Since 1958, the residential camp for boys and girls ages 7-17 has taught visitors traditional camping and wilderness living skills. The camp is also famous for its horse camps that expose children and teens to the art of horsemanship.
The idea of taking the horses to camp began more than a year ago when the camp's executive director, Richard Basnett, was visiting a career fair on the Hocking College campus.
His goal was to recruit students who might be interested in working at YMCA Camp Tippecanoe over the summer. There, he connected with the college's equine science program manager.
After visiting some of Dr. Debbie Powell's classes, she and Basnett established a formal partnership between Hocking College's Equine Science program and YMCA Camp Tippecanoe.
The partnership resulted in 14 of the college's horses taking the two- and half-hour road trip to Harrison County. The horses were slated to serve as mounts for the campers at YMCA Camp Tippecanoe — many of whom were young children.
Powell noted that the horses from Hocking College "are a perfect fit for the types of activities that this camp provides its campers by being trail-ready and kid-safe."
She added that the majority of the work involving this nearly three-hour trip went into preparation. Beforehand, all the health-related papers for the horses and binders containing every horse's photo and individual information had to be collected.
Then, the external workings of the trailer needed to be inspected by Hocking College's maintenance department to make sure the tires, breaks, etc., were all in working order.
Also, the school's equine complex manager, Adrienne Van Matre, and student employees were charged with getting the trailer cleaned and bedded deeply with sawdust to ensure that the horses will be standing on a well-cushioned floor.
Afterward, Hocking College's farrier, Paul White, along with two of the farrier students, ensured that all of the horse's feet were correctly trimmed about three days before their trip.
In addition, each horse was given a bath before their trip and remained in their stalls overnight. They were groomed the morning of the trip before being loaded onto the trailer.
Finally, the horse transport was prepared and coordinated with Hocking College's fleet services to get a semi-truck and driver for this trip.
Since YMCA Camp Tippecanoe is located about three hours away from Hocking College, Powell wanted to send all 14 horses and each horse's tack (saddles, saddle pads and bridles) in one single trip.
Basnett noted that Hocking College's horses were primarily going to be used at Camp Tippecanoe to help those young children who visit the camp every year learn how to ride.
He added that the camp has programs to help children learn more about horses' feeding and grooming needs.
Basnett's inspiration for the partnership was rooted in his desire to give back something to the school that had essentially changed the course of his life.
A 1987 graduate of Hocking College, Basnett was working toward obtaining his associate degree in Recreation and Wildlife when an instructor recommended an internship at a summer camp.
He said the experience changed his career path and helped him define his true passion in life.
Basnett has been the executive director at YMCA Camp Tippecanoe since 2019.
Powell noted that even though none of her students made the trip to YMCA Camp Tippecanoe this summer, "I am going to make sure our students know of this fantastic opportunity for next summer before them making their decisions on summer work experiences!"
More about Hocking College's Equine Programs
Equine Health and Complementary Therapies
Hocking College's Equine Health and Complementary Therapies program focuses on the health care component of the horse industry. The program was developed to meet the industry demand for qualified horse care technicians.
Students develop skills in traditional health care such as nutrition, anatomy and physiology, broodmare and foal care and non-traditional complementary therapies. In addition to traditional health care, Hocking College's program includes the newer disciplines of equine acupressure and massage.
Farrier Science and Business
Hocking College offers the only farrier science associate degree program in the state of Ohio. The Farrier Science and Business program offers a unique combination of farrier skills and business management.
Students learn detailed anatomy and psychology of the hoof and the newest and safest techniques for shoeing horses. They also learn corrective farrier skills and shoeing for performance. Classes such as care and handling, gait analysis, and nutrition provide students with a solid background in horse care.
In this program, graduates gain practical experience working with light and draft horses, mules, and people in wilderness settings. In addition, they learn how to drive wagons through various terrain, teach new students riding techniques, and use and repair riding equipment properly.
For more information on any of Hocking College's Equine programs, contact Program Manager Dr. Debra Powell at one of the following:
How do I enroll at Hocking College?
You can find out more about Hocking College's easy three-step admissions process here.
Prospective students can also contact the Hocking College Admissions Department directly at one of the following:
For more information on YMCA Camp Tippecanoe, call 740-922-0679.
What you'll learn and how to apply it.