Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Excell Center Residents Learn Valuable Lessons During Horse Weekend Trip

Slideshow to see photos of the Excell Center residents' experience:
On the weekend of July 10, six Excell Center residents participated in a much anticipated two-day horseback camping trip to the Santa Cruz Mountains. The trip was planned for the purpose of providing the boys with an opportunity to enjoy an outdoor summer trip while learning responsibility and teamwork.

The boys and staff kicked off the weekend with a six-mile horseback ride to their camping location at Henry W. Coe State Park. After arriving at the campsite, DreamPower staff member Cowboy Garry spoke to the boys about the importance of caring for their horses. He asked the boys to apply all of the knowledge they had gained during their prior training sessions, and join him in doing some chores. Together, the boys and staff fed, brushed, and watered the horses. After the horses had been tended to, the group went about setting up camp by constructing tents and collecting litter in the area. These chores instilled in the boys the value of responsibility and the power of teamwork.

Over the course of the weekend, Cowboy Garry cooked up delicious Dutch Oven-style meals using huge cast iron pots set between layers of smoldering coals. After each meal, the group worked together to clean up the campsite and conduct other various chores. In the evenings they gathered in a large circle to talk about the events of the day. The boys also took night hikes and did some star gazing. After returning from the hikes, the boys played cards together for an hour before settling down for the night, tired but content.

During the day, the group went fishing at a nearby pond where they caught large mouth bass that were immediately released with care back into the water. A park ranger also came to the campsite to talk to the group about outdoor survival, after which he kindly presented the group with a basic outdoor survival kit.

At the end of the weekend, the group packed up camp and road the horses back to the edge of the park. At the end of the journey the boys and Excell staff said goodbye and expressed their thanks to Cowboy Garry and the DreamPower staff. The Excell residents all enjoyed the trip very much, and hope to enjoy more outdoor activities in the future.

DreamPower Horsemanship, founded in 2002, provides therapeutic horsemanship programs and services.

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