30 March 2012

Wildlife, Part One: Neigh, I say

Miss Bean has been obsessing about horses for about as long as she has been able to obsess.  I have to admit, that I didn’t quite understand the whole concept.  My entire history with horses goes something like this.  Hmmm, horses are kinda pretty.  Yeah, I guess it looks like fun riding them.  And that was pretty much the extent of it until I went to a week long camp in junior high that included some horseback riding.  Putting on the tack (with someone else telling me what to do) I added the idea of “Whoa, these things are kind of large.”  Getting up into the saddle, I amended that to “Holy Crap these things are humongous.”  When the horse started walking, I added “Hmmm, not too bad.  I don’t get it, but I suppose I can see the appeal.”  Then we trotted.  From then on my thought train was pretty much “Get me off this thing!”  Fortunately the camp had other redeeming qualities so the week wasn’t a total wash.

Now, fast forward a few decades.  I have a little girl with boxes full of plastic horses that she spreads out on the living room floor with barns and fences.  A bed full of stuffed horses to snuggle as she falls to sleep.  Cowboy hats, cowboy boots, bandanas, stacks of horse books coming from the library.  Long discussions about the horse farm she was going to have when she grows up.  Not surprisingly, I find myself rather ill equipped to deal with this.  Well, except the dream farm.  Since she promised to also have a sheep or alpaca or two, I am fully behind this dream.  The addition of barn cats got Bug on board and Beeb was persuaded with a turtle and frog pond.  Otherwise, pretty much “Hmm.  Horses.  Nice.” and a bit of smiling and nodding.  But not long after Christmas, the newsletter from one of our local homeschooling groups had an item advertising a Homeschool Horse Camp.  It was going to be for three hours on Monday mornings for six weeks at a cost that I thought was reasonable.  I emailed back and forth with the folks at the Country View Equestrian Center for a while and further learned that a good chunk of the time would be doing chores and learning how to take care of horses in addition to riding.  For the most part, the camp met my criteria:  enough hard work to be a reality check, a chance to try out riding on a real horse, once a week to not be completely disruptive to our schedule, a commitment that was short enough while still allowing a real taste for horses, price that I considered reasonable.  The only downside is that it is in Monroe, which is home to some fabulous cheeses, but a bit of a hike from our house.  Since it would be just six sessions, we took the plunge.

IMG_0358Here she is during the first week.  I have to confess that I was kind of hoping that she would take after her mama.  Embiggen and draw your own conclusions.

IMG_0359 This one is actually a bit more focused, but she’s too busy concentrating.

IMG_0371Week two and she’s already looking more confident getting settled into the saddle.


The third week she got to ride on a humongous horse.  The woman had been there training and let some of the campers take turns while she walked her horse around to get her cooled down


When she got back on one of the ponies, it’s pretty clear who is boss now!
We have two more weeks left and I’m sorry to report that she is not a bit like her mama when it comes to horses.  I guess now we will have to start looking for something closer to home.  While we both are happy with the stable the camp is at, I have to admit that I am getting tired of driving an hour each way to get there.  Hopefully, we can find something reasonably priced and a bit closer to home.  Until then, I suspect we will have a sad little cowgirl.