Here I am again, one week into school and desperately pining for those much-missed long days at the barn. We all say summer is short, (ask any kid,) but this summer was especially short, which is why I’m having a difficult time finding a proper way to wrap it up.
This summer marks my fourth consecutive year riding and working with Square Peg, and there are no words to describe how much it has saved me. My first summer at Square Peg was in fact the shadow to my looming freshman year of HS, and to be honest, I had no clue who I was. I found myself these past four years; with all of the kids, the family our core barn group has become, and of course, with the horses. Using Sigourney’s expertise, I was able to help along some of the green horses this summer, and learned how to ride and teach an inexperienced horse. I am also very proud to say that with her training and support, we were able to teach one of our older OTTB’s (Off Track Thoroughbred) how to jump. So of my four summers here, this one was definitely the best; not because of the things we did for ourselves (although I am very proud of what I accomplished!) but because this summer was all about learning and teaching others, and I do believe that is why this summer was so successful.
Our new facility opened up opportunities that would have been impossible otherwise and I know how lucky I am to be involved in an organization that makes these types of experiences possible. This summer we hosted two separate camps on our city-upon-a-hill.
The first camp was for a group of inner-city girls, who usually come for just an afternoon of riding, so this time was considerably different. Camping with them turned out to be one of the most knowledge-invoking and risk-taking experiences I’ve ever had. For girls who barely leave the SF boundaries, boy did they teach us some stuff about surviving in the woods and trying new things. Seeing their view on life was incredible, considering we are all teenage girls, just with different backgrounds. I am happy to say that we are already planning our next beach day with them!
The second camp was for five of our Square Peg families and it turned out incredible. We hiked, boogie boarded, made just about a million s’mores, and even took our first camp adventures into the pond. Three days of camping is a lot of work, time, and patience, but every second was 100% worth it. Things happened during both of those camps that were new territory for not just me, but for my peers as well, and being able to step out of our own comfort zones and experience these newfound ideas and thoughts was just about priceless. As Joell likes to say, camp turns groups into tribes, and this summer was clear proof of that. One night during the first camp, I called my mom to say goodnight, but also to say thank you: thank you for giving me a life that I am extremely proud of, thank you for providing me the resources to be at this magical place whenever I want, and thank you for being the mom that some people are never able to experience.
This summer, I think the barn as a whole has really become the best it has ever been before. The horses were happier, our organization level has skyrocketed, and because of everyone’s dedication and tremendous effort, the lesson program has become the best it ever has, reaching almost 150 people this summer. If that isn’t amazing, I am not sure what is. Although summer break has come to an end, the summertime weather continues to persist, so if you have an extra few hours, schedule a time to come out to the ranch and help; clean some tack, feed some carrots, muck some stalls, and just enjoy the sunshine and the craziness and bliss that is Square Peg Foundation.