Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pony Farm Session 4 Has Arrived!

Dear Camp Families,

AHHHHHH - Session 4 has arrived!  This is very exciting news for me, because session 4 is my favorite session.  I know I am not supposed to have favorites, but session 4 wins me over every time. 
Why? Well, mainly because by now, camp is operating like clockwork, and our already-great staff, counselors, and CITs are working together in tight-knit teams. It makes a camp director's heart very happy!
And if that weren't enough, session 4 also means it's time for our annual trip to Cheshire Fair! Not to mention swimming, riding (of course!), a trip to meet the Budweiser Clydesdales, the horseless horse show (OAPF), and on Saturday, a Touchstone Farm horse show -- with actual horses -- and so much more.

And this is just week 1!
I think I'm not the only one who loves session 4. On Sunday, I saw you all lining up early in your cars for drop-off. After we moved our truck and let you in, I saw campers running to greet one another!  
Waiting for camp to open for drop-off
Your girls are doing an amazing job of taking care of each other, the animals and the land.  There hasn't been a drop of homesickness, even the first night!  The campers were sitting and ready to go for our community meeting on Monday morning.  It was like I didn't even have to call it.

If you don't hear from me for a few days, it is because I am out playing at camp!
Time to play with Dunkin the donkey, Becky the mini-horse (no relation),
and the other small animals
 Session 4, I am so happy you are here!

Monday, July 14, 2014

OAPF - Battle of the Boy Bands

Dear Camp Families,

In my last post, I told you we are too busy having fun for me to write. Now I will try to make up a little by explaining another OAPF (Only at Pony Farm) activity.

You might have heard us mention Battle of the Boy Bands. While that's a weird phrase for an all girls riding camp, it is in fact a really fun game, which naturally we made up.

It goes like this ...

1.  We divide the camp into 6 teams based on campers' riding experience, so that each team has a variety of riding experience among teammates. 

2.  Each team comes up with a Boy Band name for their team.  This year's names are Green Day, Maroon 5, Plain White T's, Jackson 5,  NSYNC, and Backstreet Boys. (Sometimes "boy band" is a term we use loosely.)

3.  During their session, Boy Band teams can accrue points for about 10 different events.  These include Personal Scavenger Hunt, a Hunter Pace, Stable Management, Counselor Quest, Capture the Flag, Talent Show, Fashion Show, Gymkhana Games,and  Pony Farm's Next Top Model.

Session 3 Leaderboard for the Battle of the Boy Bands - NSYNC has the edge!

4. Each Boy Band team has a signature item that they wear during an eligible event in the competition. This might be a blue bandanna, a green shirt, a white shirt, a red ribbon tied in their hair, etc

5.  We host a final awards night - with a dance off!  Each Boy Band prepares a song (sung by their Boy Band) and dance for the award ceremony.  We award prizes!

Battle of the Boy Bands: a lot of fun, very silly, and - did I mention? - a lot of fun!



PS In case you're curious, Wikipedia defines "boy band" here. Strangely enough, the definition doesn't mention Pony Farm!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pony Farm Session 3 - A True Confession

Dear Camp Families,

True confession...I have been too busy having fun and hanging out with your wonderful children to write.  It is a rough life I lead, I know!

We have been busy and the weather has been amazing. (You really couldn't ask for better weather!)

We have been going on Trail Rides, Personal Scavenger Hunts, Catch Riding, Vaulting, Carriage Driving, Trips to the Falls and more.
Yup, another Shipwreck Dinner! (Remember that?)

The worm - during Personal Scavenger Hunt
(not sure I could explain this if I tried!)
And then there are horse friends and human friends, happy together!

Now do you understand why I haven't written?


Co-Camp Director

P.S. Maybe I haven't been writing, but I have been posting lots of photos on Facebook! You can check out the first batch here:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pony Farm Session 2 - We Have Momentum!

Dear Camp Families,

It is a warm day here in southern NH, and your girls are champs!  They did a beautiful job at our horse show on Saturday! All but two campers decided to show, and the two girls who did not kept busy helping their friends and cheering them on. We had many local riders showing with us well.
Boo expertly braiding Sophie's hair before Saturday's horse show

Ava & Ellie at the show
Sunday, we had fun sleeping in (no morning barn chores!), watching a movie, cleaning rooms and then hanging out at the pool.  We were surrounded by small animals, books, arts and crafts and friends.  The horses always have Sundays off.
Gruffy staying cool on his day off

Monday, we had lessons in the morning.  Choices for afternoon activities were Pair Jumping, Vaulting, Driving, Trail Ride, Swimming at the Falls, or Catch Riding.  The evening activity is Fashion Show, which is like no fashion show you've seen before (OAPF!).
All the ways we're having fun this week!

We have a busy week ahead of us, as you can see from our schedule!  We are camping overnight twice because everybody wants to go!  It is hard to take 28 campers camping at once, so we are going to take two separate trips!



Friday, June 27, 2014

Pony Farm Session 2 - Working for the Weekend

Dear Camp Parents,

We have been busy!

But first, I know that I left you hanging about Ship Wreck Dinner.  On a ship wreck dinner night, the campers don't get your typical spoons, forks, or knives.  Nopers!  They get ladles, funnels, serving spoons and tongs, and more outlandish implements.  We like to get creative!  Have you ever seen a camper eat mashed potatoes by sucking it with a funnel? Well, it is a hoot!

On Wednesday night, we played the Chocolate Game and Counselor Quest.  During the Chocolate Game, I always feel like a bit boss in a casino!  There are campers screaming with excitement, yelling for more chocolate bars, dice are being thrown, children are eating chocolate Hersey bars with spoons and socks on their hands, ... you know, typical camp stuff.  It is never a dull moment here!

We have been doing group riding lessons in the morning in anticipation of the show on Saturday morning.
Isa and Princess working on their technique

This week, painting jumps has been a popular choice on the afternoon activities list.
Painting jumps: It takes a village  summer camp.
This afternoon, we are washing ponies, cleaning tack, and polishing boots.  Tonight, we are having a cook out.  Boo is going to talk about show etiquette and possibly tell some "Boo stories." (O.A.P.F.!)

Cleaning Kiddo!
Cleaning tack in the upper barn
Cleaning boots on the porch
We hope to see some of you at the show. First classes are at 9:00. I know all of camp will be up bright and early.  It is a lot of work to get all the children and ponies ready to show!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Pony Farm Session 2 - Keeping Busy

Dear Camp Families,

Yay! We passed the swim test!
Session 2 of Pony Farm Summer Camp has started off with beautiful blue skies and amazing weather!  We haven't had a drop of homesickness, which is always nice.

After our trial rides this morning, we had 5 re-rides for the afternoon to make sure every girl is riding the best horse for her. 

During re-rides the rest of the camp take their swim tests and play with the small animals.  We stay pretty busy here at camp.  It is a little bit different than sitting at your desk at school.

Small animal parade
This evening we play bag skits.  It is a fun and funny game!  Each room of campers gets an empty bag and goes to their room and puts 10 items in the bag.  Then everybody comes back out, and we switch all the bags around.  The campers go back to their rooms to make up a skit using the items in the bag they were handed.

Everyone has a certain amount of time to make up their skit, and then it's showtime!  As I said, it is fun and funny - to pick the items in the bag, to figure out your skit, to see what another room did with your items.

Tomorrow night is shipwreck dinner. You just have to wait until next time to know how that one goes.


Co-Camp Director

3 out of 4 campers prefer this T-shirt.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Pony Farm Session 1 - Friday Already??

Dear Camp Families (Especially Session One Families!),

Thank you for entrusting your children to us! We have a had a wonderful session! Thank you for doing your job as parents, because you have terrific kids (for real, not for fake), and thank you for letting us as a camp do our job.

Terrific kids such as these three! (P.S. They clean up well.)
I am sad to see this group depart, but I am thankful  they are the way we started our summer.

I think your girls have learned a lot in this one week, and I hope you notice the changes as well.  Here are a few things that I think they will take away from camp this week.

Perseverance - when your counselors hid really well during counselor quest.  The group that stays together as a team, works as a team, and looks for the counselors until the horn blows will win.  The group whose members give up quickly because it is hard won't find the counselors.

Winning isn't everything. You won't always win every game and that's ok.  The important part is you tried your best.

Great things can come from putting down the cell phones, TVs,  iPods, laptops, iPads and everything in between.  Those great things are called nature, horses, sunshine, friends, and so much more!   

Driving lessons with Boo & George, AKA "learning how to fly with Peaches"
From my perspective, these girls have a lot more confidence in themselves.  I hope you notice these changes and more in your children when you take them home tomorrow.   For these reasons and more, camp is so important. 

Newest members of the Gruffy fan club!
All of us are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. Your girls have worked hard at their riding lessons and their “specialty,” and they are so excited – WE are so excited – for you to see what they’ve accomplished.