Horsing around

. September 25, 2012.

A horse is just a horse, of course — unless it is named Kit-Kat or Mr. Bubbles.

In those cases, a horse is much more than a utilitarian farm animal. It becomes a friend and a way for children to learn a new skill while having fun. That’s the mission of Happy Kidz, a new horseback riding camp run by Heather Van Giesen at Shady Pine Stables, 19030 CR 7 in Findlay.

Van Giesen, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English equestrian studies from the University of Findlay, started her business in the late spring and will hold day camps all summer long. Aimed primarily at children ages 5 through 15, the camps provide crafts, games and a chance to ride one of two ponies. Kit-Kat is a large mare, while Mr. Bubbles is a small Shetland pony.

“They love kids, and they are very gentle,” says Van Giesen, who adds that horses and kids are a natural fit. Camps cost $150 for a week, 9am to 3pm weekdays. Space is limited to allow each child plenty of riding time. Van Giesen also plans to host birthday parties, special events for schools and other groups, as well as private riding lessons. The facility has both an indoor and outdoor ring, and a heated indoor lounge, for year-round enjoyment.   

For more information about the camps or other activities, call Van Giesen at 419-306-6890.