Not Exactly Summer Camp


    Have you ever wondered how a horse perceives going off to professional trainer’s barn? My sister and I recently hauled Cowboy, our mom’s warmblood-cross youngster, to a trainer for thirty days so he could get a few light rides under saddle. We explained to Cowboy that it was going to be like going to “summer camp for horses” and he’d have lots of fun and activities. Just like all kids who go away to camp, Cowboy is having some mixed feelings about his experience. In fact, just like all summertime campers, he’s written a letter home, complete with some snapshots. Here it is:

    Life with Horses - Not Exactly Summer Camp

    Hi Everyone. It’s me, Cowboy. This so-called “summer camp” isn’t turning out to what you promised. First off, there aren’t a bunch of fun activities and the stuff I’m learning is not exciting. Like for instance the big whoop-tee-do has been learning to stand tied to the Patience Pole. This took me all of about 10 minutes. Okay, I got it. I have patience. I stand tied up. But what’s next? I mean, after I’m patient, what’s the big pay-off? Do I get to go swimming? Do I get to make something? No. I just patiently wait for… something. The end. B-O-R-I-N-G. In fact, they should call this thing the Boring Pole.

    Life with Horses - Not Exactly Summer Camp

    Next I got introduced to the Round Pen. It was big and enclosed and mysterious. I thought maybe there was something magical behind the heavy doors and the solid walls. But you know what? It’s just a pen. And it’s round. And I have to work in there. In fact, I even get ridden in there. And no matter how many times I go around, the scenery never changes. You know, I could make it all a lot prettier and more interesting if someone would just give me a couple of jars of Tempura paint and a brush. I could do a mural on the wall or something. But I guess actually doing something creative at camp is asking too much.

    Life with Horses - Not Exactly Summer Camp

    When I first saw the hot walker I thought, “Cool! Now we’re talkin’! The other horse campers and I can have some fun with this thing!” But dang, I can’t figure out how to outmuscle the contraption, although I’ve tried. My goal is to finagle the snap and get loose, and then release the other horses and we can go commando through the campground. At least then we’ll all really have something to write home about.

    Life with Horses - Not Exactly Summer Camp

    I’m all for personal hygiene (being a fair haired palomino), but man oh man, they sure make you take a lot of showers at this place. Every time I do anything it’s followed up by a bath, whether I break a sweat or not. I end up smelling like foo-foo herbs by the time I get led out of the wash rack. But that’s okay, because I take care of that. As soon as I get back to my tent—I mean stall—I find the most mucky, gross place in the corner and then roll in it really, really good. Ha!

    Life with Horses - Not Exactly Summer Camp

    One thing I must say about this place is that the food is good. They even have carrots at lunchtime. But I was promised even better goodies, like s’mores. Where are they? And what happened to singing around a campfire? And making crafts? The only craft work I’ve done is chewing some ornamental designs onto my camp counselor’s saddle, and she didn’t think that was cool, so I got in trouble. Some camp this has been, eh? I’m almost beginning to think that I was misled into thinking this whole experience was going to be something that it is not. Because of that, I am counting the days until I can come home. The end of August can’t come fast enough because, when it comes down to it, I miss all you guys.



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    1. Aw, poor Cowboy! It sounds like his camp experience is going much like mine always did, LOL.
      BTW, what a GORGEOUS young man he is turning out to be!!

    2. That is the cutest story! I love reading about Cowboys antics and training while growing up. It will be interesting to learn how he turns out when he’s all grown up.


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