• Jerry Diggs low crawls his way out of the hay tunnel in the Fort Sam Houston Equestrian Center obstacle course.

    Horse Camp 1

    Jerry Diggs low crawls his way out of the hay tunnel in the Fort Sam Houston Equestrian Center obstacle course.

  • Alesandra Priest feeds Gracie a carrot she fished out of the muck bucket after successfully finishing a messy obstacle course.

    Horse Camp 2

    Alesandra Priest feeds Gracie a carrot she fished out of the muck bucket after successfully finishing a messy obstacle course.

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Obstacle courses are usually for horses, but this summer at the Fort Sam Houston Equestrian Center corral, they are also for unsuspecting kid campers.

While the horses looked on, 26 children with School Age Services were lead into the horse corral to compete in an obstacle course set up just for them. The campers quickly hit the hay in a race through the muck toward a bucket full of carrots.

The winners were the horses who got a scrumptious carrot every time the kids finished the course.

“We just started this obstacle course for the kids,” said Cindy Tripoli, Equestrian Center manager and the mastermind behind the idea. “They get really wet and muddy and just love it!”

The challenge included a mound of dirt, a sprinkler, then a bale of hay, followed by another sprinkler, then a low crawl under a tunnel made of hay bales and finally slopping around in the muck bucket looking for carrots.

“The bucket looks really gross, but it’s really just hay and horse feed, that they have to dig through to get to the carrots,” said Carin Gesell, a riding instructor at the Equestrian Center.

The horses, with their heads sticking out of their stalls anxiously awaited the treats provided by the children, who went to great lengths to get the carrots to them.

“This is so much fun!” said 10-year-old Brianna Spillman, plucking hay out of her hair.

“They love it,” said Lola Casanova, a camp counselor with SAS. “They are city kids, so they need to be outdoors. This is great.”

Three camp counselors on the field trip also tackled the obstacle course. Splattered with mud and hay, they were almost as happy as the children to break out of the routine and literally get a “taste” of the country.

After the obstacles course, the kids took turns riding horses and enjoyed a tour of the Equestrian Center in a horse trailer. Every day of the week about 25 kids from SAS visit the Horse Camp.

The Equestrian Center also offers after-school activities during the school year through the EDGE! program, SAS and the Exceptional Family Member Program.

For more information on summer camps at the Equestrian Center call (210) 224-7207.

Page last updated Thu July 28th, 2011 at 00:00