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Archive | Summer Horseback Riding Camp

When we have big jobs on the farm to complete, we rely heavily on our campers to help us complete these projects. We got some new stones for in between the dorms (a full dump truck!) and we needed to even them out across the path between the dorms. We taught our campers how to kneel down and look across the gravel to see the low spots and the high spots. Using the metal rakes, our campers leveled out the stones and filled in the lower areas by taking stones from the higher areas. We are proud of our campers for taking such great care of the farm and for working to keep it beautiful.

Finally, our favorite time of year. The air at Road’s End Farm is filled with laughter and the horses are getting brushed, scratched, and loved by campers. The beginning of camp is always an exciting time for our horses, our staff, and our campers. Our 12 summer staff members are doing a wonderful job teaching the new campers how the Road’s End Farm program operates. We have some qualified and talented counselors who will be instructing riding lessons for our campers on their favorite horses. Sometimes, when you ride your favorite horse, you can’t help but laugh. We have heard laughter throughout the trails and occasionally during the riding lessons in our rings. The horses are more than happy to be getting scratched and loved by girls who love them unconditionally.

Black beautiesJune has come to Road’s End Farm, bringing sunny skies, a pleasant breeze, and a new supply of lush grass for the horses. The herd was moved toWheelocks yesterday, and the horses cantered across the road in excitement as the replenished fields came into view. Back at the barn, brushes, buckets, and bridles are being organized and dusted off in preparation for the arrival of campers. Other buildings like the recreation room and the arts and crafts center are being swept out and spruced up in order to provide optimal activity options to the girls who are coming for the summer of 2017. As far as personnel, the counselors are slowly arriving, preparing to learn about each horse along with the ins and outs of life here on the farm.

Jack has been wandering around up by the barn, itching himself on every available tree and munching on the grass around the house. As one of the elder members of the herd, Jack stayed behind during crossover, and though he misses some of the excitement, he enjoys a lot of scratches and love from anybody who walks through the yard. As horses begin to get older, they receive extra love from campers and staff and enjoy deluxe
benefits. Jack has been befriending an Icelandic horse, Prímus, who will be here for the summer.

As the weather warms up, activity increases and people flock to the premises to contribute to the farm and enjoy the herd. The upcoming three months are what we look forward to as a summer horseback-riding camp. We can’t wait to welcome campers new and old this summer, and share the farm with them again!

The horses were finally released into the grassy pasture on May 20 and they could not have been happier to get back out onto the fresh grass! There was lots of galloping and then after the mad dash, the horses continued frolicking around the top of the hill across from Wheelocks. We posted about the big release on Facebook and had about 40-50 people show up to watch. It was wonderful to be able to share the beauty of the herd of horses with others. As soon as the fields dried out and were safe enough for the horses to run without slipping or creating holes, we scheduled the event! This was the first year we have ‘advertised’ this event, which Tom named ‘The Great Escape,’ and we hope that everyone who came had a wonderful time! Enjoy watching a video of the running below! 🙂

 Have you heard the term “horse-crazy girl”? At Road’s End Farm, we are filled with girls each summer that think of themselves as “horse-crazy”. Girls are immediately immersed in farm life with a herd of 69 horses, 3 cats, one dog, and 360 acres of wilderness surrounding them. Horse-loving girls get much more than just horseback riding. With a summer staff that love horses dearly, the campers are surrounded with kind mentors and teachers to learn about horses, farm life, and the pride of a job well done. A main part of our horsemanship component revolves around taking care of our horses.

Each morning, many girls have already lined up at the gate ready to feed the herd. At 7 AM sharp, the classic sound of the Road’s End Farm bell rings loud and clear, drawing out the rest of the campers from their dormitories. Feeding begins when the first horse exits the paddock and ends when the last horse enters back into the paddock. Since we don’t have many stalls, our method of feeding is in hand. Campers take a horse from the gate, find a spot on the lawn which has good spacing away from other horses, and wait for a ‘bucket runner’ to bring their horse the proper amount of grain. The grain is doled out by the ‘grain master’ who is inside the barn. The bucket runners must know every horse, so that each horse is given the proper amount of food.Redheads

Besides feeding the horses the correct amount of food, one of the most important aspects of Road’s End Farm feeding is checking to make sure each horse does not have an injury, will eat their food (no stomach aches), and is acting normal. Horse health can be a tricky business and horses can get injured in the herd, develop a stomach ache from the temperature, stress, or from any environmental change. We are always monitoring our horses each feeding time because we want to make sure to catch all of these cases early. With our trustworthy campers and counselors, we have many hands to make the feeding process go smoothly during the summer. Many times, the campers wish to take their favorite horse! 🙂 Sometimes they’re successful if they get lucky in the line and have good timing. Thankfully, each horse is the favorite of at least one camper and gets loved every day.

Road’s End Farm feeding is certainly unique and an aspect of our camp program that campers absolutely love. We don’t plan on changing our ‘hands on’ philosophies and we believe that care taking of our horses is just as important, if not more important, than learning how to ride. Alicia will certainly agree that to be a complete horsewoman, you must learn how to care for and love horses, along with learning the language of horses.

 

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