Middle-schoolers can horse around at this camp

Even though schools throughout Cabarrus County have been done with classes for more than three weeks now, a lot is still going on at Northwest Cabarrus High School.

Last month there was baseball camp and a volleyball camp. This month it's gearing up for football camp and cross country camp.

But the most talked-about camp is the new horse camp now being offered to local middle school students.

"We offer Equine Science courses here on campus as well as have a small herd of sheep and goats that our program supports," explained instructor Sherilee Deal. "The camp will be taught by high school students who have completed one of the equine science classes here at Northwest.

"I think this camp is an excellent opportunity for the older students to develop leadership and communication skills, while the campers will have loads of fun and learn how to ride and take care of horses."

The Northwest Cabarrus High School students will volunteer their time to raise money for the school's agriculture department.

"I am the official instructor, but the high school students will assist in the basic fundamentals of riding," Deal said. "We will have a 2-to-1 student-to-instructor ratio, so we have lots of eyes making sure everyone is safe."

Deal is no stranger to training, riding and studying horses.

"My family has owned horses since I was 5. I grew up on a small hobby farm in Tennessee and showed in 4-H and at local association shows," she said. "I've taught equine and animal science at Northwest for eight years. I attended Berry College in Rome, Ga., where I obtained my bachelor of science degree in animal science. I then went on to obtain my master's degree and teacher certification from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville."

Two sessions of the camp will be offered, both meeting 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday, July 12-16 and July 26-30. The cost is $200 per camper and includes snacks, but campers should bring their own lunch.

"The funds will be used to finance a variety of agriculture department expenses," Deal said. "Feed and routine medications, such as de-wormer, are some common expenses. The equine program is also still in the growing stage, and we hope to purchase additional horse tack, such as saddles, from the proceeds."

Both western and English styles of riding will be covered. Then students can decide which style suits them better.

Deal had this to say to any middle school student who is thinking of signing up:

"Come ride with us. This is a great opportunity for someone who has always loved horses to really learn what makes them the amazing animals they truly are."

Advance registration is required, and space is limited. For registration information Contact Sherilee Deal at 704-788-4111, ext. 123, or visit