Monday, April 16, 2012

Cowboy Up!

Over at Silver Birch Ranch we have a large barn with many horses.  Usually there are 40+ out there at any given time. We've got draft horses all the way down to miniature horses and everything in between. The reason they are there is to enhance the camping experience for our various campers. All campers have the opportunity to go for a trail ride for no extra charge during their stay at SBR

When the boys were all small we spent a lot of time during the summer over at the barn looking at the horses and watching the action.  The boys have loved petting the velvety horse noses, feeding the horses treats and watching them in the paddocks as they roll and frisk about while they aren't 'working'. They've also enjoyed their fair share of pony rides over the years. Pony rides are where the boys get to sit on the horse by themselves but the horse is lead around the barn yard by a wrangler. 
Just before Easter, we were able to enjoy a real treat.  My friend 'Annie Oakley' (that's her screen name) and I took our 4 boys for a real trail ride!  This was the first time Seth and Wyat had ever done this!  (Tate had enjoyed an opportunity last summer when he was a summer camper.)

Here are all the boys grooming the horses before the ride. The horses are all in the middle of shedding their winter coats. They look a bit mangy and the amount of hair that was coming off of them was slightly disturbing. We made the mistake of wearing fleece jackets so needless to say, when we got home, they went directly into the wash. Horses look so much prettier when they have their sleek summer coats.

We put the tack on the horses (no the kids couldn't help with that) and mounted up. I was a little concerned about Wyat on his own horse.  He was a bit geared up, all excited about this adventure.  I didn't want him bouncing around on top of his horse and spooking it or falling off. I especially didn't want him thinking that he was a real live cowboy, giving his horse a big kick in the ribs so he could race off into the great unknown! So 'Annie Oakley' and I made the command decision that he wouldn't have any control over the beast he was riding, his horse would be put on a lead rope and 'Annie Oakley' would have a tight grip on that rope during the entire ride. I also explained a few times how he needed to be calm on the ride and hang on the whole time!  
So, with helmets on for safety, we were off! 

The boy in the red jacket is Annie's Oakley's step-son, we'll refer to him as Superman.  He and Tate are the same age and they enjoy each others company during Superman's visits. 
We all enjoyed a nice  uneventful ride, after offering up a prayer for safety.  The boys did a great job on their mounts. It was a lot of fun to be out in the woods with them, watching them as they were riding along.  I kept thinking that these 4 boys could be the summer wranglers one day.  
If they still like the horse barn when they are teenagers. 

I'm thankful for SBR and the different activities my boys are able to learn and participate in because we work there. Not every kid gets to learn how to ride horses as a youngster. I know living in the country makes it difficult to participate in some of the sports activities that city kids seem to be immersed in, but it also gives them opportunities to learn and do things that city kids only dream of. 
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1 comment:

Jill Whitmarsh said...

My city boys would love to come "cowboy up" with your country boys sometime!