Standing Ovation by Ovation Riding: Horses For Happiness

Meet a teenager sharing horses with at-risk youth.

 This week’s honoree: Horses For Happiness and Kelsey Yin

Kelsey Yin and her horse Sutter.

Kelsey Yin and her horse Sutter.

Kelsey Yin and Horses For Happiness were nominated for a Standing Ovation by Kelsey’s mother Kim Yin:

I wanted to put in a nomination for my daughter Kelsey Yin. She founded the organization Horses for Happiness. Its sole purpose is to send under-served, foster or at-risk youth to free horse camp every spring. Kelsey founded this organization 2 years ago when she was only 12 years old. She was determined to share her love of horses with kids that would never get an opportunity to ride and care for these magnificent animals. Kelsey rallies the local horse community to donate time, horses and other resources to make this happen each year. She has sponsored camp for kids from both ProKids/First Tee and the San Diego Center for Children.  It is amazing what even a teenager can do.

San Diego Center for Children 2015 Camp

San Diego Center for Children 2015 Camp

We caught up with Kelsey to learn more about her organization.

Please tell us more about yourself!

I am 14 years old and from San Diego, California. I have been riding for eight years and have shown a variety of disciplines, including western pleasure, dressage, and hunters, but my passion lies in jumping. My goals are to compete in a 3-day event and become a vet.

What inspired the creation of Horses For Happiness?

Horses For Happiness was started to share my love of horses with people who would not otherwise get the opportunity.

San Diego Center for Children 2015 Camp

San Diego Center for Children 2015 Camp

What kind of process did you go through to get started?

To start Horses For Happiness, I asked around the barn for sponsors for the camp. Horsebound, a riding school devoted to developing a bond between kids and horses, volunteered their horses. Their advanced students also volunteered as horse handlers. Once I had the horses and handlers, I contacted local organizations for underserved kids and worked with them to design a camp that would be offered as a reward. I also rallied barn members to donate crafts and supplies for camp activities.

What’s your favorite part of the Horses For Happiness summer camp?

My favorite part of the camp is watching the kids transform from fearful and having never been around horses to wanting camp to never end.

San Diego Center for Children 2015 Camp

San Diego Center for Children 2015 Camp

Here are some comments from campers from this summer’s camp via Horses For Happines’ website:

“It was such an honor to ride a horse. My handler Bethany was great, and I had such a good time riding a horse and hope I can do it again someday.” Allyssa

“I had a great time. Sina was a great horse. Can you say Hi to her for me?” Sara

“Veronika was the best horse handler ever. She was so funny and really nice.” Ana

“I had such a great time. My favorite was when we crossed the river.” Ariadna

“Thank you so much for teaching us so much stuff about how to take care of horses. I really want a horse now so I can ride more!” Gaby

“Kelsey was an awesome handler! Butterball is adorable and nice. Plus my favorite part was when I learned how to take care of Butterball. I had a great time.” Jaisa

We are impressed with Kelsey’s efforts to give back to her community as a young equestrian! If you’d like to learn more about Horses For Happiness, please visit the organization’s website.

Many thanks thanks to Ovation Riding for their support of both Horse Nation and individuals and organizations that are doing good work in the horse world. If you know someone who deserves a Standing Ovation, we would love to recognize them in a future post. Email the name of the person or organization along with a message about the good work they do to [email protected]. Photos/videos are always welcome, and include a link to their website if applicable.

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