It won't be long before children can experience the magical world of horses at a local farm on the outskirts of Palmerton.
That would be in the form of Apollo Farms Ltd, located at 3070 Summer Mountain Road, which just opened for the season.
As summer approaches, the farm is in search of sponsors for The Ride for Youth Summer 2012 Sponsorship Program.
The program had previously been located at the New Jersey Gloucester County Dream Park, said owner Delia A. Apollo,.
"We want to inspire the youth," Apollo said. "We want to give them an alternative vehicle to let them know dreams are possible."
The program, which begins the last week of June, was started by Apollo, a professional United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) rider.
"It's been a life-long dream for me," she said. "To be able to share that is such a gift."
As part of the program, Apollo said children get to brush the horses, tack them up, and receive a hands-on approach to observe the day-to-day functions that go on at the 40-plus-acre farm.
"It's great for kids to know that they can master and have control over an animal so large," she said. "It builds self-confidence."
Apollo said once children participate in the program, it becomes difficult for them to leave.
"The hardest part of the program is no one wanted to leave," she said. "They've [the horses] definitely been able to transform lives."
Also as part of the program, Apollo said children get to go out on nature walks.
"It's about being one with nature," she said. "It's about getting you in touch with yourself, nature and animals."
The children also get to participate in crafts, cabin, and other group activities, Apollo said.
"We talk about what their dreams are, what their aspirations are," she said. "So many people don't realize the equestrian world is a multi-billion-dollar business."
While Apollo Farms sponsors a portion of the program, Apollo said it's success is based on obtaining local business sponsorships so that it can provide "no cost" weekly programs to those children that are "at risk" or come from low income families.
Apollo said it's "extremely important for us to offer all children the opportunity to experience the positive life-changing activities regardless of family income level/situation."
"Our activities teach children not only about horses, but also about responsibility, confidence, and respect," she said. "Not to mention the physical benefits such as motor skill development, balance, and coordination."
Apollo said sponsors will appear on its web site, have display information at its clinics, and have information dispersed at community events.
For more information, call 1-610-900-4120, or visit www.ApolloFarmsLtd.com.