Our Staff

Experienced Camp Personnel and Riding Instructors - Our camp counselors are experienced horse people and caregivers. They are kind, nurturing and caring. Our Camp Director and riding instructors have years of professional experience with children, working in camps, handling ponies and overseeing the camp environment. Your children are sure to flourish under their expert care, direction and dedicated enthusiasm.

Terry Tenzing - Camp Founder, Terry Tenzing, has a lifetime of experience with children, horses and animals as well as an extensive formal education. With an MA in Intercultural Education and another Masters Certification in Intuition Medicine®, she has taught and counseled children and parents in parenting and healthy life skills development for over ten years. Her career as an Assistant Dean of Foreign Student Advising at Boston College; designing inter-cultural training programs for student exchange; teaching European Au Pairs in Manhattan; and working in the nonprofit sector with the San Francisco Foundation when she first moved to the Bay Area, Terry refers to as her "other life". This time also revolved around being married to the son of the first man to climb Mount Everest, Tenzing Norgay, which afforded her many adventures and unique opportunities. Most importantly it gave her her beautiful daughter Olivia Daku Tenzing Norgay. And although, she and her daughter are world travelers, they cannot imagine living anywhere else than where they now make their home on the West Coast of California.

Terry's extensive experience in equine care, land management, and the study of people and horses is a lifetime endeavor. Growing up in New England on a small farm, her favorite memories are of their family's campgrounds, their gardens and farm animals. Terry got her first pony at age three. That summer she and her brother were so small that getting on their ponies was an impossible feat alone. They figured out though to run out into the fields first thing in the mornings while the ponies were still lying down, climb on their backs, and cling on for dear life! Oftentimes their ride was brief and a quick mischievous buck would send Terry or her brother tumbling off onto a patch of grass!!! One of her favorite stories that her grandmother loved to tell was of the day Terry's pony Misty walked in the open back door of the farmhouse and helped herself to a freshly baked apple pie right off the farmhouse kitchen table! Another story that brought great hilarity was when her grandfather led both ponies inside the farmhouse living room and one of the ponies pooped right on their antique hooked rug!!! It is stories like this, or her fond memories of raising Misty's tiny baby foal, "Tonka", as a girl of only seven, that have instilled in Terry a lifelong love of horses and ponies. In fact by now, she considers herself a "pony whisperer", but she would tell you that she can "whisper" to children and animals as well. These early childhood experiences, and the healing love from her beloved pony Misty after the tragic death of her father on the Thresher Submarine, instilled in Terry a deep understanding of the potential for connection between a young heart and her special equine friend.

It was these early-life experiences that inspired Terry, when her daughter was just nine-months old, to accept the position of Manager of historic Shamrock Ranch Stables. Situated only twenty minutes outside of San Francisco, nestled in the mountains, and within walking distance from the sea on the majestic California Coast, Pacifica, CA, and the almost 300 acre working ranch, became their home for the next thirteen years. During those years as a single mother, Terry created for her daughter, not unlike the magic of her own childhood, a life of animals, ponies and horses, a close-knit community, the joy of living close to the land and a freedom for an inspired childhood. Their close friendships with their own ponies and horses, and the herd of 25 horses who peered inside their bedroom windows every morning, taught them both more about horses' feelings and their minds, their needs and social behaviors, than any book ever could. And while Terry is an accomplished rider, she prefers to think of herself as being one with the horse. She believes that it is the connection that the horse and rider share, that makes the ride...and the relationship.

Terry understands ponies deeply for, in addition to Ranch management, it was her commitment to being a stay-at-home parent to Olivia, that prompted her to found "Friendly Pony Parties and Barnyard Pals", when Olivia was only 2 ½ years old. Now over two decades later, her company is considered by many as the premiere pony party and petting zoo business in the Bay Area. Five years after its inception, she established with the Pastorino's Farms their "On-the-Farm parties" in response to parents and little people's need to enjoy farm life more. Two years after that, she began the Friendly Pony Parties Camps programs for children to enjoy their "special birthday pony" in a more meaningful and substantive opportunity. Terry hoped that by starting the camps that even the youngest child would take away with them experiences that would last their lifetime. After three years of watching how hard it was for the children to separate and have to wait from one summer to the next before they saw their beloved pony and farm animals friends again, Terry expanded the camps program during all the school breaks and holidays, many weekends, and throughout the entire summer!

In a new endeavor, Terry began managing Madonna Creek Horse Ranch in Half Moon Bay, California in the Spring of 2008. A part of Cozzolino Farms, (a.k.a., 4-C's Pumpkins and Christmas Trees), this third-generation 230 acre parcel of land is a real western working ranch. For our campers interested in horses and farming life, having the chance to experience the growing and harvesting of hay on prime agricultural soil, learning about how they raise their cattle, observing the abundant present wildlife, hiking on their endless mountain trails, and enjoying the growing of their pumpkins, Christmas trees and flowers is an unsurpassable experience. It could not be more ideal for our campers and for many of our expanded camp activities including our riding lesson program and our "Be a Rancher for a Day" Program.

While subscribing to many of the Natural Riding principles of Sally Swift and Natural Horsemanship concepts, Terry's style of teaching focuses on the child building "their" own sense of confidence with their pony and to "listen from within". Terry's goal is for them to develop their own "horse sense" sense and read their pony's mind, reactions, feelings and needs. Terry feels that this is the necessary foundation of every good horse and human relation and is the very cornerstone of building not only the child's confidence and own intuitive sense of trust and awareness, but that it is the very basis for eliciting a gentle, calm and trusting response from their pony toward them.

She and her staff guide their students and campers to feel at ease and comfortable and to own their new found confidence and skills set in their new special relationship with their pony. Terry wants a child to find more confidence in themselves, own a sense of pride and accomplishment, begin to develop riding skills, and truly enjoy their time spent.

Terry and her daughter Olivia, take great pride in their ponies and animals' health, happiness and well-being. They raise their animals from babies, and Olivia has had an egg business and raised guinea pigs, bunnies and baby goats which she still sells to local pet stores or children involved in 4-H.

Their animals are their family and both Terry and Olivia feel that the kindness and respect shown them directly translates to their capacity for trust and enjoying interaction with people. They are regularly told that their ponies and farm animals are happiest and healthiest animals people have ever seen. And nothing...could make either of these two ranch girls happier.

Olivia Tenzing - Olivia is Terry’s daughter, a camp counselor, an accomplished equestrian and has a unique way with animals. A member of the United States Pony Club of America, Olivia participates in horse shows and barrel races on her quarter horse, “Dash”. Her favorite thing to do with her horse though is going horse-camping with her friends where she doesn’t think twice about riding up to 20-30 miles in a day! Since she was six years old she could be seen cantering, bareback down the Shamrock Ranch hill pasture slopes with her with her horse and the wind in her hair. That’s been her idea of really riding since the beginning. She had the priviledge of being an attendant for her friend’s 80-year old grandfather when he rode in the 100 Mile Tevis Cup Endurance Horse Race as its oldest participant. Olivia’s friends have all learned to ride under her apt instruction for she is skilled at putting a young rider at ease while guiding them in their mastery of riding and pony and animal care. Olivia’s intuitive connection with animals is very special and so much of the gentleness, reliability and patience our ponies and animals exhibit is in large part to in thanks to Olivia’s time and dedication to them.