Equestrian Enterprises just wrapped up this summer’s riding camp, and they are excited to move into the fall season as they start booking petting zoos and other parties.
The five summer camps, each one week long, ended with about 13 kids in each camp. Business owner Debbi Taylor said that is near their pre-pandemic numbers. The camps teach the students how to feed, ride and bathe a horse — after spending some time “painting” the horses.
By the end of the week, campers have played games and taken care of their chosen horse each day.
“You’d be surprised how many kids don’t ever get to see an animal because they’ve lost the connection with the family farm. Many parents used to go out there as kids, but that doesn’t really happen a lot anymore,” Taylor said.
Equestrian Enterprises offers more than camps, though. They set up petting zoos in the community and attend fairs — with Taylor again saying in many cases it’s the first time the kids see farm animals.
Taylor’s farm has horses, lambs, sheep, miniature donkeys, chickens, ducks, bunnies, llamas and alpacas, all of which rotate appearances at different events.
One of the most events Taylor is most glad to be a part of is Ag Day at Newton Parrish Elementary School.
During the last academic year, Newton Parrish had several different aspects of agricultural living on campus — from excavators to hay rides, as well as the petting zoo from Equestrian Enterprises. The Ag Day program was started for a similar reason, to help expose children to farm life and reunite that connection with the farm.
“It’s really rewarding and it makes you feel like maybe you can fill a void somewhere with children. That they can realize where their food comes from, how important it is to have farmers, that animals have feelings and need to be taken care of,” Taylor said.
While the summer riding camps are done, Taylor said they are still continuing the riding lessons throughout the year.
Lessons are open to people at least 3 years old, and attendees are taught how to properly catch, saddle, and complete other basic riding skills. Prices for lessons start at $25 for 1- or 2-hour sessions. The pacing of the lessons depends on the riders’ own desires and timeline.
To learn more about Equestrian Enterprises, head to their website here.