Lunchtime of the first full day is a combination of deli meats, cheese, tuna mayo, egg mayo and interesting salads. One that went down really well this year was the carrot and orange salad with its yummy home-made dressing on it. We used to make the sandwiches for everyone but then realised that actually you can’t fit that much on a sandwich and people don’t always want a load of bread before they’re going to ride again – cake, cookies and crisps are fine!- but bread is not that exciting is it?
I love lunch time. I get to chat to my instructors about how it’s all going, I get to listen to everyone talking about how their lessons have gone, how pleased (or not) they are with their horses, but mostly how relieved they are that their horses behaved so well, even when they didn’t expect them to!
I have intervened a time or two during the first sessions. I don’t want to see anyone hurt and staying safe around horses by reading them is something I’ve been doing for years. If I think you’re about to get on an exploding timebomb, I will come and help. And guys, what ever you need to do to calm your horses down in those first lessons is fine. They may need you to just walk them round the school in hand, or perhaps be lunged before the lessons start, without the distraction of the others, maybe they need to go and have a graze in hand first thing because they’re not used to being stabled. If you’re not sure, ask. If you need help, ask. I’d rather you were safe and myself and our instructors will do what we can to assist. No question is a silly one. But we can’t read minds and if you want to know something, have expectations, fears, doubts or worries, speak up. That way we can help in the moment, please don’t ever feel you’re alone at camp.
Second lesson usually goes a lot more smoothly, they start again at 1.30 or at 3.15 and by then the horses and riders are much more certain of where they are and what is going to happen. There is no set idea about which schools you will be in except for the first lesson, after that you decided what you are doing next session as a group. Please make yourself heard but also consider each other. And try to remember that 3 hours a day in a schooling/controlled environment is a lot of work for them. I know you want to get the most out of camp and it’s tempting to do everything all on the first day! But progressive training is long lasting, we’re not in to quick fix situations. And if someone is struggling in the first lesson, be patient and supportive. Better still learn from their experience. You never know when you might come across a similar problem. And let’s face, at some point we’ve been glad of the help we’ve been offered when we were having a few issues.
So your horses need to be fit, physically and mentally, but they will also get the opportunity to stop as a reward for their efforts when they get it right. If you just work and work them without stops in between, they don’t get the release which is the best way to let them know they’ve got it right! And don’t forget the praise, it’s as important as the task. Don’t just get to the other side of that jump and breath a sigh of relief then flop! Give him some recognition. Tell him he’s got it right so that he knows that’s what you want. A scratch and a kind word can go a long way with a horse.
After we’ve all fed our horses together around 6.15, it’s dinner time! Usually ready for 7.00pm so that you have chance to get showered and changed. And there is always lasagne! Now I don’t know how this happened, but on our feedback form I have asked a few times what people would like to see on the menu it’s been made very clear to me that so long as there is lasagne, they don’t care! I’ve had a lot of practice in perfecting the recipe but what ever the reason, it goes down a treat. We usually have proper home-made cottage pie, or sausage casserole, maybe cauliflower and broccoli cheese and a veggie, vegan, gluten free option if required. I’m getting pretty good at those too apparently though I confess gluten free used to scare me. I’ve been scared of getting it wrong a lot over the last seven years. I just want you all to be well cared for and looked after so it’s important to me to get it right.
Then after dinner we have a talk or a demo of some sort or other and over the years they have varied a lot! From Clare Hocking teaching us about balance by kneeling – yes kneeling!- on a yoga ball and playing toss and catch! To the lovely Bea Hawkins giving us a talk on the digestive system for which she brought a beautiful life sized model in to show us just how big our horses guts are! We’ve had a Trystan Stock, my lovely farrier do a talk and a q&a session. Marvin Firth has been a few times to talk all things Chiropractorish and done some vet talks too. Su Nunn did us a lovely demonstration of how to ride and tack up side saddle this year, it was amazing, like stepping back in time. So you never know what you’re going to get!
Recently, because of covid-19, I’ve been giving some talks about goal setting and recognising your own abilities, being nice to yourself and celebrating your achievements. They seem to have had an impact so I might start doing more of these and maybe even replace quiz night because believe me, what ever you think, you are enough. For your horse, your partner, your kids, your boss – whatever. You are enough.
So Sunday pretty much follows Saturday except for the celebration we have after all of the lessons have finished around 5pm. We like to get everyone together to say a massive thank you to our instructors and photographers, but also to you guys. And it’s time to hand out a few rosettes to recognise those who have done something special during camp. Sometimes it might be that they looked after everyone else in their group, encouraged everyone loads and had a great time. Other times it might be that they’ve moved on massively in confidence or achieved way more than they expected to. There are no set rules about who gets recognised and actually, it’s really hard and my instructors hate me for it, because in truth, you will all have achieved something! Also we find that the camaraderie and love you guys have for each other is just awesome. It is what makes camps so special, it’s why I keep doing them. I truly am the luckiest person alive to get to do what I do for you all and I thank you all from the very bottom of my heart because without you, my life would not be the happy one it is and I would never have met such lovely people and horses x
P.s. Part 3 of What’s your agenda is going to be all about you…intriguing eh? I hope to see you there x
Hey Folks, I'm Lorraine and the picture is of one of my horses Tara - in our office! I really am the luckiest person alive to get to do what I do.