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Druley: Horse jumping boot camp coming to Elburn

Trainer Lynda Zema of the Bull Run Equestrian Center in Elburn rides Andrea Ferguson’s horse, Oxford.
Trainer Lynda Zema of the Bull Run Equestrian Center in Elburn rides Andrea Ferguson’s horse, Oxford.

Lynda Zema describes herself as a “professional horse person” – not a whisperer – a distinction that paves the way for her wearing a microphone at Bull Run Equestrian Center in two weekends.

While Zema aims Bull Run’s fourth annual jumping boot camp at registered riders, she also will cater instruction to the audience assembled at the Elburn facility on Feb. 23 and 24.

Separate sessions for novice, intermediate and expert riders will be held beginning at 9 a.m. both days, and Zema, the farm manager and trainer, promises a gentle trip throughout. She often hears feedback on her teaching style, and friendliness is a common theme.

“I think they like that it’s very positive, it’s very thorough,” said Zema, a St. Charles native. “I explain things thoroughly without breaking people down in a negative way.”

Participants need not own horses to participate in the event, as a limited number of Bull Run’s horses can be leased for $50 a day or $90 for the weekend. Camp cost is $85 for one day or $165 for the weekend, and lunch is served on both days before the final session begins at about 2 p.m.

For those bringing their own horses, stalls are available upon request for $35 per night or $65 for the weekend. For information, those interested can contact Bull Run at 630-365-1376.

Zema said 19 participants were registered as of Thursday afternoon. She can accommodate a few more, along with “all the people who want to come audit.”

That’s not IRS speak, mind you; an auditor also can be anyone who hears or listens. Fees for attending without a horse are $25 per day.

Zema has been managing Bull Run for about seven years, part of a 30-year association with horses.

“As a little kid I just always wanted to ride,” she said. “My mother took me to lessons and it grew from there.”

Champaign dreams: The IHSA state wrestling tournament opened with preliminary matches in all three classes Thursday as veteran and novice big-stage performers took the mats at the University of Illinois’ Assembly Hall in Champaign.

Count Marmion junior 106-pounder Anthony Bosco, one of seven Cadets in the 3A bracket, in the former category. The St. Charles resident is a returning state qualifier and grateful for his experience downstate.

“It definitely helps knowing that once I get down there, I’m going to have done it before,” Bosco said. “A lot of these kids are freshmen, so it’s going to be their first time down there. I’m used to the pressure, I’m used to coming out of that small tunnel into the big arena and the kind of shock that it gives you the first time you do it.”

He’s not alone. Fellow St. Charles product Johnny Jimenez, a junior competing at 120, is vying for his third successive state title to begin his career.

“Each year, I’ve got to keep working hard to get that next state title,” Jimenez said.

• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or

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