Riding Camp

When I was a kid, I had a real thing about horses. I wanted one, but growing up on an apple farm meant we didn’t have a barn or pasture to keep one (or two). My solution was to suggest 4-H – using a horse from a nearby farm. But that meant having to drive me so I could care for the animal etc, so it was a non-starter. I had a few friends who had horses, and now and again I’d get to go to their house and go for a ride. And a handful of times I went to a local riding stable and did trail rides. I read horse books. I did “research reports” on my summer holidays. I was horse crazy.

I have a daughter who is animal crazy, so when we were looking at a special summer activity, we looked at things to do with animals. Unfortunately, the local vets and shelters require volunteers to be eighteen for liability reasons so that was out. And then I realized that there is a stable nearby who does camps all summer long.

When I asked her about it, she was over the moon. Not just to ride horses but to care for the horses. Feeding and brushing and whatever else they get to do. As the time gets closer, she’s getting more excited.

Is it sad that I almost wish I could go with her?


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16 thoughts on “Riding Camp”

  1. Donna, we had one horse growing up, for eight kids. A red and white Welch pony named Sparky. And our neighbors had three for seven kids but one was a sort of ‘green broke’ colt who we were never allowed to ride, only one of their daughters was granted that right.
    We spent a lot of time on horseback.
    Then we had three horses on our own farm/ranch. My Cowboy husband loved taking the girls on rides. One of the horses didn’t last long, he was unruly to say the least. By My Cowboy would saddle the two horses, May and Rex, and he’s take one child with him. He said it was weird how the girls would just start chattering once they were riding. He learned more about them than any other time. He’d just ride along and listen to them talk and talk. He just thought it was being alone, no sisters to compete with, plus the quiet, no TV, no distraction.

  2. I know this will sound like heresy, but while I do love cowboys, I was never that into horses, at least as far as wanting to ride them myself. Might be because the few experiences I did have in riding were not very pleasant.
    Mary, that is a very sweet story about your hubby and daughters. Those are probably memories your girls will cherish throughout their lives.

  3. That camp sounds great, Donna! Wish I could go, too. I came close, twice, to having a horse. My gandfather got Snow White from a stock contractor for rodeos. Hence, that horse was a no go for a child to ride, unless I had aspirations of being a saddle bronc rider. Next came Paint, a wonderful horse. I got to ride her twice before my grandfather was forced to sell her. And that ended the whole “let’s get the grandkids a horse” season. :o) Still hoping for a nice piece of land someday where I can have a horse.

  4. Donna, my granddaughter just got a horse that she’s been wanting for most of her life and she’s beyond happy and proud. And tomorrow she’s flying out of here to meet and spend time with Clinton Anderson, the famous horse trainer from Australia. He has a big ranch outside of Stephenville, TX. This is part of her wish from the Make a Wish Foundation. Needless to say, her feet aren’t touching the ground. I’m so happy that this is all coming together for her.

  5. I would love to have gone to horse camp as a teen. I had the typical teen horse crush for what good it did me. I did get a porcelain horse on my 16th birthday cake. That and books were as close as I got. A neighboring farm had a pony for a while but it couldn’t be ridden. Both of our girls liked horses. The rode at Girl Scout camp. Our younger daughter went to GS National Center West, which unfortunately is now closed, for a week long horse program. She worked at a Boy Scout camp in their Wagon Train unit for 3 summers. She also was an outrider for a Virginia anniversary wagon train across the state. She has horses now, but doesn’t ride anymore. She was thrown by a mule while working at the BS camp and injured her hip.

    Hope your daughter has a great summer. Maybe you can take lessons and ride during the year. I am sure the stable has programs for adults.

  6. Hores and I have not always got along. We love each other from a distance. but I have a niece right now that would give her right arm to own her own horse. She has only been riding a few years and now is in competions.
    I love horses, I think they are so powerful, yet can be so gentle.

  7. My fav thing about camp was the chance to be around the horses and to learn to ride… I was so sad when they stopped the program after I was there for two summers… turned my inerest to ceramics and art.

  8. For some reason, maybe living just outside a large city, I never was “horse crazy.” Even surrounded
    by all things western in our part of Texas, still
    wanting a horse was never on the totem pole! I can
    appreciate so many of you enjoying horses and riding, though!

    Pat Cochran

  9. Your story takes me back to my childhood. Since I’m a city girl, horses were absolutely out of the question, but for a few years my parents let me go to a ranch camp for two weeks in the summer! Bliss!!

    Eventually I set aside my fascination for horses and moved on (although I kept my Marguerite Henry books for YEARS, lol). But those were some fun days. Thank you for reminding me of them, Donna. 🙂

  10. Sorry I’m so late popping in to answer comments – I’ve been nose to the grindstone on the new book and up to my ears in washing machine woes! Ah, the glam life…

    Mary, I loved your comment about the girls talking. I think that happens with us during pool time and also other “outdoor” things like fishing or camping. Maybe it’s nature combined with no other electronic distractions!

  11. Elizabeth – LOL on the chihuahua! We had a mutt for a farm dog, and since we’d sold off all the cows and went to apple farming, we didn’t have any livestock. Which was a shame as I loved hanging out in the barns!

  12. Winnie, Kathleen and Pat – there is something to be said for admiring from a distance!

    Kristen – never say never! At least as an adult you can really appreciate all the work that goes into keeping one!

    Linda – your comment made me all squishy. I’m so glad that’s all happening for her.

  13. Patricia – I’ve thought about doing that, and I know they run some weekend things during the school year. I was planning to make some inquiries when camp starts!

    Colleen and Ann – sounds like you have some great childhood memories. 🙂

    And last but not least – Victoria! A thoroughbred rescue – gorgeous! I featured a rescue ranch in one of my 2010 books and visited one in Alberta. It was so nice there and you could feel the love for the animals- which is just how it should be. 🙂

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