Guest blog by Chris Burtner, Equestrian Programs Director at Chestnut Ridge
It’s hard for me to believe that just a year ago the staff at Chestnut Ridge Camp and Retreat Center was waiting in anticipation to find out if we would continue our equestrian programs beyond 2011. The pastures so graciously loaned to us for 8 years will no longer be available starting in March 2012, and a decision had to be made to make our horses a new home or to end the equestrian programs at Chestnut Ridge. Because of the big dreams of friends like you, and the commitment of camp leadership, the decision was made to timber, clear, grade, and seed 33 acres of pastures so that horses could continue to play an important role in the ministry and mission of Chestnut Ridge.
So much has happened since then!
Maybe you have met Duchess, Chief, Reba, or Snickers? They are just a few of the new horses purchased or donated last spring to support the big dreams for the future of the equestrian programs. During summer camp 2011, over 170 children learned riding skills and made friends with the horses, each other, our staff, and God. In the fall, riding lessons were held weekly, and families and friends enjoyed trail rides through the autumn splendor each weekend. Horse Slumber Parties, and the first ever Cowboy Camp Out, hosted girls and boys for overnight horse experiences. And the Chestnut Ridge horses were the hit of several birthday parties too!
But there is more that needs to happen now!
Our Equestrian Program is growing right along with the grass in the new pasture. As March draws closer, the final steps of making these pastures livable loom large. To create a happy and healthy home there, we still need to install fences, gates, water, electricity, and shelters. A barn and a cover with lights for the arena would allow the program to grow even more. Spring riding lessons, trail rides, and Summer Camp 2012 are coming up - and filling up - fast, so time is short.
Please join me and my family in supporting the big dreams for the future of the horse programs at Chestnut Ridge by donating today.