ISHPEMING - There are a variety of summer camps going on around the area, but one unique camp allows kids to learn about what it's like to own a horse.
Heritage Hills Horseback Riding, LLC. in Ishpeming is offering two sessions for their Summer Horse Camp for Kids this month. The kids will learn the basics of how to be around a horse and how to take care of one, said Joni Gleason, owner.
"The kids will learn grooming, handling, riding, how to lead and how to put on a harnas on the horse," Gleason said. "By the end of it they'll know what it's like to own a horse."
Joni Gleason, right, shows Jordynn Pope, front left, and Ally Jacobson, back left, how to properly groom a horse Wednesday at Heritage Hills in Ishpeming. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Hunter Perry, 7, practices leading a horse around at Heritage Hills in Ishpeming. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Heritage Hills is a horseback riding ranch and currently has 11 horses. They are offering mini summer camps for children who wish to learn more about taking care of a horse and riding one. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
This is only the second summer that Heritage Hills is offering this camp. Gleason said she wanted to start this camp because there's nothing like it around the area.
"Everyone's seen someone ride a horse, but are they really seeing what the rider is doing, no," she said. "So far it's been a huge success. We have a lot of quiet horses, so why not put kids on them and teach them something."
According to Gleason, her favorite part about doing the camps is how the kids get a kick out of some of the most basic things that go into taking care of a horse. Some of those basic things include grooming, feeding and leading.
"It's cool to see the kids have so much fun, but it takes a lot of planning to do this," Gleason said. "Some of the kids are scared, some are hard to keep focused and then there are just some kids that connect and are out there riding."
Hunter Perry, 7, of Ishpeming is one of those kids that just connected with one of the horses instantly. During his first class one of the ponies stepped on Hunter's foot, Gleason said, and became afraid of the horses.
"One of the helpers worked with him and all of a sudden Hunter wanted to ride Big John, (a large horse), so he did," Gleason said. "He was just steering this big horse and having fun. They got along great and seeing a kid connect with one of the horses like that is just great."
According to Hunter's mother Julie Perry, Hunter is a big animal lover and wishes he could have a horse of his own.
"The more he can learn and be out on the farm is just great," Julie Perry said. "He really wants to continue to learn as much as he can."
The summer horse camp sessions run June 18-20 and June 25-27 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. for kids ages 8 to 17. For more information or questions call 361-8768 or visit www.heritagehillshorsebackriding.com. There are 10 spots for each session available and registration will be available until full.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.