Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pony Camp 2016

Last week Noelle had her pony play camp, and I don't know who was more excited- me or her! I loved horses growing up and took some lessons in middle school, and then leased a horse my junior and senior year of high school. Shawnee was a little buckskin quarter horse, and I loved riding him around the farm and going on trail rides with my friend Mindy. Granted, I was a horrible rider- I fell off so many times, but thankfully was never seriously injured!

Noelle went on her first pony ride at a local strawberry festival when she was two, and ever since then, if there's been a pony ride somewhere, she's wanted to do it. In the spring I briefly looked into a pony camp to find out what the age requirements were, and it started at age 4. When I was talking to the grandmother of the twins in her pre-school class, she told me that the girls were signed up for pony camp in August- at the same farm that I had been looking at. And since it was August, Noelle would be 4 and old enough to do it. Perfect!

We talked about pony camp all summer long, and then it was finally here. Of course I ended up having a doctor's appointment in Columbia that morning before the first day, so I rushed to that, picked the littles up from my mom's, and then rushed out to Mount Airy to get to the farm. Driving through three different counties all before 9:00 a.m, but I made it in time for everything (more or less.)

Walking into the barn brought back lots of horsey memories for me, and we wandered around a bit until we found the woman in charge. Noelle was so excited to see her pre-school buddies, and jumped right into playing with them. Jonah and I said good-bye and then walked around the barn saying hi to all the horses. Then Jonah and I headed out to Starbucks (I'd had a slightly frustrating doctor's appointment and decided to drown my disappointment in caffeine and sugar), and then to a new to us play ground for some fun.

And that was pretty much our routine for the week- drop Noelle off, say hi to all the horses, go play somewhere, and then come back to pick Noelle up and feed the horses carrots. She was there for three hours a day and was on a horse for about 45 minutes each of those days- and she loved it. Even though we had heat advisories for most of the week, she never complained about being in pants and boots. (Which normally, as soon as we step out in to the sun, all I hear about it how hot it is.) Most days I picked her up covered in dirt, and the next morning she couldn't wait to get back.

The last day, they had a little horse show. It was just the three girls for the younger age group, and each one had a teenager leading their horse as they walked or trotted (!) around. For the first 4 days, Noelle kept saying she just liked the walking, not the trotting. But after seeing her trot at the "show", her instructor told me that Noelle hadn't said anything about not wanting to trot that day. The girls rode over poles on the ground, and showed us how they leaned forward in more of a jumping position. They did around the world on the saddle with a teenager helping them turn their bodies all the way around. At the end, each of the girls was given a blue ribbon, and me and the other mom snapped a million pictures. All around, it was so. much. fun for all of us!

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