Horse Camp, or how I nearly lost my left leg (again)

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So we have all these female children in our house and they are all girls.  Female girls of the girly female persuasion.

We made them all sign up for a certain Scouting Organization for Girls of the Female Persuasion, because we can.  We’re tyrants like that.

Last spring the two older girls went to an overnight horse camp where they did scouty things in the presence of, and briefly astride, gigantic hairy smelly animals capable of throwing them off and trampling them.  This is viewed, curiously, as a positive experience for them to have.

Earlier this evening I and my own personal offspring returned from “Mom & Me Horse Camp” which is similar except that we as mothers are obligated to attend as well.

We left yesterday afternoon.  I had to stop on the way and pick up a fast food burrito for my child because dinner was to be a “baked potato bar” which is where they give you a baked potato and various things to put on top of it and call it “dinner” even though it contains no “meat.”

As a meat-eating carnivorous flesh enthusiast, I was less than “enchanted,” but I like potatoes as much as the next person so I soldiered on regardless.  My child, however, is not a fan of the tuber.  So, bean burrito no onion please!  And off we went.

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We were assigned to cabin 5, the “LOVE” cabin.  The other cabins were named things like “FAITH” and “JOY.”  This camp serves as a Christian camp part of the year.  I, however, chose to think of cabin 5 as the LOVE SHACK in that whimsical corner of my brain that won’t shut up.

The other two moms in the cabin informed me that they had managed to piss off more than one presumably humorless Scout Mom.  I’d like to go on to say that we became BFFs, but we didn’t.  We did get on tolerably well, though.

One of the girls had ADHD which handily explained why she was frequently obnoxious, but from what I can tell the other child was merely ill-behaved.  Both moms were of the shouty threat-spewing type and neither child seemed to pay any attention to them.  What fun!

We all managed to get through the night without much drama although somebody left the heat on “comfort zone.”  This might have been all right but it seemed the comfort zone was one that originated in the tropics.  We all came through it somewhat sweatier than I personally felt was necessary.

In the morning we had breakfast and then there were various blocks of “free time” during which we were expected to “bond with our child.”  This meant “sitting around doing whatever we brought from home to do.”  In our case, this was Yahtzee and some crafty sewing projects, or books and Candy Crush, depending on which block of free time you referenced.  At one point we were urged to visit the BIG SWING.

I thought this would be a BIG LAME SWING but actually it was very cool  It was indeed a big swing, chained to two towering evergreen trees, and the hapless rider was not just strapped in but attended by two staff persons who were harnessed to the platform.  My child declined to ride the swing but did consent to be strapped to it.  Considering that this child would not ride any attraction that left the ground at Disneyland, this was a pretty big step and I was satisfied with it.

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I rode the BIG SWING and found it to be quite satisfactory, and indeed it was BIG and also a SWING, and therefore as advertised.  The first swing out over the ravine made my stomach get all wiggly, but after a moment that wore off and it was very peaceful and swooshy and verdant.  I was urged to follow tradition by spitting, and furthermore enhanced my BIG SWING experience by doing so on the way back thus avoiding spitting into my own face.

Eventually we were allowed to mount a horse, which as I understand it is the proper term despite sounding vaguely naughty, and an only slightly self-important teen led us around in circles up and down nearby hills for the better part of an hour.

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My horse’s name was Cricket.  I think this is rather a laugh, as crickets are known to rub their legs together of a warm summer evening to make a wee tiny chirping sound that is beloved by all.  This horse’s favorite pastime, on the other hoof, was to meander a bit too close to the occasional tree in an ill-disguised attempt to dislodge me from my seat.  When that proved less than fruitful, she resorted to a different game.  A large stick was protruding into the trail and given the nature of our jaunt, which is to say circuitous, we passed it twice.  On both occasions she skirted the stick by just enough to avoid getting stabbed by it, but by not quite enough to ensure that I was not stabbed by it.  Twice it jabbed into my leg and ground into me as we wandered, slowly and painfully, past.  It therefore left two large horrible swollen bruises on my leg, and managed to break the skin both times right through my trousers.  These little souvenirs of my Horse Camp Experience stung like the very dickens when I got into the shower on my return home.  THANKS A LOT CRICKET, YOU BIG BROWN JERK.

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Still, my kid enjoyed the ride fairly well.  She was very distracted by the prospect of the new Pokemon X and Y game that awaited her at home, so pretty much everything about the camp was more or less merely tolerated rather than truly experienced, thus making the sixty dollars per person money well spent, no?

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