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A dance with steel 

There’s a brand-new summer camp on the Central Coast for would-be knights over the age of 8. But the Saddle and Sword Summer Camp, led by horse trainer/riding teacher Heather Grenamyer and swordsmanship instructeur—and Salle des Fers fencing club head coach—Scott Chapman, isn’t just for the kids. The camp, which runs through August and takes place at Samana Farms Equestrian Center on the Arroyo Grande mesa, has no upper age limit.

Campers must sign up in advance for a two-week session running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Remaining sessions run July 25 to Aug. 5 and Aug. 8 to 19.

Along with traditional Western riding skills, Grenamyer specializes in gymkhana, the training of horses and riders in the art of mounted warfare.

The camp got started, Chapman said, after he and Grenamyer met at a Renaissance faire. Both dreamed of wielding a sabre on horseback; they joined forces to acquire new skills and, eventually, share their knowledge by organizing what looks to be the most badass summer camp in recent local memory.

“Ninety percent of fencers are inspired by the swashbucklers,” estimated Chapman, who also does freelance construction for a living and sings classical music with the Pacific Repertory Opera. His own interest in the sport, he said, was kindled “when he was 3 years old watching Zorro.”

(Indeed, The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, The Princess Bride, and Pirates of the Caribbean, to grope randomly at a few swashbuckling titles from across the generations, all spawned their own stick-brandishing young followers, but perhaps none so much as the big Z.)

The summer camp is a first for Grenamyer, professional trainer of horses and people, and Chapman, who teaches fencing out of his High Street home and signs his e-mails with “Best Swishes.”

The Saddle and Sword camp offers small-group instruction, tournaments, and games, and provides all equipment and mounts, as well as a light organic lunch.

For more information, call Grenamyer at 674-9612 or Chapman at 541-4123. 

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