Nine-year-old Grace captured her feelings about camp, homesickness, and the thrill of riding a horse in an essay for school. She attended a six-day horse camp at Camp Northwoods and is already counting down the days until she can go again. Moments like the one Grace shares in her story happen everywhere at camp.
Here is her unedited essay:
It was a hot summer day and I was riding at a fast pace. The wind in my hair. Passing through beautiful nature. Riding a horse on a hot summer day is a great idea because you cool off when you ride fast.
Earlier today I had just walked in to the barn. I was so excited to finally go on a trail ride with my horse Stormie. I had been waiting all week to go on this ride.
Earlier this week I got dropped off at Camp Northwoods. Northwoods is a horse camp and also a sleepaway camp for a week. I get really home sick but it seems whenever I get up on a horse it all just goes away like magic. When I get on a horse it is like I have some connection because I get this tingling feeling inside and never want to get off.
Riding a horse takes lots of skill. You have to know what you are doing or else something could go extremely wrong. There are 2 types of riding. There is English saddle or Western saddle. I always go with Western saddle. The difference between the two is that Western you use two hands to steer with English you only use one hand.
When I got into the barn I grabbed my helmet (safety first). Then you have to grab the curry comb, your hard brush and then soft brush. Once I did that I went to go find Stormie my horse which is always hard because they always get moved around throughout the stable.
After some looking for Stormie I finally found her in her stall. Man was she dirty! So I took my curry comb and started to get the dirt off. A curry comb is a weird looking comb its purpose is to work the dirt out of the horse’s fur. Then you take out the hard brush which gets rid of all the dirt. Then you go around with the soft brush with makes their fur soft and is the only brush that you can use on the horse’s face.
Once Stormie looked as good as new, I went back inside to put my brushes away. Then I grabbed Stormie’s saddle blanket to protect her back from the hard leather saddle rubbing on her sensitive skin. I lifted it up and plopped it specifically on her back. Then for the big job. Getting the saddle is always a hassle because for a 9 year old kid it’s not fun carrying a 40 pound leather saddle. Especially lifting it up on to her HIGH back. The next step to getting the saddle ready is tying it on. It is very difficult tying leather. You have to tie it almost like you’re making a sandwich.
Now for the hard part. Getting on! When it comes to getting on, I would suggest using a stepping stool. It is very difficult because you always approach a horse from the left side which means you have to put your left foot in the stirrup and yank your self up. Something I never knew until I went to Northwoods is that horses have absolutely no feeling in their mane. So that’s what you grab onto to pull yourself up.
Since I am finally on, the trail ride should start just about now. I am not home sick any more. I love riding! I am so excited. I have been waiting all week for this. A couple tips when riding on a trail are: when you go up hill lean forward when going down lean back. Finally we get to trot. I love the cool breeze flowing through my hair. Never wishing this magical moment would ever end! Passing by beautiful pieces of nature, going through a stream, splashing everywhere. Loving every minute of this!