Saturday, June 27, 2009

Opening Day 2009

The first day of the first session of summer camp has come and gone. We are now in the full swing of camp and so far things are going as smoothly at possible. I am proud of my horse staff, who all have learned so much about horses in just a short period of time. I've gotten rid of the majority of the "problem horses", and the rest of the horses are beginning to fall into line. Here's a video of the horse staff performing a drill for the campers, along with some pictures!

Lilah enjoys Hannah and Jiri, and all the activity at camp now!

Kids helping us out in the corral after the drill performance

A few of the horse staff (along with me!)

A Special Visit

The other day my special friend Kristin and her mom Stephanie came to visit me at camp. Since we were in between sessions and the rest of the staff were gone, we managed to sneak in a trail ride! I took them to Corbett Meadow, and then onto the base of the waterfall. After our trail ride, we all had lunch (prepared for us by the chef) at camp. What a great time!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lilah Loves...

the tin pail at the Roundhouse!! Especially when it's filled with water!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Trail Riding Black Butte

Yesterday I had a day off, so I invited two of my staff to go on a trail ride with me. We loaded up three good horses and headed for Black Butte itself -- one of the few areas in Sisters that I haven't ridden around. The trail was supposed to be eleven miles, and while I'm sure we never got lost, I think we rode much longer than that. We were riding horses for 6 hours straight with no stopping, and by the time we got back to the horse trailer, I wasn't able to sit anymore....

We did the both the upper loop and lower loop around Black Butte. The trail was very overgrown with heavy underbrush that the horses had to barrel through. We lost the trail several times due to the dense brush, but managed to find the trail again each time. The trail also hadn't been cleared yet from winter, so we had to scramble over, around, and even under (I kid you not) fallen trees.

One tree was impossible to pass, but we had gone too far to turn around. I took my horse up a steep hill looking for a way to cross it, only to have to turn around and go back down. Then I determined we'd better go off the side of the trail -- down into a pretty steep gulley-- in order to get around it. I descended carefully down on horseback, listening to the staff girls whisper to each other how steep it was. My horse (whose worth his weight in gold, I've decided) carefully picked his way down and over large boulders, tree limbs, and yet more underbrush. Once we got down enough to cross around the tree, I turned my horse back up the hill and let him pick his way up. I told the girls, "let's just get this over with", and we all laid our heads on the horses' necks, wrapped our arms around them and gave them their heads. The horses barrelled back up onto the trail with us blindly putting our faith in them.

My horse especially was the lead horse when we came to difficult crossings. If it hadn't been for him sizing up each obstacle and then picking the best way through it, we honestly would have had to turn around and gone back the loooooonnnggg way we came in, 'cause the younger horses were refusing without a lead horse! We did some pretty insane trail obstacles, and my guy was perfect in every way.

The trail ride was beautiful, but I don't think I'll ride for the next day or two....

Beth on Bandita (with a small tree obstacle we just passed)

Our lead horse!

Tess from Scotland rides Rio:

Rodeo Night

Last Friday night I took all the horse staff to the rodeo. Some of my staff are from overseas, and this was their first rodeo experience. Some staff enjoyed it (myself included), but some of the foreign staff were horrified. I explained the rodeo traditions, which helped smooth things over, but one girl reported the rodeo was "not at all what I expected" in her very-British accent.

Horse Staff '09:

It's been entertaining to hang out with people from all over the world. It's interesting to see my every day world through their eyes. For example, every morning I hear, "Omigod -- there's a chipmunk!! Did ye see 'em?" from the Scottish girl. The South African (who has monkeys in her neighborhood at home) is fascinated with the gray squirrels and is trying to figure out a way (which sounds like "figrre out a vey") to catch one. The deer that roam around the corral are also a source of excitement and mad camera-snapping.

All the staff have arrived now for the 2009 summer season, and we have started our all-staff training, which continues for the next week and a half. Our first camp session starts June 25th -- coming right up!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"I Fall Down"

Lilah's new catch phrase!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chasing Waterfalls

Would you believe there is a 300 foot waterfall right above camp?

Even I have a hard time believing it when I'm riding on a hot, dusty trail/road and suddenly water appears!

I finally managed to snap some pictures of it, taken from the top of the falls. The trail from camp to the bottom of the falls has yet to be cleared from winter.

Here are the falls at the top:
the middle:
and looking down towards the bottom. You can definately see the fire damage from the big fire in 2003!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Storms on the Water

We have been having crazy thunderstorms here the past week. One day had bright blue skies, but I noticed a dark cloud coming. Twenty minutes later there was thunder, lightening, rain, hail, and a very scared Simon. I even had some of my hair stand up at one point before lightening hit!

On Sunday we had a big thunder and rain storm. Jack & Carol (who live at camp) came to our cabin and we hung out on our porch, drinking beer and watching it storm. It was a great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon with friends!

Here's hoping for more thunder & lightening (but not the scary kind!)