Meet Warm Beach Camp’s new Horsemanship Director – Part 1
Lisa Tremain, a New Zealand native, returns to Warm Beach Camp as the new Horsemanship Director
We are excited to have Lisa back on staff at Warm Beach Camp! Lisa first came as a Wrangler in Training (WIT) in 2003, and since has served in other camp ministries throughout New Zealand.
Recently, we sat down with Lisa and asked her some questions we thought you would like to know. And with her gracious, gentle spirit and her cool New Zealand accent, she shared about herself, her hopes for kids who attend camps and lessons, and her goals for the future of the Horsemanship program.
Q: Were you interested in horses when you were little?
A: My parents started getting into the horse camp ministry and learning about them when I was fairly young. I wouldn’t say I had a particular interest in horses before then. I would often ride double as a child with someone else – they would take me on trail rides and that type of thing. So I liked horses when I was younger. However, when I started riding by myself I was small and so they put me on the small ponies who were very mischievous and they would often run under things that they could fit under but without me fitting under it. So, I actually became quite terrified of horses. When we visited a new camp I went on a trail ride and they put me on a taller horse and I burst out in tears and was terrified. But the owner said he would walk beside me for the beginning of the trail ride, so I agreed to go. Halfway through he said, “Oh, I’ve got to go help someone else.” And off he went to help them so I was left riding by myself on this big horse. But that was the best thing ever because I suddenly realized they weren’t so scary and this horse wasn’t out to take me under a tree. From then on I loved horses and started riding more and more and more. That was a turning point. So, I definitely know how it feels to be terrified – they are a big animal – but I also know how much I changed when someone took time to help me overcome fear.
Q: Do you have a favorite horse activity?
A: I love to jump – yes, jumping is my favorite. I grew up doing English riding. I did Eventing, which is dressage, show jumping, and cross country all mixed together. Jumping is my favorite. There is nothing quite like being on a powerful horse and leaping off the ground.
Q: When did you start Western riding?
A: When I came here to Warm Beach Camp. I was 17 at that time. I came to be a WIT (Wrangler in Training). I did do some Western riding off and on in New Zealand. But Warm Beach Camp is when I actually took instructed lessons and made progress. There is a lot of cross over between English and Western riding. If you start out in one it’s easy to adapt to the other.
Q: How did you hear about Warm Beach Camp and come here to be a WIT?
A: In New Zealand it is really common to do what we call an “OE” – an overseas experience. Usually people will do that right after high school or before college or at the end of college. I had planned to do an OE and come to America to do camping ministry when I was 17 years old. Laurie Fertello, who was the Warm Beach Camp Youth Program Director at the time, came to New Zealand and toured some of the Christian camps. Laurie stayed with our family at Sonshine Ranch when she visited. She and my Mom hit it off. So, when I was talking about coming over, my Mom printed off all the information from the website about the WIT program. When I saw it, it sounded really fun. So I thought, “Sure, I’ll give that a shot.”
Q: How was your experience as a WIT here?
A: I loved it! I went home and got my Visa and came back. I worked year round at the barn at that time, and was a Wrangler the following summer. Then I did an internship in program and marketing.
Q: How did camp play a role in your spiritual growth?
A: Camping really did shape who I became and gave me a really good firm foundation. In New Zealand, we have school for 10 weeks and then have two weeks off, so we would have camps year round. I was in camps, church, and actively involved in youth group. I was constantly being poured into and had people around who wanted to help youth grow in their relationship with God. So, when things got tougher in later years, I definitely clung to that foundation of knowing who God is and how much He loves me.
Q: After being a part of other ministries in New Zealand the past several years, why did you want to move back to America?
A: My husband and I weren’t actually planning to move back to America. But for various reasons we did consider it and when I saw the job opening I applied. This is the job I have always wanted, to run a horsemanship program. And Warm Beach Camp was foundational for me in how camping can be run well. I think this is a great camp that has a lot of good standards and truly shows God’s love through the way that it interacts with staff and the guests. So I was really excited by the opportunity to work here. It was a hard decision, but exciting too. I’m really thrilled to be here and see where the program can go. I hope to impact others’ lives in the same ways my own life was positively impacted by the people at Camp.
Q: Do you have a favorite horse at Warm Beach Camp and why?
A: Oh, how do I pick?! I actually haven’t had a lot of time to ride very many of them yet. And I like them for different reasons. I have enjoyed a horse called Jackson – he is really fun and well trained, so he’s more of a fun horse for me to just get on and ride. There’s another cute one that everyone loves, who is black and white and adorable – Oreo – she’s a young horse and still in training. I love paints – black and white, brown and white… they’re just cute. Oreo is cute. There are some horses with cool personalities and others that are great to teach kids on – good for a nice, gentle ride. I like the challenge so I like horses to challenge me. But, there are others that are my favorite for teaching.
Q: What do you hope the kids who come to Warm Beach Horsemanship Camp will learn?
A: My hope is for kids to learn and grow in their experience and knowledge of horses, how to handle them and interact with them on the ground, and how to ride them. There is so much more to horseback riding than people think as far as how you communicate to the horse. You’re having to use your body language and different cues you are giving the horse and learning how to be in sync with the horse, and to ask nicely and to treat them with respect. To have that partnership form. This can help teach kids core life skills, while also developing and helping them grow in their horse riding ability.
Q: How can horses help kids learn about God and other relationships?
A: There are so many ways of translating it to our relationship with God and how He interacts with us and how we respond to Him. There are many parallels to be able to teach kids not only in general life – how we treat other people, trust other people, respect other people – but how that works with God too, and how He can help us to do that with others.
Q: Are there other things you hope kids experience at Horsemanship camps and lessons?
A: I’m really hoping that we can help kids achieve goals, overcome fears, or that they can feel a sense of growth. That they would be challenged and learn while they are here. And also feeling loved. I want Camp to be a safe place for them to come, where judgments are put aside and they are treated as people no matter where they come from, how they look. I want them to know that they are loved and safe here and have a place they can call home. And through that we can develop mentoring relationships. That’s what I would love to see.