Girl Guide Riding Camp
 By Winniefield Park   •   18th Aug 2015   •   1,443 views   •   0 comments
Girl Guide Riding Camp

Girl Guide riding camp is over for the summer and Iíve had my fill of walking in circles. I have one of those little exercise bands that count steps, and my goal each day is to walk or ride over 8000 steps. This past week, I walked 8000 steps before lunch. My dog probably walked 32000 steps. No, dogs shouldnít attend riding lessons, but mine is attached to me by a little invisible string, and each horse and rider was attached to a person on the ground, so things were kept well under control.

The horse I was given to lead was a power walker. He is very good, but I quickly learned the best way to avoid crowding the other horses was to stay on the inside track and count how many times we lapped everyone. Although thereís one main instructor, each leader coaches their rider individually a bit, and it was hard to do because there were times I was definitely out of breath. This horse made it very obvious when his rider wasnít doing things right. I could tell if they were bouncing, fiddling with the reins, or committing any other sin by the look in his eye and the set of his head.

Related: Girl Guides Spring Edition
Related: Girl Guides First Horse Encounter

At the end of the week, instead of a lesson, the riders get to play silly games. The first race is the slow race. At this, my own horse is a super star. She can walk so slowly without stopping, that youíd swear she was moving each joint individually. The horse I was leading however, was a complete failure. He did however, excel at the fast walking race. Oddly, he never won, as another horse seemed capable of pouring it on at the walk when asked. We didnít actually see, but we suspect that they cheated by throwing a few jogging steps in.

The grand finale is the cracker and apple race. Each horse and rider has a team partner that waits at the end of the arena with several crackers and an apple. The race involves either of the human team members eating the crackers and then giving a whistle while the horse eats the apple, and returns to the finish line. My dog loved this as there were lots of spit out cracker crumbs and apple bits to forage between races. My own horse Trillium won a few of these races, which is odd, because she normally wonít eat apples.

Superstar of the week went to one girl whose mother signed her up for lessons, even though she didnít want to come and was afraid of horses. Day one, and she was talked into sitting on a horse for a few minutes. By the end of the week, she kept up with the rest, and youíd never know she started out shaking and in tears. Those are the moments when you know walking in seemingly endless circles is worth it, because overcoming one fear helps you learn you can overcome others whether horses are involved or not.

Iím not sure whether to be sad or not, but this might be the last camp week ever. Theyíre not a lot of fun for me, and I donít get much more than sore feet. But when I look back, I can see how, even as just a helper, I learned some things. It was a break from routine, and a chance to help out. I think Iíll miss it a bit.
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