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Sugar Bowl Mix: All the camp's horses

Thursday, September 30, 2010

All the camp's horses

I've been going through our house, purging ruthlessly, creating huge piles of items to be sold at the upcoming garage sale and creating piles of items to be donated to charity. We've gone through books, clothes, toys, games, ride-ons and boxes that have not been opened in fifteen years. An exhausting process. But a few very special items have turned up in this process.

Yesterday I found my Camp Longacres T-shirt, my name tag still sewn inside.

When I showed it to Caroline she immediately put it on and wanted to sleep in it.

Camp Longacres is a sleepover horseback riding camp outside Buffalo, NY. I spent eight summers at Longacres and probably rode most of the horses listed on the T-shirt. As Caroline read through all the names from Abe to Zippy I  could picture each horse vividly: Blue Mist, the gray pony; China Heart the dun quarter horse jumper; Chips, the  round bay pony who was my favorite pony, Pepper's, girlfriend - I think we actually held a wedding for them one summer; Deamyn, the pony my family took home for the winter for years; Fudge Ripple, a big pinto and my favorite horse my first summer at camp; Jenny, a lazy appaloosa; Major, a big handsome bay with a long loping stride; Prometheus, a palomino pony; Red Majesty a chestnut with a choppy gate and Striad, black and very fast.

Longacres was a place of extraordinary freedom for its campers. I spent hours exploring the creek, catching minnows and picking wild blackberries with friends, unsupervised. Other than showing up for  riding lessons twice a day, campers got to choose what they did, whether they visited the arts and crafts cabin, the pool, the archery field or played horseless horse show. As I got older I spent most of my time at the barn, grooming ponies, cleaning stalls and riding. Sometimes we rode five hours a day.

We sang Johnny Appleseed before every meal in the lodge and gorged on candy and junk food from the canteen after dinner. My first summer there, when I was eight, I chewed more gum than seems possible, an extraordinary treat since I wasn't allowed to chew gum at home. Often I forgot to spit my gum out at night so I would wake up with bubble gum stuck in my hair and my counselors would smear peanut butter in my hair to get it out. I only took one shower in the four week I was there, the night before my parents came to pick me up.

So yesterday as Caroline read off all the horse names I closed my eyes and relived those carefree summer days. My favorite childhood memories.

Caroline wants to go to overnight horseback riding camp next summer and I think we may just let her go.

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At September 30, 2010 at 1:33 PM , Blogger Fiona Designs said...

Cute Blog! I am your newest follower through Tuesday Tag-Along - would love a follow back at:


At September 30, 2010 at 7:37 PM , Blogger Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

What a neat post. :) I never went to summer camp (I was WAY too shy), but my brother and sister did, and they loved it. :) I hope your daughter has many happy memories too!

At September 30, 2010 at 8:07 PM , Blogger Liz said...

Awww, you should have her go! She's so dedicated and focused on her horse.

At September 30, 2010 at 9:16 PM , Blogger Inspiring You To Save! said...

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