From the first Wednesday of the July holidays 2008 until the Saturday in the middle, I went to Sonshine Ranch for my second camp. It is a Christian camp with adventurous tasks around the land, and of course, horses! The campers were split into two groups, Alpha and Omega. I was in Omega. So was Ellen, my good friend, also included on this weebly. The two groups swapped each day, going horse riding in the morning and an activity in the afternoon, and vice versa. On the first day, however, we both got half the afternoon. I had asked to ride Opal, the horse that I rode last camp. Opal is a grey / white horse, a little naughty and stubborn at times, but nevertheless, a lovely horse with a sweet nature. As I have only ridden twice, I was put in the beginners group. We did walking and trotting, and got a brief demonstration of tacking up the horses, i.e, brushing them, picking their hooves, saddling them and putting the bridle on. I was glad, because I wasn't an expert! The next day, the beginners got to try a little vaulting on a lovely horse called Star, whom you feel entirely safe and comfortable on. Vaulting is very different from riding; it is like doing gymnastics on horses! In a circular arena, the horse goes around with an even radius to the person in the middle, holding the rope. First we tried with the horse walking, then trotting, which was much bouncier and required more faith in the horse. We had to do a Round - The - World, when you swing your leg over the saddle so that you are sitting side saddle, then again to the back, then again until you come back to the front. We had to kneel on the horse's back with our arms out and do big circles with them, staying balanced. Then we lay back on the horse's back three times. This helped me gain so much confidence; it was a great experience too. As soon as I got back on Opal, we could both feel the difference. She was as good as gold on Thursday! We cantered, which was really fun, as the one time I tried it at my first camp last year, I fell off! We rode bareback that day. I loved it! You didn't have to worry about the saddle or anything! It was way more comfortable, and I felt more in control. Friday was also a good day. We went for a couple of rides around the farm. The other part that made up my days were the activities. Wednesday was spent practicing tacking up e.t.c, and on Thursday we went to the rock climbing tower! Our cabin groups had to complete a number of tasks continuously, with five minutes each. There was the dark tunnel, The Centipede (my favourite and best!), a running up steps competition, and a low, across-ways rock climbing challenge. We all got heaps of points! On Friday we had another team challenge rotation. Some of the tasks were to complete a three-legged race, a soccer course, a water transportation system with straws task, a tactile, pea searching task in a barrel of flour, a dizzy-making pole spin relay, a vaulting horse (a barrel) over-the-top challenge, a forwards/ backwards pole jumping competition, a game involving swapping jandals on elastic without them pinging back, an over-under-through task involving a chair, a ball-throwing target game, a blindfolded balloon blowing and popping competition, and a macademia nut cracking challenge requiring good aim and nuts constantly being chucked down a tube similar to a marble race. It was a fun afternoon, and we all got lots of points. Each night we had worship, discussion and devotions as we praised God and followed the story of Noah's Ark, including watching excerpts from Evan Almighty!
On the first night we played the log game. A log was suspended from the roof of the barn by ropes and one person from each team at a time tried to whack to other person of the log with a stuffed pillowcase. It was good fun, even falling off! We landed on a huge pile of matresses.
The food was good at the ranch. We had noodles, corned beef, fish and rice for our dinners, porridge, cereal, yoghurt and toast for our breakfasts, hamburgers (Yum Yum!), and a Swiss-German dish tasting like porridge and fruit salad for our lunch, milo and something sweet for supper every night, and delicious desserts including fruit smothered in yoghurt, ice cream, cream, sponge cake and birthday cake!
An ongoing project between the cabin groups was to choreograph a vaulting routine representing their category. We had to do ours to a Western Theme. Our song was Cotton - Eyed. It was lots of fun! We used the barrel horse and a small trampoline to get up with ease. Every group did theirs. It was like a concert! The other categories were ballet, gangster, beach, jungle and bull fight!
Camp was meant to end with a horse show for friends and family displaying what we had learnt, however, unfortunately, I was sick at midnight on Friday and went home a few hours early on Saturday, missing the show, my last day of riding and the flying fox (my favourite!) : ( I had a very good time at camp, though, despite being sick. It was fun and a great opportunity to learn new things that I wouldn't normally be learning.
Over the holidays, I have also been participating in a 6 Book Reading Challenge between my good friend Cheyenne (also on this weebly) and I, just for fun. I have/ will read Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors, Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception, My Story: Land of Promise, Joni Eareckson, Portraits: Dancing Through Fire, The Wright 3 and Mao's Last Dancer.