University of Findlay horse camp getting national attention

Published: Jun. 21, 2017 at 5:00 PM EDT
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When you think of summer camps things like band, football or cheerleading camp may come to mind. But how about horse camp?

That's exactly what's happening at The University of Findlay this week. And it's getting national attention.

Riders from all over the eastern half of the United States are at the University of Findlay this week for the horse camp. In fact, a couple of the riders came all the way from Florida. The riders are learning about a lot more than horses, they're learning some important life lessons too.

This is Three-Day Eventing camp. Sue King is the Three-Day Eventing team coach at the university ,"This camp is a lot of hard work. It is not a camp where the kids just come and ride, they have to work very hard."

Three-Day Eventing is an equestrian sport that's like a triathlon of sorts. Horse and rider compete against others in three different disciplines, dressage, cross-county and show jumping. The University of Findlay is one of only about 30 American universities that have a Three-Day Eventing program.

This is the fourth year there's been a summer camp for high school riders. And you don't just send in your money to be part of the camp.

King says there are limited spaces and there's a selection process, "The riders have to send in videos to be accepted at camp. The riders also have to be at a certain level. By keeping it small, we are able to deliver a lot of individualized attention."

Many of these teens are accomplished riders, camp helps them fine tune their skills. Allison Miller came from Orlando, "I am learning a lot, especially the little things that really do make a big difference. We ride twice a day, but we also take care of the horses, so we're working for it. it feels good when you earn it!"

Miller also made the camp a college visit, "I came here because the university has one of the best riding programs in the country, and that's what I want to major in for college. So this is a great way for me to see the school, the facilities, the barns and all the horses."

Leah Chafty made the trip to Findlay from Battle Creek, Michigan, "There aren't a lot of horse camps where I am from. There are a lot of things I am learning here that will help me with my own horse at home."

Leah says there are plenty of teaching moments from just being around the horses."Find another sport where you're communicating with another soul underneath you with it's own personality. You have to learn how to work together with the horse in all kinds of situations. This camp has been a lot of hard work, but it's a lot of fun!"

King says there are many examples of what the horses teach these students,"Patience, dedication, kindness, getting to know an animal, trust, responsibility. Basic life lessons that all come with horses." Plenty of learning in and out of the saddle for these young riders.

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