I could tell you that after my daughter’s first day of horse camp that I was not on all fours with a pink feather boa being used as reins to lead me around her play room…but of course that wouldn’t be true. It was some quality Daddy Daughter Time. She gave me a crash course on how to navigate a “horse” around and I remembered why I really appreciate the thick padding under the carpet.
Peanut showing off his moves at Karin’s Horse Connection
While it may have been a spur of the moment decision (see what I did there?) to take her to this camp over Spring Break, it was an easy choice on where to go. Karin’s Horse Connection was the location of our DDT Derby and they didn’t waste any time getting the campers up and riding… which they did every day of Own-A-Horse-Camp.
But the experience my daughter received was much more than pony rides. She learned about grooming, the time and investment it takes to own a horse, mucking the stalls, and more in this hands-on camp that truly gives those interested in horses a true look at the work that goes in to all of that fun.
I “interviewed” Grace after each day. Here’s what we learned.
Day One: As previously mentioned, Grace learned the basics parts of a horse and how to make it go where you want it to go. More importantly, how to make it stop. Also, barn kittens. There were a handful of them there and it was pretty much a tie between them and riding a horse for a highlight of the first day.
Day Two: Horses like to eat… a lot. Grace told me that you have to stop them from trying to nibble at everything they see and that “takes a lot of muscles.” Barn Kitten Update: A couple were sold/given away. There are only 3 left.
Day Three: Brush, brush, ribbit? If you think having a daughter means owning numerous hairbrushes, you should try owning a horse. Grace explained and drew pictures of all of the different tools she used to groom the horses. Curry combs, dandy brushes, and more….and they have to be used in a certain order. Grace loves styling hair so this was a big day for her. Also, I learned that you use a hoofpick to clean a horse’s frog. Don’t know where a horse’s frog is? You should check out the summer camp sessions and find out.
Day Four: Alert! There is only one kitten left. The pleas to take it home have graduated from subtle to repetitive. In today’s interview, I asked Grace if she was cleaning out the stables. (“It’s mucking the stalls, Dad.”) When I followed up to learn if she’d had to pick up any “horse apples,” she laughed and said “Oh yeah. We’ve got a bucket full of them every day.” Then a small swelling of pride in me knowing that my girl’s not afraid to get her hands dirty.
Day Five: Today Grace learned that horses can be used for many purposes…including therapy. Peanut, a miniature therapy horse at the farm, was on his way to the Kroc Center for an appearance. There was a packet of small quizzes and coloring sheets completed, more riding, chores, snacks…and then the certificate and ribbon presentations for completing the course. Final kitten update: There’s still one there if you’re interested. ?
Last thoughts: When I first heard the words “horse camp,” I was wondering if it would just be a week full of riding.
Thankfully, Karin’s Horse Connection’s Own-A-Horse Camp is much more than that. It really did show our daughter how much time and work goes into owning a horse. They did the chores, put in the time, and even learned a few vaulting moves. (That’s basically acrobatic gymnastics while riding a horse. I know, crazy right?)
She’s already asked to do it again this summer. You should join us! Here’s a link to their Summer Camp sessions.