I write this blog to you, Dear Parents and Family Members, with a great big smile on my face and happiness in my heart. I was the lucky one to get to play with your kids all afternoon yesterday, followed by watching the PF Talent Show last night, and preceded by seeing the kids at the horse show on Saturday…I have so much to tell you about and it is ALL GOOD!
You have the dearest, sweetest, most hard working and delightful children!!! It has been our pleasure and honor to have them with us at Pony Farm this session. We have not had one drop of homesickness, one unpleasant word, or one fuss between kids. They have been good as gold and just plain fun all week long. The weather has been less than ideal for a summer camp with major outdoor programming! With threatening thunderstorms, rain and kind of dreary clouds, it has not dulled our sprits in the least. They have been gung-ho for anything and everything offered to them, from lessons, to swimming in the rain, to evening activities galore, to even riding in the rain. They smile through it all and have a ball. They are a tribute to you and good parenting. Thank you for bequeathing them to us this summer.
Starting with the horse show prep and planning, the kids really worked hard. They took their lessons seriously. I hope you share my observation that all the kids have made good progress during their first week of lessons this session. I watched kids compete in classes who had arrived a few short days before unable to steer or trot in a group. Trotting merrily along, posting and keeping their distance, to the last one, the girls did well in the show. Others jumped around courses that the rain had prevented them from really working to perfect. With excellent perseverance and determination, they did course after course, both with jumps and trail obstacles. I also loved the care and attention to detail that the teaching staff demonstrated with each kiddo. It is no mean feat to receive a bunch of kids on Sunday afternoon and have them sorted out on the right mount, in the right classes and with the right coaches all in five short days! This staff managed this with ease and fun. I was so proud of them all, kids and staff, alike.
I was also delighted with the four kids who chose not to compete. For one good reason or another, they wanted to cheer on their friends and help staff the show rather than compete. They helped pass out ribbons, helped me run the trail classes, clapped and encouraged, and generally were just plain pleasant to be around. PS. They did get special kudos that night, I promise!
So, with a happy show under our belt, followed by a fun, silly movie called Madagascar, they stumbled off to bed, happy but tuckered out. The next morning they popped right out of bed for more fun and time together on a farm.
Sundays is always my most favorite day of the week because we do not do the structure and formality of riding lessons and barn chores. We just get to be together and enjoy the farm.
We get to be human “beings” instead of human “doings”! Typically, it is in the sun, but true to the weather pattern hanging over the farm this week, it was under cloudy skies with pretty good humidity. After rooms were cleaned, laundry organized and a nice leisurely breakfast eaten in shifts, time to play in the pool, with the farm animals, and do arts and crafts began. Everyone passed the swim test with ease and free swim was enjoyed by many. Still others wanted to chat as they made bracelets, read books, chatted while watching the sheep graze, jumped the miniature horses, or just looked at the world go by. I love watching the gaggles of girls overflowing with giggles. I think that this day is how the world ought to be in more places!
After taking a dip myself, a bunch of us harnessed up Mike and Ben, our two newly donated Haflinger ponies, and started off on a leisurely hay ride down the road. The kids were all able to go together, about 10 at a time. We did two happy trips, with several kids helping do the actual driving of the pair of ponies. We chatted and sang and admired the woodsy scenery. I recalled once when one of the campers looked up at me on a similar afternoon of fun and said “You know, Boo, if more people traveled like this, there would be less wars.” I have to say I am in total agreement with this little wise one!
The kids then gathered in their rooms and in small groups to begin rehearsing for their Talent Show. With multiple ‘acts’ on our list and great anticipation, we had a quick Sunday night dinner including chicken and mashed potatoes! With the rain coming down, we all trooped off to the Indoor Arena for the highly awaited Talent Show.
Skits, songs, gymnastics, Obstacle Courses, more dancing and singing, and even some Live Stand Up Comedy, it was a high time for us all. It is a real tribute to your parenting and many miles of carpooling to and from lessons that these kids are so talented and versatile. To the littlest one, they can stand up and ‘strut their stuff’ in front of the entire camp community without a hitch. I finally had to corral them to go back to the lodge for our Good Night Circle and Vespers after nearly two hours of fun and frolic.
As all the girls and staff gathered around the Vesper Log ablaze with Candles and sang their hearts out, I settled back in my rocking chair, convinced that I was the most blessed person on Earth. Hearing their sweet voices sing the line-up of favorite camp songs, and listening to all that they are thankful for during Good Night Circle, surely puts a pleasant spin on a week of hard work to get it all right.
I must say these days and evenings of simple enjoyment and celebration convince me that the world will continue in good ways. With this much talent, compassion, ‘can do’ attitude and willingness to be a contributing part of a team, how can it not. Thank you for bringing up such dear and caring children to be leaders for tomorrow!
Today, the kids will be swimming with the horses and having lessons. Tomorrow will feature an All Day Drive with members of our Driving Club. More lessons will happen throughout the week as they negotiate jumping courses, the Hunter Pace, bareback, field trips, lungeing, vaulting, carriage driving, horsemanship and stable management…the list of activities goes on and on! It is never a dull minute, thanks to the enthusiasm of your kids.
We look forward to showing off their skills to you this coming Saturday. While we will be SAD to lose many of this session’s campers, we are eager to have you see what they learned and experience the camaraderie that has thrived this week. Please plan to arrive between 9:30 and 10AM on Saturday, with a picnic for your family and your guests. We will serve refreshments and dessert. The girls will ride in their regular riding lesson with the Senior Staff explaining what skills have been honed and answering your questions. This demo lesson will be followed by Specialties, which are the various other equine activities like riding or vaulting which took place during our session together. This all wraps up about noon and its picnic time for all.
We will gather on the front lawn of the lodge to enjoy a last meal together. Two members of our Touchstone Board of Directors will do a Mission Minute to tell you about the unfolding of the farm as a not for profit, including the exciting future to come. This will be short and sweet but we hope you will enjoy hearing what is in store at Touchstone Farm, home of Pony Farm, for future generations. You can plan to leave by about 1 or 1:30…following your camper(s) saying good bye to staff, fellow campers and their ponies…I hope you can plan to stay for it all.
Until then, please know that we are thrilled to be with your kids. We will work hard to make every hour special. We truly want to “Build Foundations which Last a Lifetime….” for your children. See you on Saturday and thank you for sharing your children with us. It is a real treat.
Sincerely and warmly,
Boo…Founder and Spirit Keeper!