Twelve years ago, Camille Slattery set up Provo Ponies in Turks and Caicos to provide horseback riding opportunities for Providenciales residents and visitors. Island Life talks to Camille and her dedicated team…
Camille Slattery got her first horse in her home state of Iowa. It was a Shetland pony, and Camille was 8 years old.
Now, she has 27 horses she cares for on an acre of land in Providenciales, where she’s turned her childhood hobby into her life’s work.
It wasn’t exactly Camille’s plan to start a horseback riding business 12 years ago, and she was reluctant at the prospect. She knew that establishing Provo Ponies would be a great commitment. Free time would be few and far between.
“And it was the best decision I ever made,” she says now, seated at a shaded picnic table in front of the arena, where horses are being groomed and readied for a morning ride. “I realize now this is where my life was always heading. It’s just one of those things I was meant to do. The universe told me.”
Camille swapped horseback riding for diving when she reached her 20s. For three winter seasons, she worked for a dive resort in Mexico, where she met her now-husband, Sam. After her stint in Mexico, she returned to Iowa with Sam (he followed her, Camille says), then relocated to England. It didn’t take long for the couple to decide they’d rather be in the Caribbean. And so, after hearing so much about Provo from a developer on the island, they came to see it for themselves.
Five days a week, the Provo Ponies crew takes visitors horseback riding, trotting through Long Bay to the south shore and into the ocean. They rotate each horse to make sure they all get exercise. Saturdays are reserved for teaching; Sundays are for rest.
Provo Ponies is about the horses. It’s about teaching people about an animal that is so often misunderstood, and building healthy relationships between human and horse. For Camille, it’s about “taking animals that were malnourished, in some cases psychologically damaged,” she says, “And turning them into comfortable, happy animals.”