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WHOA Summer Camp at Montverde Academy



 

            A good time was had by all at the first WHOA Summer Riding Camp at Montverde Academy in Montverde, Fla.  The camp, held June 4-8, attracted 22 Tennessee Walking Horse enthusiasts from Florida, Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee.

            Montverde Academy, which boasts an equestrian curriculum, in addition to many top level Tennessee Walking Horses, also welcomed camp participants with a full complement of campus-based activities which included swimming, tennis, a theater and housing for the week. 

            The first nights festivities included a campfire and s’mores mixer followed by two rousing games of foxes and hounds. While at camp, the participants enjoyed many of Central Florida’s attractions.  Activities included a day at the Magic Kingdom and an evening spent enjoying the Arabian Nights dinner show. The campers also enjoyed a two-hour presentation by Dr. Erin Denney-Jones, Dr. Heather Heiderich and Kim Chester-Smith of Florida Equine Veterinary Services of Clermont, Fla.

            Leading industry riding instructors, Leigh and Paige Bennett of Bowling Green, Ky., and Carol Wakefield of Lewisburg, Tenn., led the 22 students through the camp’s curriculum which included riding, gait recognition, conformation, show ring techniques and tack and stable management. The final day of camp included a mock horse show to give campers additional experience in the show ring. Many parents and grandparents came out to cheer their favorite campers on.

            One of the highlights of the week was the camp photo contest. The 11 & Under Photo winner was Riley Rocha, and Kailin Kesselring won the 12-17 Photo division. Each camper received a disposable camera and was given a time limit to take 12 pictures. Following the judging, the pictures were given to the campers to take home along with lots of goodies from Waterfall Farms, Montverde Academy, World Champion Horse Equipment and WHOA. The National Bridle Shop, Marsha’s On The Square, Winner’s Circle and Bedford Tack donated special awards that were presented on the final day of camp as well.

            Tim Thompson and Janet Howell managed the equestrian program for Montverde Academy. This beautiful facility offered the perfect setting for the WHOA Summer Camp. With excellent lesson horses available, each camper was able to ride several different horses to gain even greater knowledge during the week. On several occasions during the camp the students were given the opportunity to ride a performance horse. Many of the campers had never ridden a performance horse and Grace In Command was the perfect mount for these first timers.

            Camp counselors included Mark Taylor, WHOA Director of Sales and Marketing; Dee Dee Sale, WHOYA (Walking Horse Owners Youth Association) Director; Dale Martin, Brenda Skelton, Diane McMurtrey, Harolene Willis, Rose Anstett, Darren and Rachael Gray, Montverde Equestrian Instructor Janet Howell and Equestrian Team member Kelly Mendez.

            A special thank you goes to Janet Howell for all of her help and dedication. Howell worked very hard to make the campers and counselors feel welcome. Thanks also to Diane McMurtrey, who contributed greatly by allowing campers to ride Pay at the Pump and another camp favorite Val.  

            Plans are already underway for next year’s camp. For more information on WHOA programs go to www.walkinghorsesowners.com.

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