Rider Insider: Summer Memories


Any season is good when it’s spent with horses, but there’s just something about summer. It doesn’t matter if your preferred equestrian activity is on the trails, in the show ring or hanging out at the barn with your friends, those days between Memorial Day and Labor Day offer endless possibilities.



Were you one of the lucky kids who spent your summer vacation at horse camp? The memory of a special camp horse or an inspirational counselor is part of many lifelong riders’ formative experiences with equines. Those weeks spent at summer camp are also a rare opportunity for kids from the city or suburbs to immerse themselves in the equestrian experience.

Are your summers devoted to competition? Fall may be the setting for the big championships, but for most equestrians, the bulk of the season takes place in the summer. Think back to those blazing hot days and surprise afternoon thunderstorms, punctuated by blue-ribbon victories and valuable learning experiences. There’s nothing quite like the summer show circuit.

Is summer your prime time for trail riding? With daylight hours at their maximum, there’s plenty of time to explore new trails and see wild places that you could never reach by car. Warm nights open up the possibility for horse camping and moonlit rides. You can’t beat that.

Whatever your summer activity of choice, we want to know about your favorite horsey summer memory. Shake off these remaining cold days of winter and warm up with summery thoughts. Click “Submit a Comment” below and share your story. Some of the editors’ favorite responses could be featured in a future issue of Horse Illustrated!

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  1. My favorite summer memory on horse back would have to be the time that I jumped my first jump at horse camp on a dark bay Thoroughbred stallion named Twilight 🙂 I will never forget that first jump…..a memory to remember for life!

  2. One of my favorite summer memories is working at a horse camp for girls located up the road from us. Every summer, we take girls on trail rides, teach lessons, and-my favorite- take girls and horses to the pond where they have fun bonding and riding in together. It’s so rewarding to see them having such a good time with girl’s best friend, the horse.

  3. One of my favorite summer memories is working at a girl’s horse camp located down the road from us. At the camps, we take the girls on trail rides, teach riding lessons, and-my favorite-take girls and horses to the pond where they have fun bonding and riding in together. It’s so rewarding to see them having such a good time with girl’s best friend, the horse.

  4. Getting up at sunrise so I can head out on a trail ride before the heat and bugs are bad. Then rinsing my horse, Stacy, and watching her and her best bud, Noel, eat breakfast.

  5. My sister and I took our little brother riding for the first time after finding a couple that offers great trail rides. My brother had never been near a horse or even expressed interest but they put him on a lovely gaited gelding named Lakota and he did great, I was pleasantly surprised. He had an awesome time despite being sore for days and I’m really glad he decided to go with us!

  6. In the middle of a summer storm…I am deathly afraid of storms so to help ease the fear my trainer had me ride in the middle of a (not so bad to ride in, but still scary to me) storm. I ended up having tons of fun and the rain was a relief from the heat of the day. I gained a ton of confidence and it’s all thanks to my awesome lesson horses and my wonderful trainer…..and occasionally a storm or two 🙂

  7. My very favorite summer memory was being lucky enough to take part in a 5 day Parelli horse camp. 1 day of groundwork/arena work, 2 days of cow work (including herding/cutting cattle under a full moon), jump course work, swimming with my best buddy, Cisco (he LOVED it) and the 5 hr trail ride that turned into a 9 hour endurance ride the last day!

  8. Whether it’s tons of horse shows, clinics or just playing with my horse, summer is awesome. I know the highlight of my summer this year that I’ll never forget will be the George Morris clinic I’m so lucky to be able to take!

  9. My best summer highlight was meeting my horse. It was July and sunny..the grass was green and there before my eyes was a gangly long eared 3 year old OTTB. I went to him and he instantly gave me a OTTB hug…neck around me and he sighed..I knew then I had to have him! It took until November 11, 2012 for me to sign the ownership papers but that first meeting in the summer was my best summer ever..Even as we gain new memories everyday..that was my best summer Memory!

  10. I will have to say the best part of summer was when my horse, Tex and I would go on long runs for about 12 miles straight and then come home and go swimming for a couple hours. He would be sticking his nose in the water and through it up as I would either swim under him or use him as a diving board. He was any amazing horse. We also would go camping just he and I down by the river. He is the only horse we have let roam the property without a fence as he wouldn’t go very far if I was home. He was great! He also loved to chase snakes, he never tried to kill them just sniff them and then try to get it to play.

  11. After 20+ years away from horses I was invited to ride at a benefit trail ride. The people were friendly and accepted me as another horse lover. It didn’t matter that I did not have a horse of my own. They put me on a horse and away we went for hours on the trails. We “played” – getting the horses to gait. This was my first experience with a gaited horse and I will never forget the feeling of floating down the trails. What a blast!! I now have a gaited horse of my own.

  12. I remember the Summer afternoons I would spend swimming, then jumping out of the pool, and still in my wet bathing suit and board shorts I would tack up my gelding and canter him around in the field. Those memories make me happy I got to have a girl’s dream come true. I think I might try doing that more often this Summer.

  13. My first gallop. That is my favorite memory in the summer. galloping on a horse gives you a thrill that you can’t experience from anything else. Galloping is, and probably always will be, my favorite thing to do!

  14. Whenever I think of summer, I think of horse shows. Even though they can be extremely stressful and nerve racking, they are still where the best memories are made. Whether its from taking home the blue or being happy you survived your ride, every horse show always has that special unforgettable moment that you will cherish forever.

  15. One of my fondest memories are of one years ago when I owned my very first pony. We were riding down a trail. I was humming my favorite tunes, when we came across a deer grazing. It was such a beautiful morning, and my pony and I watched the deer until it ambled off.

  16. My favorite summer memory is when me and my pony went swimming through this lake. She loved it so much she didn’t want to get out, we had to bribe her with carrots!

  17. Last summer my daughter,son-in-law,his parents,kids and I went to Wranglers at Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky. It was an enjoyable experience and we rode every day we were there. We plan on going back this summer and I am eagerly anticipating this.

  18. My favorite summer memory was when I rode my horse through a beautiful grove of trees. The sun was near setting and I could hear the bugs chirping and the birds singing. Overhead the trees provided shade. Going through this place will forever be etched in my memory!

  19. My fav summer memory is spending hours in the creek near our riding trails. The horses loved the water and it felt so good to cool off!

  20. I am a summer horse camp counselor at the stable where I ride.And nothing not even getting to ride,makes me feel as happy as when a camper who finally gets something on horseback. It’s such a nice feeling to know that you helped a child “click” and bond with their favorite camp horse when they learn something new!

  21. Mom and I have a tradition with our horse, Jack, year round to go out and give him and apple and “tuck him in” at 8 PM. In the summer, it is also our tradition to take him out in the yard for a walk and to hand graze for about 30-45 minutes. It’s a beautiful time of the day to wind down and spend time with him. This is probably my all time favorite summer memory!

  22. Last summer was the summer that my instructor finally asked me if I wanted to come and work at the beginner camps for the little kids. I accepted and it turned out to be one of the funnest things I had ever done with horses. The feeling that I got from helping to teach all the small children was amazing. I can’t wait to help out again this summer.

  23. Two summers ago is my favourite summer memory, I spent two weeks riding my horse Buddy at my aunty’s ranch on the trails. One of my last few days up there we decided to go on the overnight trail ride to the lake and I took Buddy. It was his first overnight ride and being able to take him on that ride was the best feeling ever.

  24. My favorite summer memory with horses is when I go to the barn and the horse I want to ride comes running up to greet me with a whinny. And every time she would play a joke on me by bumping my rear with her nose.

  25. My favourite summer memory was riding to the nearest little town, about an hour to get there; and stopping at the local ice cream shop. The owners there were lovely and even built a hitching post for myself and friends (maybe so we’d stop using the bike rack to tie our horses?). We’d all have our ice cream and then ride back home… Those days were the best! ??

  26. My favourite summer memory was riding to the nearest little town, about an hour to get there; and stopping at the local ice cream shop. The owners there were lovely and even built a hitching post for myself and friends (maybe so we’d stop using the bike rack to tie our horses?). We’d all have our ice cream and then ride back home… Those days were the best! ??

  27. My favorite summer memory was the first summer we had MY first horse. She was born in late May and that first summer was filled with feeding her every 3-6 hours (because her mother didn’t take to her at first) putting her in a halter, walking her, and showing her off to all my friends and family. My parents had been recently divorced so she was the one that was there for me whenever I needed to smile.

  28. my favorite summer is this coming summer because an equine therapy center I get to volunteer at an equine therapy center and help kids with disabilities AND spend the summer with horses! can it get any better than that?

  29. my favorite summer is this coming summer because I get to volunteer at an equine therapy center and help kids with disabilities AND spend the summer with horses! can it get any better than that?

  30. The longer days allow me to take a cool evening ride, it is quite and after a hard day at work the my horse and I can just chill and enjoy the scenery.

  31. I have so many horsey-summertime memories, I don’t think I could count them all! For me, summertime is show time. No day at the barn is wasted- whether it’s perfecting showmanship skills or wading through the lake bareback, everything holds it’s own memories and lessons. Most people like the summer because it gives them a break, a time to relax at the beach. But for me, summer= spending the whole day with horses! Rain or shine, summer memories are made with horses!

  32. My favorite summer memory was my first year riding. I had a black Quarter pony named Blackie. He was a rescue horse and I loved that horse so much. He had arthritis so he was in pain constantly. Later in the fall my grandpa sold Blackie to the person we had gotten him from. That summer was the best summer of my life!

  33. Without doubt my favourite summer memory is my first hunt on horseback. Riding my young OTTB filly we were an inexperienced pair and both full of enthusiasm and energy.
    Riding a racehorse we scarcely managed not to break the rules and pass the Master of the hunt. As we galloped over the rolling hills of the beautiful New Zealand countryside, jumping over spars (wooden jumps built into wire fencing) and fording through streams, I never felt so alive and joyful.
    Even though we had to pass up on a few bigger jumps and lost our way once (oops!), never have I enjoyed anything as much as that first feel of the excitement of galloping with other horses and riders and feeling the communal thrill of a shared love of horses and adventure.
    I wish I could do that for the first time again!

  34. My favorite summer ride was a surprise to all who rode on it.
    WE(two of my friends and I,)went on a regular trail-ride (or so we thought). On our way back we saw a herd of yearling calves loose. Our horses were terrified. But we knew they had to go back and we knew where they lived. So after persuading the horses we chased them across the field to their pen.It was incredible!My horse even neighed to them afterward.
    None of us knew how to herd cattle,and we all were English riders,on horses who had no experience.
    The whole ride home we were proud of ourselves(the horses and us). We were having trouble with the horses before but they just walked home with their heads held high,literally.

  35. Hands down, my absolute favorite part about summer is just being able to spend quality time with my sister and our horses. When we are both away at University during the school year, riding without her just is not the same. When summer rolls around and we get to spend some precious time together, we make the most of it by trail riding, maybe some local shows, but most importantly, just being together.

  36. My favorite summer memory was definately going to a small local show. I was riding a spooky appaloosa named Cherokee and was half expecting to fall off. At first he was a bit nervous, but once we got into the ring he came alive! We sailed our way into a third, and even a first place ribbon in the flat classes. Then, just when I thought we were unbeatable, he knocked down a jump in our over fences class. I barely even noticed and came out of the ring with a huge smile. I
    could’nt believe how good Cherokee had been. I will always remeber this day as
    the best day of my life.


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