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The blog for Road’s End Farm, a summer horsemanship camp for girls who love caring for and riding horses. Blog posts contain year-round updates for the horse farm in rural, Chesterfield, NH.

Each year, we search far and wide for the best summer staff members for our summer camp program. Each aspect of our camp program is implemented by the residential counselors who live in the dorms with the girls. The youngest dorms have two counselors, while the dorms with the oldest campers only have one. In the middle-ages, we usually have one counselor and one CIT. The complete staff will usually have a breakdown of half American and half International. This year, we have staff members coming from all over the world to Road’s End Farm and we are very much looking forward to learning about different countries and cultures. So far, we have a one counselor from Austria, Australia, Finland, United Kingdom, and two counselors from Wales. Each camper loves learning of the different cultures, not to mention accents, and the counselors enjoy sharing information about their home countries.

As our campers grow up, they each have the opportunity to become a CIT (Counselor In Training) and they will learn the responsibilities that the staff have each summer. This experience is valuable for each camper who wants to become a counselor. Some years we have more CIT’s than other years, and we welcome all of them for the learning experience. Some of our CIT’s are surprised at how much work it is to be a counselors, however, we have found that as our campers grow up they begin to want responsibility and love the ability to give younger campers the same experience that they had as a young camper.

Additionally, we believe that the experience of becoming a staff member as an individual who has never been a camper is also a powerful experience. Coming into the Farm and creating frindships with campers and counselors, an international counselor is able to give to the farm a unique and different set of viewpoints and skills that make our program more diverse. The campers in our riding and swimming program gain a great deal of valuable instruction and information from our international counselors. We value the different experiences of our campers, counselors, and full time staff because at the end of the day, Road’s End Farm operates as one big team and our members each give something unique and different to our program.

We are very much looking forward to our 2017 summer camp season with our horses, campers, counselors, cooks, and nurses. The team at Road’s End works as a big family which has many different people who come and contribute to maintaining the land and animals at the end of Jackson Hill Road. To all the individuals who make Road’s End Farm possible, from full time employees to families who send (or have sent) their daughters here, we would like to extend a huge thank you and hope to see you soon for a hug!

May is here and bringing cooler weather! The horses are loving the 50 and 60 degree temperatures! The herd this morning was particularly sassy and many of the horses were running around and bucking as we threw the hay from the trailer. We love watching the horses run free an have a playful morning. Only one more month until counselors and campers arrive and summer camp begins!

With springtime here in full force and the weather warming up, some of our horses are looking particularly well-fed. We are beginning to decrease the hay and grain we feed out to make sure our horses stay healthy. Many horse people know the intricacies of the equine digestive system, but for those who don’t we can share a little information about the uniqueness of horses digestive system.

Horses grasp food using a combination of their lips, tongue, and teeth. Their teeth never stop growing and essentially the constant chewing grinds down the teeth to a healthy level. Horses have one stomach that is relatively small for their size and a very long digestive tract after their stomach. We always want our horses to eat hay before grain and to have water available at all times. The reason Road’s End Farm has such a specific order of eating is because we

have so many horses and want to reduce the risk of colic (stomach ache) within our herd. Since grain is more difficult to digest, we want the horses to have hay and water before the grain so that it doesn’t put extra stress on their digestive tracts. Like humans, horses have a small intestine and a large intestine (sometimes referred to as the hind gut) which does most of the nutrient absorption. The horses then have a large colon and a small colon which
completely absorb the nutrients and prepare the waste for excretion! Horses actually have very sensitive stomachs and always want to be monitored for stomach aches. We always want to make sure each horse is accounted for at feeding and is happily munching on grain.

With colic, an upset stomach, as the number one cause of equine death, educating all horse people about digestive health in horses is one of the most important aspects of horse care. At Road’s End Farm, our horses are fed in the morning and at night time, a chore which every camper helps out with during the summer, and an opportunity to see the importance of maintaining a low-stress environment and feeding horses the proper amount of hay and grain with the opportunity to drink water.

 

Road’s End Farm exists solely nowadays for the enjoyment of girls who come from far and wide to Chesterfield, New Hampshire. With the herd of horses for the girls to love and the friendships made with other campers, this New England horse camp for girls has become much more than just a place to ride horses. With life-long friendships to cherish and memories to make, we have opening day on June 4th and we are ready for summer 2017! 🙂

With about 75-80% of our campers returning year in and year out, we are incredibly grateful to get to know such wonderful young women over the course of their many years as campers here. The participants of our program, particularly the full-timers, love watching these girls grow into strong young women who call Road’s End Farm home. With our program placing and emphasis on English riding, farm chores, swimming, and freedom of choice for activities, we want our campers to have ample time to create lifelong friendships and explore personal interests. Friendships, laughter, 67 horses, and a short break from technology make for a joyful camp experience at the end of Jackson Hill Road.

With April camp behind us now, we are so grateful for all of the hard work from the campers we had last week. Road’s End Farm looks beautiful! We were able to rake most of the leaves and gravel with our extra hands (many hands make light work!) and the grass is beginning to turn bright green! We always want to rake off the leaves and gravel before the grass dies so during summer camp the premises of the farm can be lush and green! 🙂

 

The leaves that fall each year, which amount to we are sure many thousand, take many hours for us to rake up and drag into the surrounding woods. With the campers here to help, the time for chores is cut almost in half and we are able to rake up almost all of the leaves on the entire farm. It took the entire group of campers about three days to rake up all of the leaves behind the cape cod house and behind the arts and crafts room. We were able to rake before the black flies camp out, whew!! The rain we are having these past couple weeks and the leaves cleared off of the grass are contributing to the brilliantly green grass we are seeing on the lawns! We would like to extend a huge thank you to our April camp crew! 🙂

With camp about one month away, we are working to prepare the farm for the summer and the help that we receive from our campers is invaluable. We also hope that each camper who participates in such important work to the farm feels a sense of ownership when they come during the summer and other off season camps. With the family-style atmosphere at Road’s End Farm, we encourage each girl to treat Road’s End Farm as her second home. We certainly hoping the the ownership that each camper feels in working to make a place she loves better brings about a sense of pride and joy within each young woman.

As the annual letter wrote, we are concerned about finding enough campers for this summer. We are wondering how to spread the word about the all girls’ horsemanship camp at the end of Jackson Hill Road. We consider Road’s End Farm to be one big family and we are looking forward to welcoming new members of our camp family this summer. Our blogs usually are updates of the farm, but this post serves as a calling for all of our returning campers to please spread the word about Road’s End Farm! As a New England horse camp, we hope to have more girls experience the beautiful woods of New Hampshire and come see our herd of 67 horses.

With our camp program being a smaller operation, we also do not want to overflow the camp. We love having smaller ring lessons and smaller trails so that girls can get the most out of their time in the saddle. This summer, we are thinking we may have slightly smaller sessions, which will make for a truly special experience for the girls who come. Regardless of the size of the camp, we are confident that summer 2017 will be filled with laughter, horses, sunshine, lake swimming, horseback riding, farm chores, and lifelong friendships being created and longtime friends reuniting.

 

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