Del Mar 7th grader creates program to send under-served kids to camp

Del Mar resident Kelsey Yin was just wrapping up her 7th grade year at Earl Warren Middle School when she founded Horses for Happiness, a program designed to send under-served youth to free horse camp.

Kelsey was looking for a way to share her love of horses with kids that otherwise wouldn’t be able to include horses in their life when she came up with the idea. Horses for Happiness hosted its first camp on June 14. The program offered a free horse camp to kids from PRO Kids/First Tee San Diego, a program that challenges underserved youth to excel in life. Horses for Happiness’ very first event included six campers . Horsebound donated its expertise and horses for the event, and Horsebound riding students volunteered to be “camp coaches” for the day to share their love of these amazing animals.

Each camper was assigned their own horse. The campers learned how to groom and saddle up their horses. But, their favorite part by far was the riding. They went on a trail ride in the scenic Penasquitos canyon. Their trail ride took them through a creek, across a meadow and through a shady oak grove. When they arrived back at the stables, they unsaddled their horses and fed them special treats — apples and watermelon rinds! The campers also learned how to give their horses a quick shower before bringing them to their stalls for dinner.

The camp kids were amazing. None of them had ever been around a horse. Most of them were quite nervous at first, but by the end of the day, all of them wanted to ride again.

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