Saddle up for Bales of Fun

A quick search on YouTube will find you video of a squirrel waterskiing or a dog riding a skateboard, but have you seen horses playing soccer? Well, playing soccer on horseback is one of many activities Bales of Fun Horse Camps are offering.

A quick search on YouTube will find you video of a squirrel waterskiing or a dog riding a skateboard, but have you seen horses playing soccer?

Well, playing soccer on horseback is one of many activities Bales of Fun Horse Camps are offering out of Takhini Hot Springs this summer.

“In the camps we go over basic horsemanship, English and western riding; we do a lot of games on horseback in the riding arena,” said camp co-ordinator Trish Pitzel. “We’re going to start playing soccer with the horses, because that gives (the riders) something to focus on while they’re riding, instead of just focusing on the horse.

“Our pony just loves it; he’s the most aggressive soccer player.”

Other games at the camp, such as “what time is it Mr. Wolf?” and “red light, green light,” have probably played by many in elementary school.

Also being offered over the summer are overnight camps, where the campers stay in cottages at the Hot Springs, and a show camp geared towards those wanting to participate in the Yukon Summer Horse Show at the end of July.

“My show camp is more for those who want to go into the (Yukon Summer Horse Show), so they need to already have some skills,” said Pitzel. “Because in the horse show you have to be able to ride by yourself.

“Total beginners, if they want to come and help and watch, and see what it’s like to prepare for a show, they could. So I could open it up to beginners—I’m flexible that way.

“This year I’m doing five weeks and I might add an extra week if I get enough people interested in another day camp. We have some interest from Juneau, for people to come over and that’s great.

“I’m opening up all my overnight camps to day-campers as well.”

Pitzel has been riding for over 25 years, studying horsemanship throughout North America, particularly English style riding called dressage. She has a level-three English riding certification and a level-two western riding certification through the Certified Horsemanship Association.

“I was a working student for a dressage master (Thomas Ritter) in Oregon and have attended a few clinics at McPhail Equine Performance Centre at the University of Michigan,” said Pitzel.

In addition, she is completing her bachelor of education degree at Yukon College.

“If I have an advanced or intermediate student in the camp, I’m able to give out what’s called Certified Horsemanship Association pins,” said Pitzel. “I can give them a level one for kids.

“That would probably take two or three camps.”

For more information go to and follow the Summer Activities link to the Riding Camps page.

Contact Tom Patrick at

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