When we were ending our first spring in North Carolina, Naomi decided she really wanted to take horseback riding lessons. You’d think in the middle of the rural south this would be an easy thing to arrange. It wasn’t until an emergency bathroom/chick feed stop at a feed store that I usually don’t go to, in a city I’m hardly ever in that I was able to make progress on that front. I just couldn’t find a place that also wouldn’t break our bank account. But there on the community board next to the feed store bathroom, was a flier that looked promising. After calling the number and talking to a weather-beaten old cowgirl with a cackle and a passion for horses, my big kids were set to go to her summer horse camp. They loved it, lessons began and soon my little girls were learning too. Fast forward 2 years and we are still going strong, with lessons for everyone every other week. Naomi had a couple of rough experiences in that first year that have left her the most cautious of my four. Garyn loves to go fast and the horse we always ride knows when Garyn gets on…he becomes a different horse. Layna has made so much progress and is now riding by herself with me walking beside. Corra, though, is the one who is blowing my mind. She will be just as good as Garyn here in about six months, and she handles herself like a boss. Kind of funny seeing this little five year old telling me that I can go now, she’s going to canter and I probably couldn’t keep up. Well. Yes. Umm. All right then.
Horse camp is basically three days of riding, crafts, and yummy food. They get the horses ready first thing and ride before it gets really hot (luckily we’ve had lots of rain, so it was much cooler than I expected this year). Then they do a craft. This time they made gallon jar terrariums, charcoal drawings, and painted horseshoes. Lunch happens and since Miss LaDonna always brings those drink flavor things to turn a water bottle into fruit punch goodness, it really elevates the whole day to “best day ever” status. On the last day they get to take finger paints and paint the horses. Then to clean up, they have water balloon fight in the shower stall. There’s nothing fancy about it, but my kids have a great time every year. Here are just some of my favorite pictures from camp. Pretty sure Layna’s expression in the last one wins all the things.