Down Under Horse Camp
What a way to begin the summer! Imagine waking up early every morning, eagerly anticipating the adventures of the day in “the Land Down Under”. You might experience everything from sheep shearing to Aboriginal painting to learning how to crack a bull whip to forming your own didgeridoo band. Most importantly, in the mix of fun, would be learning how to ride or improving your skills on your “bromby”, or Australian outback horse. This is exactly what 18 area youngsters experienced for one whole week at Fairview Farm Horse Camp.
Fairview Farm, owned and operated by Dale and Pam Harper, is nestled on top of a hill which is part of the beautiful Endless Mountains. Facing South Mountain, the farm experiences the most breathtaking sunrises and sunsets as the sun moves across the valley below. Fairview Farm is home to many animals, including a herd of beef cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, and the usual cats and dogs. But the real draw to the farm is the wonderful group of horses which live and work there. Riders of all ages frequent the farm on a regular basis to receive lessons or head out for a relaxing ride on the trail. Horse Camp became a favorite activity about ten years ago, and each year more and more campers return for the fun packed week.
“What makes camp so exciting,” you might ask. The answer lies in the fact that horseback riding is just plain fun. Campers begin their day with an hour and a half of instruction on their horses. These lessons cover both disciplines of English and Western riding, and ability levels encompass beginners through experienced riders. Riders are grouped according to discipline and ability. Other activities include crafts, swimming, daily challenges and ground lessons on horse topics. Riders can choose an afternoon trail ride, more work in the ring, or even a ride on the wagon pulled by the Fairview Farm percheron team. The day is packed full of activity, and the campers leave each day with smiles from ear to ear.
The Australian theme this year took campers on an Aboriginal “Walkabout” throughout the woods where they had to follow directions and retrieve clues as to their next destination. This occurred during the Wednesday overnight camp out. Campers also got to experience a typical Australian “barbie” with yummy Australian foods. Another hit with the campers was the game of horse soccer, played on horseback with a giant sized rubber ball, much the same way we play soccer on foot.
Sadly, all great times must come to an end. As the campers pulled out last Friday after their horse show, moms and dads witnessed the hugs, the laughter, and the exhaustion as they said good by to newly made friends. When asked what they thought of horse camp this year, one camper replied, “In the words of Arnold Schwartzenager, I’ll be back! It was awesome!”