I have had the pleasure of seeing how horse partnerships impact campers’ lives, bringing self-confidence and joy. Some campers come to horsemanship fearful and by the end of their program ride confidently with their new horse friend.
Horses have so much to teach us about trust, leadership and self-confidence. Through horsemanship I aim to teach students that in relationship with their horse they can become effective leaders. If given clear cues and treated with respect, a horse will begin to view the child as the leader. Students gain an enormous amount of self-confidence when they see the positive results of their leadership.
Like any healthy team environment there must be mutual trust and respect for the leader to lead well, and the team to willingly follow the vision and instruction of the leader. I love seeing the joy these lessons bring to students and how this learning overflows into other areas of their lives.
As I sat around the crackling campfire with my campers this summer, I was filled with amazement as they began to share their stories. One particular girl stood out to me. I knew some of her background as she’d been to Horse Camp for a number of years, but this year was different. She had a sparkle in her eye as she told of the way God had helped her through her struggles and she boldly encouraged the other kids to trust and seek Him. Her passion and heartfelt care for the others who she knew were struggling, brought them hope. Her story pointed to God, our amazing Father who used her passion for horses to draw her close to Him.
We often use the illustration of a horse and rider as a picture of the relationship God longs to have with us. Just like we as riders long for our horses to trust and obey us so that we can have harmony together, so God longs for us to trust and obey Him so that we can reach the full potential He has for us. When the horse trusts us and takes that step of faith, we are filled with pride and joy over the bond we have established with them. Sometimes hard and challenging circumstances come across our paths in life and God longs for us to trust Him and follow Him through those trials.
I am thankful that God uses Warm Beach Camp and our horses to show campers they can have hope and love in God.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” - Romans 15:13
For a list of the year-round lessons and camps for 2019, see www.WBHorsemanship.com
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center
Nearly choking back tears, the crew foreman for Synergy Construction described how meaningful it was to watch little Ashley Schreiber mount the big black draft horse, Freya. His crew had just spent three days at Warm Beach Camp Stables building an elaborate ramp, complete with hand rails, a mounting platform, fencing, and gates, to create a safe space for mobility challenged riders to mount their horses.
With ease, Ashley was able to transfer from her wheelchair to the back of a horse with assistance. Once on the horse, Ashley proceeded with her adaptive vaulting lesson, performing her moves for the King 5 Evening Magazine film director, while the construction workers watched with awe. If you missed King 5’s Evening Magazine broadcast about the Rampathon project at Warm Beach Camp, check it out online.
The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish County sponsored their 25th Annual “Rampathon.” Synergy Construction answered the call to be the builders. Out of 149 applicants, 50 projects were chosen where people needed ramps built for wheelchair access. Ginger Reitz, Assistant Horsemanship Director at Warm Beach Camp, got wind of this effort and submitted an application. Our prayers were answered.
Synergy Construction workers volunteered their time. Dunn Lumber, Matthews Lumber, and Stanwood Redi Mix donated materials. Over three days, the ramp became a reality in the north end of the Warm Beach Camp Stables indoor riding arena.
A mounting station is critical for serving a wide range of needs through our new Therapeutic Horsemanship program. Ashley Schreiber, a member of our Warm Beach Equestrian Vaulters, now has a more comfortable and safe way to get on her vaulting horse. Our dream is that Ashley will be followed by many more who need a little mobility assistance, can feel the magic of a horse moving underneath them.
Our hope for the Therapeutic Horsemanship program is to partner with Warm Beach Camp Outdoor Education and Special Friends programs, para-educators and counselors in the four neighboring school districts, psycho-therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, case managers for DHSH and foster care, Tribal community, veteran groups, and more. For more information about Warm Beach Camp Therapeutic Horsemanship, contact Ginger Reitz or see www.WBHorsemanship.com.Add a comment
We have kids attend who come from many diverse backgrounds; culturally, emotionally and spiritually. Everyone walks through the doors on the first day of Horse Camp with a different experience or expectation of what a week at camp will be like.
One particular young lady who attended had recently been transitioned into a new family. She was timid around all the new kids who were at camp with her, and she was very afraid and unsure being around horses. Over the first two days, I watched as the other children embraced her. They drew her into their groups with open arms and they encouraged her as she cautiously approached each day with her horse. I have often taught that horses aren’t judgmental – they don’t care what background someone comes from, what color their skin is, what kind of clothes they wear, how they do their hair, or whether they have makeup on or not. Horses display unbiased love and long for love in return. What amazed me about this week of camp was that I saw this same love also displayed by the campers. It was more than just the horses that did a healing work in this young lady’s life.
The environment at camp as a whole – from the horses to the campers, to the staff – was open, inviting and encouraging, allowing this young lady the freedom to open up her heart to new friends and experiences in ways she hadn’t thought possible on the first day of camp. This was the realization of our purpose to provide a safe, fun, encouraging environment that draws campers into God’s loving embrace. I can’t wait to see more campers experience this same embrace at Horse Camp this summer!
Information about this summer’s Horse Camps can be found at: www.WBCHorsemanship.com.
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center