Lakedell Agricultural Center at 780-586-2505.

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