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.
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.