Kristi Kay Wilson of Silverdale Ranch outside of Sulphur Springs has made a name for herself in the equestrian arena with her World Champion stallions, ponies and miniatures, and now hopes to share her expertise with area youngsters through Pony Camps offered June 15-26.
“I have wanted to do these little camps for a long time now,” said Wilson, who has been in the horse industry for the past 23 years traveling extensively throughout the United States and Canada. “Last year, I was home maybe four weeks out of the year. It was just run, run, run, and I lost perspective of what it’s really all about. I’ve done some soul searching this past year and really want to slow down a little bit and do things that make me happy and I can feel good about.”
Wilson, who lives on a 72-acre ranch 10 miles outside of Sulphur Springs off FM 69 north on CR 3504, has more than 30 horses, including 22 miniatures.
“A lot of my horses are retired show horses that have won world championships, national championships or both,” said Wilson, explaining her plans to start the kids out on the small ones then graduate them to the larger horses. “It will be easier for them to learn on the miniatures, that way if they make a mistake it’s not like something disastrous is going to happen.”
According to Wilson, safety will be her top priority as she teaches youngsters horsemanship skills, grooming techniques, terminology and riding.
“The first part of the week we will be learning about horses and getting comfortable around them, just learning the basics,” she explained. “Then, the last part of the week, we will be riding, playing games and just having a lot of fun with them.”
Wilson will be offering two week-long sessions for youth 6 to 16 years of age from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The first session is Monday though Friday, June 15-19, and the second being held June 22-26.
“I really hope the kids are able to connect with these animals and gain an appreciation for them,” Wilson emphasized. “I think animals are God’s little creatures that help people along the way. I know they have helped me throughout my life.”
Raised on a horse farm in Colorado, Wilson moved to Hopkins County two years ago, saying she has wanted to move to Texas since she was in high school.
“I had wanted to move to Texas for the longest,” Wilson said. “I fell in love with it when we used to come down here a lot, showing in Fort Worth.”
Wilson said while growing up in Loveland, Colo., she “saturated herself with horses.”
“They were my outlet. They were my friends. I was with them 24/7,” she said. “It’s an amazing bond. They are very comforting and you just get so much joy out of them. I can’t imagine my life without them.”
According to Wilson, horses have always been her passion and she has a love for children as well. Not having any children of her own, she said she thought the Pony Camps would be a perfect opportunity to combine the two and offer youngsters an awesome experience.
“I want to do more things that make my heart happy,” she said. “I love kids. I love horses and it’s just an opportunity to bring those two together and do something for the community.
“I feel so fortunate to have been raised around horses all my life and I thought this would be a perfect way to offer kids in this area a chance to be around them and have that experience,” she added.
Cost for the Pony Camp is $150. Call 970-481-8657 to sign up, or for more information log on to: www.silverdaleranch.com
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