It turns out that I may have constructed last Monday’s post a prematurely: even when I’m not anticipating being too busy to keep on top of my blog, I tend to write and schedule posts around a fortnight ahead of time, so that I’m not chasing my own tail to get content set up. So I duly put together the gallery which went up last week ahead of time (I should’ve stuck to my own rule of no round-ups before the ending has been written). What hadn’t happened was the final additional week of camp, which I opted to stay for.
Traditionally, it’s an “intensive” week, where campers focus on one department. Sadly, the format was changed this year, meaning we were open to all kids and the experience was far from what I expected. Nevertheless, our head of department was determined to give her staff and the campers who have experienced the previous version of the final week what they had anticipated, which meant that we closed the department for a day so that we could go on the annual day-long trail ride.
I haven’t yet worked out how far we rode (or where exactly we went), but we spent over four hours in the saddle (which is a long time, given that our youngest rider was only 10) on a glorious day which saw us trek to the Delaware river.
I’m incredibly fortunate to have undertaken some beautiful rides during my riding career so far, and this was another to add to the list. It was a slow ride over terrain which was often rocky, but the horses coped excellently, carrying us to our destination and back. Although he’d lost a hind shoe earlier in the week, I was allowed to ride my favourite horse – this was partly due to some more serious injuries to a few of our other horses – which was the icing on the cake for me. He enjoyed himself immensely, jumping a few creeks and, ultimately, splashing around in the river.
I cracked out my “proper” camera for the first time since I was in Vegas last September (I usually make do with my phone) and made sure I took lots of pictures. Most of them are of the same rider’s back, as I brought up the rear of the ride, but we had a fantastic day in terms of weather, so I captured some great shots of the woodland and river. It was also nice to have a treat at the end of a long summer: due to the level of riding required, we took just five campers (there were five of us staff) who are all capable riders – it was more like going for a ride with friends than for work.
Here are some of my favourite photos of the day; the kind that, when I look back I think, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this”…
It felt like it took a long time to get ready, but finally we were all mounted up and set to go:
We rode around the outskirts of camp – this is the view back over camp and the lake from horseback
We made a pit stop part way to our destination – we’d packed grain for the horses as well as lunch for ourselves, and my horse managed to sniff his food out…
We made it to the river, riding through a cool tunnel to get there
And this was the view which greeted us
We took turns riding into the water – it wasn’t deep enough that the horses needed to swim, and some were reluctant, but my horse eventually enjoyed splashing around with me on board
And then we broke for lunch – my horse enjoyed some well-earned grass whilst I ate and dried my boots out