Horses plus candy equals fun at college's Community Fun Day

April 10, 2005|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -Most kids love horses. Most kids love candy.

Find a way to put them together and you're almost sure to have a successful event.

That's what happened Saturday at Penn Hall Equestrian Center at Wilson College.

The school's first Community Fun Day gave 31 children ages 6 to 15 a chance to have fun with horses.

During the two-hour event, children were assigned to teams, and each team was given a horse. The teams competed against each other in several relay races.

One race involved riding the horse the length of the arena, dismounting and gathering up as much candy from the floor as possible. The rider then had to lead the horse back while carrying the candy in a basket.


Another race had the riders snatching postcards off a pole while on horseback. The final race was "to thank your horses for carting you back and forth," stable Manager Ellen Schroyer said. Team members rode the horse up to a table filled with apple slices, dismounted, fed the horse a slice, then rode back and turned the horse over to the next child.

Two teams of experienced riders were allowed to trot; the others kept the horses to a walk and had a leader and a spotter to assist them.

Beth Adams, a junior in Wilson College's equestrian program, said she gave up her Saturday morning to lead one of the horses because "it's for a good cause, and it's fun." Adams, who is from Florida, keeps her own horse at the stables and said she is "at the barns all the time anyway."

Schroyer said that the event went very well.

"The kids are having a great time, the horses are doing great and the Wilson students pitched in and did a fabulous job," Schroyer said.

The purpose of the event was "to draw attention to our facility and provide a good time for the kids," Schroyer said. "I get upset when I'm out in the community and I say I'm the stable manager at Wilson and people say, 'Wilson has horses?'"

Matthew Sandell, 9, came to Fun Day with his parents, Michael and Deborah Sandell of Chambersburg, and his 2-year-old brother, David, and 5-year-old sister, Erica.

"Matthew really likes horses, and it's a treat for him to come out and ride again," Michael Sandell said. "They have some really good games." Matthew rode at Wilson's SEEDS program last summer.

"There are not many opportunities for him to do this," Deborah Sandell said. "It's great that they offer kids the opportunity to have some fun with the horses."

Schroyer said she hopes to hold Fun Day four or five times a year, with a limit of 35 children each time.

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