Jemison camp teaches “horsepower”

Published 3:05 pm Thursday, June 14, 2012

Members of the Horsemanship Day Camp in Jemison navigate a course designed to teach rider control.

The Horsemanship Day Camp, hosted by Dr. Ginger Alred and Cal Alred, is giving kids aged 8-16 a chance to learn the proper techniques of maintaining a horse.

“This is our third year we’ve had the camp,” said Cal Alred. “They’ll come and have never had any experiences with horses, and then we have kids that this is their third year so they’ve become more accustomed to [the horses].”

The camp is held throughout the month of June at Mystic Highlands Farm, in Jemison. Alred explained that no previous experience is required. A child could never have been around a horse before, and is still eligible to take part in the camp.

“We teach them everything,” he said. “We teach them how to get [the horses] up, how to properly take care of them.  They learn how to clean their hooves, how to comb them and how to saddle them.”

Ginger Alred said the main objective of the camp was to keep kids active, and pass on her love for horses.

“The main idea behind it was to get kids out of the house,” she said. “We take rank beginners, and our only requirement is a helmet, which we provide. ”

After learning the basics of horsemanship, the campers get to ride around the 60-70 acres of trails at the farm, taking in picnic lunches among other activities, such as crafts during the hottest part of the day.

The camp has seen a dip in attendance this year, with only six riders signed up Thursday. Cal Alred said he believed the decrease can be blamed on the economic climate.

“It’s a little lower this year than last year,” he said. “But I believe it’s the economy more than anything else. Hopefully when the economy turns back around we can advance it a bit more.”

His sister echoed the hope for expanding the camp.

It goes through June,” she said. “If we have enough interest, we’ll do it in July after the week of the Fourth.”

The cost of the camp is $50 a day, or $250 for a week. For more information, call 266-8386.