Camp was an amazing experience this year! I was able to do camp with Ivana, with my trainer as my counselor and many many friends I already knew and met.
I was given Utah, this chestnut Thoroughbred (I’m pretty sure that’s what breed he is), and he turned out to be a really fun horse to ride since I am experienced enough to ride him (without dying).
On the first week, we did a lot of work on lateral work and transitions. Utah did somewhat well when we did leg yields and turns on the forehand compared to the last time we did lateral work together (my trainer had to literally push him over to get him to side pass). We had trouble picking up the left lead throughout the week, and I was lucky enough to get him to even pick up one or two strides of a left lead canter.
We went on two trail rides on the first week of camp. The first trail ride was a test trail where we took Utah out on the trail. He’s classified as a guide-only horse at the office, since he is definitely not safe for anybody but staff to ride. I ended up riding next to another guide-only horse, since we were free to spread out and not ride single-file. Our counselor decided we were advanced enough to not have to ride in a straight line out on the trails. We kept the trail at a walk-only pace, since my horse and our counselor assistant’s horses would most likely take off and leave the rest of the group behind. On our second trail ride, I was given a different horse so we could do more than walking. We were able to trot and lope on the trails that time without two horses that would run off with people.
We also played a few games of musical horses. Basically, the game is similar to musical chairs, but on horses. When the music played, we would trot around the arena. When the music stopped, the counselor would call a horse out and we had to jump off our horses and run to another one that wasn’t out. The game goes on like that until there are three horses left, where the three people would lope around the arena while everyone ‘out’ watched in the middle. The counselor would call a horse out , and whoever didn’t get on a horse got to get on the horse that was called out and be ‘chased’ by the two other people who were still in. Whoever got on that horse would be considered the winner of the game.
On Friday, we only rode English. I didn’t struggle too much doing the basic riding, walking and trotting around the ring while some first-time English riders figured out the shorter stirrups at both gaits. Utah had issues picking up the canter in general, probably since he was not used to having constant contact on his mouth with a snaffle bit.
The second week was great, too. We started doing pair work for our drill team during the show. I paired up with Ivana, who was on Chuck-E. We decided that Utah was going to be named Ariel and Chuck-E would be our Flounder for our Disney themed show names.
We learned and nearly perfected our drill team in only a few days, which ended up being pretty successful in our camp show on the second Friday. Sure, we messed up a couple of times, but the parents and family watching the show seemed to really like our drill team.
In the equitation class, I was put in a group of horses who had more ‘go’ and were not slow. We did some turning on the forehand, sitting jog as a group, posting trot as a group, loping as a group, and individual simple lead changes. Utah still never really picked up the left lead, except when we did drill team (if we got lucky) and one time during a lesson (after the counselor got on him).
I was given the award for “best legs” during our equitation class. Camp was really a great experience, where I actually got to learn a lot! I’m hoping to become a counselor assistant next year for more fun camp experiences! 🙂