At The Painted Turtle campers seem to grow before your eyes as they excitedly ride a horse for the first time and tackle the playful challenges created for them in the riding ring and along the trail. Their accomplishments in the equestrian program foster self-esteem and confidence in campers and forge an emotional connection for them with the horses. Having a serious medical condition makes many children withdrawn and afraid to trust. Horses have an uncanny way of drawing many of these children out and helping them to feel safe and less fearful. Most riding sessions conclude with hugs and kisses for the horses.
Campers are taught riding skills through fun games and activities. “Red Light, Green Light” teaches them how to stop, turn and move a horse forward. “Simon Says” and the “Mailboxes” teach dexterity, balance, and coordination, and strengthen muscle tone. Trained instructors mount and dismount campers and sidewalk all riders. We have two wheelchair mounting ramps and an array of adaptive saddles and supports to provide all children with a safe and memorable experience.
At the Barn, campers have the opportunity for closer, more personal interaction with the horses by bathing, brushing, feeding, and even painting them! Through these activities, campers who are so used to being care-receivers get to be caregivers – a very empowering role-reversal.