Once upon a time, you were a kid at summer pony camp. You took to it like a fish to water, and by the time the week was over, you were a certified horse girl (or guy) for life. From that moment on, you ate, slept, and breathed the barn. No sooner had you left than you were begging your parents to take you back again. Many years later (and not an ounce less horse-crazy), you may find yourself missing the simple joys of that brief, special time. Here’s why.
1. Every day was filled with a million small victories.
Catching your pony in the field, picking out a foot, posting on the correct diagonal, all victories.
2. You thought all trainers were as nice as the 18-year-old lesson girls who ran your camp.
3. You owned no equipment, paid no board, and were responsible for next to nothing, and yet they still let you ride horses.
This was as good as it would ever be.
4. A strong stomach was just one benefit of your hour-long lunge line lessons.
Tilt-A-Whirls are nothing after 30 minutes of jigging around a 10-meter circle on an 11-hand pony.
5. You experienced your first real taste of independence. (Predictably, your parents struggled with the idea.)
They soon accepted the fact that they and your trainer would share custody.
6. You learned so many important lessons about horse care, health, and anatomy.
Mostly, you liked drawing all over the grey pony with neon finger paint.
7. You grew up believing all horses must be as gentle and patient as the ponies you met at camp.
You were not always correct in this belief.
8. You and your fellow pony campers became instant besties.
9. Your riding outfit consisted of hand-me-down paddock boots, jeans, and a bike helmet.
Your breeches-induced body image issues were still a decade away.
10. When you fell off the horse, you got right back on.
As an adult rider, you know that this is a silly idiom with no real basis in reality.
11. At pony camp, anything seemed possible. You could win a blue ribbon at the state fair, qualify for Rolex, or be the next Beezie Madden.
Just as soon as you got this whole posting thing down…