WOODSTOCK — DiAnne Ward of Albany Township, owner of Deepwood Farm, said that when she was an infant, her first word wasn’t “mama” or “dada,” like most children.

“When I was a baby, the first word out of my mouth was ‘horsey,’” Ward said with a smile Wednesday afternoon as she spoke to a small audience at the Whitman Memorial Library.

The purpose of Ward’s presentation was to speak about her summer camp program at Deepwood Farm, where she teaches children how to handle, groom and ride horses, whether they are beginners or experienced riders.

Ward said that her camp is split into four groups:

* A kids’ camp for children ages 6 to 10, with three-day sessions being held July 1 to 3 and July 22 to 24.

* A youth camp for children ages 11 and older, with five-day sessions being held June 24 to 28 and July 8 to 12.

* An advanced camp for experienced riders, with a five-day session held July 15 to 19.

* A ladies’ weekend for adult riders, with a three-day session held Aug. 23 to 25.

“The summer camp is good, clean fun for kids,” Ward said. “Whenever people come here, the welcome mat is always open.”

Ward added that as part of certain camp sessions, kids will have a chance to camp out in the woods with their horses.

“We’re one of the only camps that offers something like that,” Ward said, “and since we have a lower budget to work with, we work at setting up the campsite. If a kid comes into my camp not knowing hot to pitch a tent, I can guarantee that they’ll know how by the end of it.”

One suggestion that Ward made to the audience was to make sure that their kids knew if they were beginners or experienced riders.

“I had the sweetest girl come into my advanced class, and as soon as I started teaching, I saw her eyes get really wide,” Ward said. “I could tell she wasn’t understanding. I’ve always said that sweet isn’t going to cut it in advanced.”

Ward said she has been interested in horses all her life. Starting when she was 11, she got to play with ponies for a half-hour each day.

“I would always choose the pony that bucked me off,” Wood said as the audience laughed. “That was the way it always was on television. The cowboy would ride the horse, get bucked off and jump back on. That was the way I rode.”

In 1983, Ward moved to Deepwood Farm with her husband, her children and a slew of animals, including milk cows, chickens and horses. She explained that when they moved there, the farm “wasn’t orientated around horses.”

“Now, I have 17 horses, including eight work horses,” Ward said. “You might see me in town sometimes, doing wagon rides. I’m the little lady with the cart.”

Ward said she still rides horses every day for between two and six hours.

For more information, call 207-824-2595, or visit www.deepwoodfarm.com.

[email protected]


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