Saddle up at horse camp with Equine UnlimitedBy: Nick Pecoraro/Telegraph Correspondent
Anyone with a child interested in learning about horse riding and how to take care of them, Equine Unlimited in Rescue is a great place to start.
Equine Unlimited sits on 33 acres off of Green Valley Road. Featuring a full-service equestrian training course, a riding trail and a stable of over 40 horses, the property is owned by Malinda Kregoski. It had been a lifelong vision of Kregoski’s, ever since she got her first pony when she was in the first grade off of a $15 bid from Animal Control, to open a place where she could teach people the basics of life with horses.
“This was kind of a dream of mine since I was a young child,” she said. “My goal all along was to have a nice atmosphere for families and their kids to come and get a good feel of the horses and what different careers there are. I’ve had kids from when they were little in their first summer camp to come back and teach. It’s just a great atmosphere.”
For the 11th straight year, Kregoski and her hoofed companions are offering multiple weeklong camps over the summer for youths that want to learn how to saddle up and ride. Each camper will learn the fundamentals of riding, horse safety, equipment, grooming, vaccination and shoeing; all while having fun doing it.
“They get to do everything involved with the horses. It’s a pretty busy day. There’s always something to do,” says Christina Adamick, a Golden Sierra High grad, who began as a camp attendee three years ago and is now an instructor.
“The best part is getting the kids who first come in that kind of have an interest in horses and by the end of the week, they’re in love with them,” said Adamick. “Seeing the first-timers who have no clue how to lead a horse to by the end, they’re riding around like a champion out there. It’s great seeing them develop a passion for it and for us to give them that option to learn to ride.”
As a full-time instructor, Adamick gets help from some of the younger, yet more experienced riders, such as Alyssa Cooper from Sutter Middle School.
Cooper has been attending Kregoski’s camps for five years and loves, “getting attached to the horses, getting to ride them and getting to learn their personalities,” she said. Cooper hopes to continue riding and eventually compete in dressage, a discipline that she likes to call “horse dancing.”
“It takes a lot of time. You have to know how to control your horse and read its body language,” said the 12-year old Cooper, who has learned much over her five summers at camp. “I know how to the control the horse better and help it relax and maneuver better.”
Quinn Hawkinson, 9, from Phoenix Elementary School in Folsom, attended his fourth summer camp last week.
“I like coming here. I just like horses since I can’t drive yet. Plus, you don’t really have a speed limit,” said Hawkinson, who one day wishes to come back to Equine Unlimited as an instructor.
Kregoski uses about 15 horses for the lesson program, which include everything from a quarter horse to a Friesian to a Thoroughbred.
“I am really blessed with the horses I have. It takes a special horse to fit into the lesson program. They have to be tolerant and they have to know what aids to listen to and what aids not to listen to,” she said.
Equine Unlimited also offers birthday party packages as well as corporate trail rides and even weddings. The youth summer camps usually run from the beginning of June until the beginning of August.
“There are no typical days here,” laughed Kregoski. “I think what most of the kids take home with them is a sense of responsibility, a little sense of ownership because they have to take care of the horses and the equipment. It’s also that sense of strength that comes along to be able to control a thousand pound animal. Some of the kids come in here very timid and shy and walk away like, ‘Wow, look what I just accomplished.’”
For more information on camps and other services, visit www.equineunl.com.