Four-legged camp

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 2, 2007

COLERAIN – Summertime is here and that means school is out and the kids are home all day.

Have no fear moms, camps are an educational and fun way to entertain children during the summer.

Charles and Leah Newsome, owners of Oak Down Stables, have a three -day summer enrichment program three weeks during the summer for children.

The camp is for two hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

They teach the kids how to ride, take care of horses, including grooming and mucking stalls, saddle and mount the horses and how to fish.

This is the third year the Newsomes have had the camp.

Leah Newsome said when she was growing up she loved horses, but her family would not get her one because they were afraid she would get hurt or not be able to care for it.

&uot;If there had there been something like this camp around to teach me, I know that they would have let me ride,&uot; said Newsome.

Newsome was a public school music teacher for 30 years and she recently retired.

&uot;This camp meshes my first love, horses, with kids,&uot; said Newsome.

&uot;I just love it.&uot;

Newsome said kids need activities to do besides being inside behind the computer.

&uot;Horses are so good for people; they read people and they don’t lie,&uot; said Newsome.

&uot;Horses are pretty much the same all of the time and they don’t care how big or little you are or how you look.&uot;

&uot;If you treat them well, they will be your very best friends,&uot; she said.

Newsome also said some kids don’t have much self- confidence and horses can help them with that.

&uot;Working with horses teaches patience, practice and perseverance,&uot; said Newsome.

&uot;It builds a self esteem that few things can do in children.’

Newsome also said horses can teach children discipline and responsibility and helps with balance and coordination.

The Newsomes also offer riding lessons and trail rides at their stables.

Adults and children ages 4 and up can take Western Pleasure style riding lessons and Leah Newsome is the instructor.

The students will learn about riding etiquette, proper care of horses and skills needed to relate to horses.

There is a special rate for prepaid lessons: pay for 12 and get 13th free. Private lessons are available upon request

Trail rides are guided rides only

Trail riders must be at least 8 years old.

All participants must wear riding helmets (provided by stables), long pants and shoes, preferably boots with a one-inch heel.

Trail riders must call in advance for appointment and they need to arrive 30 minutes before the ride for a free orientation.