My first year at camp, I didn't even know how to post, and had never gone any faster than a walk on a horse... at least not intentionally. I spent the first year in an introductory group, where I had posting pounded into my brain and my body for five straight days of riding. My horse was a short black and white tobiano named Rockinstraw (Rock, for short) who liked eating grass much more than listening to her rider who barely knew how to ride. Needless to say she wasn't exactly my favorite, but hey, you don't have to like everyone, right?
My second year I got put into the intermediate group. I had another black and white tobiano named Checkers (she had a marking the exact shape of Africa on her bum). I got along much better with this horse, with the only drawback being the colt she had at her side, who I had been warned might kick, and needless to say little horse-inexperienced me stayed far away, which hampered progress some. That year I learned to lope midway through the week, and upon reflection, I think learning the way I did is one of the best ways to get a very basic (not necessarily proper, but functional) seat. The camp was a western trail riding sort of camp, and it was a nose-to-tail sort of affair. (read: no steering or real riding ability required. just stay on and let your horse follow the one in front of him). During my english group lessons this past summer (on a lesson horse), there was a girl in the group who had never cantered, and when she tried, there was a lot of vertical movement as she tried to manage steering, pace, sitting the gait and breathing all at the same time. All I'd had to do was hold on.
Third year was fairly unremarkable. I was placed again in the intermediate group, and rode (surprise, surprise) a short tobiano (this one was brown and white though). The main thing that sticks out in my mind that year wasn't the actual riding, but the horse. Her name was Imp, which was short for Imperial Enchantress. She had a reputation for being a bit short of enchanting, but I loved her. She was simply gorgeous, with a long, flowing two-colored mane and the most beautiful eyes. She was definitely a little sassy, but that's part of what I love about mares.
The fourth year I was given a big, huge, adorable, sorrel gelding named Slim. He was the absolute biggest sweetheart, and he would put up with absolutely anything (seriously. a mare kicked him one ride, and another horse just came up and started licking him, and he didn't even flinch). I started out in intermediate, but asked to move up to the more advanced group, and switched midweek. Much loping ensued.
|For some reason every single picture was slanted and made Slim look like he had crazy eyes. Too bad I couldn't find any of my other pictures.|
Of course, that was the last year before I got Jazz, and I didn't really work with any other horses until I started volunteering at the rescue, but I'll get to that later.