FCA horse program adds value

By Amanda McBride
The Choctaw Plaindealer

Arena Dedication Ceremony at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 4 plus much more

Reaching out to people to share the gospel ispart of what French Camp Academy does. The horse program and now the new riding arena and stables is one of their many outreach programs.

Photo by Amanda McBride  The newly completed Riding Arena and Stables at French Camp Academy will host a dedication ceremony on Saturday, April 4 at 4 p.m. The weekend of April 3-4 will be packed full of family friendly, free events at FCA.
Photo by Amanda McBride
The newly completed Riding Arena and Stables at French Camp Academy will host a dedication ceremony on Saturday, April 4 at 4 p.m. The weekend of April 3-4 will be packed full of family friendly, free events at FCA.

Joe Richards, horse program manager, said FCA has offered the horse program for 25 years as a trail-riding program that has many benefits to the students.

“The horse program gives students a chance to be a part of something. They can excel at different levels. It speaks into their life,” said Richards.

He said the horse program helps students become comfortable outside of the classroom and teaches students how to value and care for the animals.

“The interaction between the kids and the animals makes it easier to talk to them about issues. Why doesn’t he (horse) respond when I tell him to do something? We can explain to the kids, well, why don’t you listen when you’re told to do something,” said Richards.

He said the horse program is an opportunity to add counseling when needed.

Students in the horse program also learn about horse care, safety and nutrition and take riding and vaulting lessons. Richards said they recently brought back the horse and buggy. Students learn how to manage and drive the horse buggy as well.

“The horse and buggy are a nice fit with our Historical District,” said Richards.

Camp of the Rising Son also offers a horse program and even their own horse camp during the summer.

The newly completed riding arena and stables is an opportunity for FCA to reach many different groups and people in Choctaw County and surrounding areas.

“The arena is an opportunity to share the word of God,” said Kim Steen, marketing/event coordinator.

FCA would like Choctaw County and surrounding communities to visit the area and help make it a “multi-purpose use facility.”

“We are trying to make the public more aware of all of our ministries (at FCA). We want the arena to be a meeting place for the community,” said Richards.

The arena features 100 x 200 feet of fenced rising space, a total of 30,000 square feet, 15 box stables and outdoor round pens. It also includes a large, spacious front porch with rocking chairs.

For more information about the arena or rental information contact Kim Steen at 662-547-7296 or k.steen@frenchcamp.org.

Use of the riding arena and stables has only begun. The riding arena will offer events along with the Camp of the Rising Son’s Open House on April 4-5. Events begin Friday, April 4 at 6 p.m. at the arena with the MSU Baptist Student Union Praise and Worship team inspiring the youth and a message from the renowned horseman, Dr. Lew Sterrett. Continuing the fun on Friday night will be a performance by the award winning Christian hip-hop artist Big Al.

Saturday, April 5, events kickoff at 7:30 a.m. with the “Run for the Son” 10k and 5k. Throughout the day there will be camp tours, canoeing and rock wall climbing.

Events at the arena begin at 11 a.m. with musical entertainment by the local bluegrass group Southern Flair, along with mounted shooter exhibitions, vaulting demonstration, games, pony rides, concessions and more. All events are free to the public.

The highlight of the events on Saturday is the dedication ceremony of the arena at 4 p.m.

To learn more about French Camp Academy visit www.frenchcamp.org or www.campoftherisingson.com.