What a fantastic session we are having with your children and grandchildren. As we hit the mid-point of the summer, I cannot believe how time is zooming by. The adage that “Time flies when you are having fun” is really true. We are loving these kids and hate to think that the session is drawing nigh…Arghhh, I hate saying good bye to great kids!
As you know, last week was geared to getting the kids to know each other and preparing for the horse show. I hope you have loved all of Becky’s fun pictures and quotes. The kids are really enjoying each other and we surely have packed the schedule. Between solid riding lessons, singing, skits, stable management, swimming, Talent Show, pony dress up, jumping courses, more swimming, trail rides, field trips, did I say swimming, Personal Scavenger Hunts, presentations about show ring etiquette, swimming with the horses and trips to the Wilton Falls, there has not been a dull moment or a cross word. The kids are being such troopers with the extremely hot and muggy weather. We have also been most pleased with the teaching staff, the nurses and the kitchen team. We are lucky to have found a magic combination this summer.
However, it is this week that I really enjoy as it is all the things other than the horse show. We have had time to do the Ice Cream Trough, bareback, vaulting (aka gymnastics on the moving horse), wading in the creek on ponies bareback, Cascino Night, the Hunter Pace and a visit to the Nursing home where my Mom is living. Let me tell you about these adventures so you can be a ‘fly on the wall’ at camp and catch the spirit of fun that abounds!!!
My own favorite was taking 12 campers, 12 animals and 4 staff to the nursing home where my Mom lives at the great age of 90. You would have been moved to tears watching those girls interface with the old folks. They were kind, considerate, polite, respectful, engaging, endearing, delightful and just plain GREAT. I actually had tears in my eyes several times during the wonderful afternoon. We took two miniature horses, two goats, two sheep, two rabbits, two chicken and two dogs. We looked kind of like Noah’s Arc upon arrival. We had cars, trailers, halters, baskets and crates to bring everyone there. We also brought an obstacle course complete with two jumps to show the residents. They simply loved seeing the kids and animals. One lady who has Alzheimers and literally screams and shouts all day long was quiet for an entire hour of being with the animals and kids. She patted each and every animal and was so much at peace. Others sat with the chickens or bunnies, or my little dog, Oscar, on their laps. The staff of the home had made juice and cookies for everyone to share. Not a drop remained by the end.
It was absolutely fantastic how great your kids were. I was so proud of them. I often get mad when I hear people say that kids today are no good, and selfish and self-absorbed. They clearly have not met our Pony Farmers!!!
I also just got home from the first official Pony Farm Horse Show Team away horse show that took place at a farm about 30 minutes away from Touchstone. Again, I was so very proud of the girls and of our coaching team, led by Andi. She took six kids and four ponies. The kids were in exactly the right classes and each did remarkably well. Everyone pinned in every class with championships and reserves in all the divisions in which they competed. Best of all, their sportsmanship, organization and turn-out was super. The ponies were beautifully braided and sparkling clean. The kids were immaculately dressed and, despite the temps being in the mid 90’s, they were dressed in their complete show attire. With smiles all around, it was a most pleasant afternoon. We also had super parents in attendance. With parents like these, no wonder Pony Farmers turn out so well! It was a great from beginning to end!
While the show was happening, the rest of the campers did another camp favorite…The Hunter Pace. This too was a great success. The staff divides the girls into teams of riders with a rider from each group forming a team with two Team Captains. The more experienced riders are tasked with keeping the group together and making good decisions out on the 5 mile track. Safety checkpoints with staff carrying cell phone are set up ahead of time with complete directions as to how to keep things safe and fun. The girls set out at different times and try to get to the optimum time to go for 5 miles. The time is important, but not as important as teamwork. Becky had a fun prize for the winning team which came in closest to the ideal time with peaceful ponies and happy team members. It is a real camp ‘fav’ and such a good experience of decision making, cooperation and collaboration. It is also a good break from the more formal lessons of camp and going round & round the ring!
Tomorrow night is my all-time favorite camp activity which is the Pony Camping Trip. We even have new tents for the occasion. We will be bringing 4 ponies and tying them up overnight. We cook our dinner and breakfast over the camp fire. I am sure we will eat way too many S’Mores!!! We will then all gather around the evening campfire by the pond and tell stories of the farm and its people & horses. I adore this evening as I feel like I get the kids all to myself!!! We will have a glorious time I bet. I am not sure who is more excited…me or the kids!
We will also finish letting everyone swim with the horses. We were not able to do this with half the camp as we ran out of good weather one afternoon. Thunder, lightening and swimming doth not go well together! So, we will also be doing that tomorrow. The time will wrap up practicing for you when you come to see their riding demos on the last day. We hope you will find your child with a much stronger seat and legs, a big smile on her face, and a happy heart.
So, as we plan our last days together for this session and build toward our final Candlelight Ceremony, let me thank you for sharing your kids with us. They are fine, strong, capable, smart and fun young women, to the last one. It is our pleasure and privilege to have them. I am so proud of each of them and all that they can do. Best of all I love the friendships that have formed between campers, staff and the horses. In a fast paced, hectic world, it is so great to see them busy, active, involved and connected. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to offer this to them.
See you Saturday! Most fondly,