I went to Pony Club camp from July 19 – 24. It was, as you may imagine, pretty awesome.
There were no major dramas, at least not for me and Kip, but there were daily small ones.
Kip arrived at WIPC camp really amped up. He was snorty and distracted and generally a pain in the ass to handle. I put him in the corral, hoping he’d settle a bit, before we went for a walk around. He did not settle so much. When we did decide to take the horses out for a graze, he was dragging me around and being pretty horrible. I borrowed a chain (I don’t know that I even own one anymore – I have never needed one with him) and got him under some semblance of control. Then we went for a very tense hack.
Night one, Kip and Premo stomped and chewed on each other all night. Premo pushed a board out, into Kip’s corral. in the morning, it was laying in the middle, nails up; of course. But disaster was averted.
The next morning before our 10:30 Dressage lesson, I lunged him for 20 minutes, and he called and snorted and generally ignored anything I told him to do — so I just kept sending him around, kept his feet moving. By the time the lesson started, he was controllable, but still distracted, but much better. Later on we had a stadium jumping lesson with lots of gridwork, which Linda, the instructor, kept nudging higher and higher; until the ending line seemed massive. Kip loves stadium, though, and just ate them all up.
That night, Kip and Simon pawed and squealed all night long. One board down, in the middle of the night. We tied the boards to the posts, so there would not be as much of a chance of them laying face up in anyone’s paddock. But still, not much sleep.
Day two lessons: Dressage 9am was really awesome, and Kip, by this time was closer to his normal self under saddle. Then at 1:30 was XC with Linda — it was the best XC school I have ever had, we were jumping all novice stuff, there was no screwing around with logs, and Kip was a BEAST (in a good way). Taking me to the base of every jump, galloping through water (a little faster than novice speed…) Water, ditches, banks, coffins, brush jumps, and doing little courses of eight questions or so. It was really great to be able to string them all together, and to really get rolling on the terrain. I just kept my chin up and my leg on. And held on for dear life. We were out there for two and a half hours. My legs were jello.
Third night, I thought for sure Kip would sleep- but instead he demolished his corral. Broke two boards in half, and the third one was down. Little jerk. Sharon had to take Simon home that day, so we decided to put Kip in Pony Purgatory by himself at the end of the row.
Monday was stadium jumping of the grass, and that was a blast, too. We got to jump the Pirate Ship, which is a Training jump. We were doing a line: vertical, oxer, left turn to
vertical on a hill, down the hill to a two-stride (with a giant maxed out oxer in the back), take a right roll back to a skinny, then a good uphill gallop to the ship, which we flew over. It was huge, and exhilarating.
Dressage was in the afternoon, and my legs were just about shot. But self-preservation kicks in, and you have to ride – especially when the instructor takes your stirrups away.
The last day was the mock event. We rode at around 10:30 I think. It was a combination of stadium and XC. Fence one was a red vertical, to a brush box. Right hairpin to a panel oxer; gallop up the hill and across the road ( I was yelling Heads up! Make a hole! to the little kids on ponies wandering around on the road, not paying attention to the course.) through a chute of rosebushes, and by a big scary pile of stumps, left turn down another close chute of bushes, over a log, back to the stadium area. Over a black and white oxer, hard left over an airy vertical and then a good long gallop on to the XC field, — Up a molehill, jump, a hanging log, down the other side; this is where Kip’s rockets engage. Galloping sweep right to a ramp, over a house, gallop through the water; take a left, jump the sharks tooth, and on to the second water. Gallop like a fiend (if you are Kip) through that water, too, then over the Rock Logster, across the road and left to the window coop. Big long gallop back to the stadium jumping area, take a left and two people are holding a length of toilet paper about three and a half feet off the ground. It is fluttering in the breeze. Kip is giving this crazy thing a look, I keep my leg on, and he clears it – not pretty, he was kinda wondering what the heck it was, but we were clear. Yay! I immediately want to go again, but that is not how it goes. There are turnbacks in a half an hour.
For turnbacks we had to clean all the sweatmarks off our horse, clean the bit, and the girth. Report to the Pony Plaza within a half an hour of completing your ride. Get inspected (I have a tiny bit of slobber on my bit. Demerit. Answer a horse management question: How many splint bones does a horse have? I don’t know. Twelve? Six? Four? Turns out there are eight. Another demerit. Oh well.
At the closing ceremony, our teams are revealed – the instructors assigned us to teams, which were a secret – and it turns out, they decided to put the Horsemasters all on one team, and we got second. Yay, more satin for the collection! I am a ribbon ho!
Exhausted, we packed up and left by 430, and arrived at Stoneybrook at 7:30. It sure is a lot of work for seven minutes on the XC field. But worth it.