Good morning from East Valley Ranch!

We cannot believe that an entire week has already passed!  This weekend was full of all sorts of fun times, starting with a day entirely devoted to bareback riding on Saturday.  The entire camp participated and each girl was able to ride a horse bareback (without a saddle or pad), and really gain a feel for the horse’s natural movements.  When they were not riding there was plenty of face painting to be done!  The campers who did not wish to have their faces painted still asked for a bit of our skilled artwork on their arms or hands.  They were a pretty colorful bunch by the end of the day!

The weather didn’t cooperate for their planned afternoon at waterfront, so we split the camp into two groups and half of them had a show grooming competition while the other half watched a horsey movie, then they switched places.  There were three categories that the girl’s grooming was judged in: Most Professional, Most Creative, and Best Effort!  They worked in teams of two to make their assigned horse as clean and well turned out as they possibly could.  We’ve never seen so many braids and so much yarn in the horse’s manes and tails!

Dinner on Saturday night was an old camp favorite: SPAGHETTI!  Spaghetti means that it was EAT WITH YOUR FACE NIGHT!  The girls dug right into their dinner without any utensils, using only their faces and ending up with sauce alllllllll over!  The counselors also joined in, of course!  The ones who didn’t at first were persuaded when the entire dining hall chanted their names until they each took a messy bite.

Sunday was the day of rest for our horses anddd the first ever EAST VALLEY RANCH FOX HUNT!  All of the girls were divided into three teams: Horses, Riders, and Hounds.  They dressed accordingly and had their faces painted to match, with paper ears on their heads and baling twine tails attached to their jeans.  Each team had to complete five tasks in half an hour to receive the next clue to find the fox (a staff member who ran around wreaking havoc all day long!).  Each task emphasized teamwork, whether it was untangling the human knot or working to sit down/stand up back-t0-back.  Imagine having to do that with ten girls!  Once the girls found the fox, they moved on to water activities.  We brought out the slip-n-slide, EVR bucket drop (who doesn’t like having a bucket of water poured over them when it’s blazing hot outside?), and had a crazy, impromptu water fight!  Evening program was a special fox hunt edition night hike!  Along the trail we played a camp favorite: CAMOUFLAGE!  We emerged from the woods a bit muddier than we started out, with a few more ferns in our hair, and big smiles on our faces.  It’s safe to say that everyone slept well that night!

Yesterday the riding continued with a lesson in the morning and a long trail ride after lunch! The trail took them across the river and up the mountain across the road from camp.  The girls learned about conformation in their morning ground lesson – what is the ideal conformation and how the way a horse is put together effects their movement.  For evening program all ten of the girls went up onto our high ropes course!  This was definitely their favorite part of the day.  Tomorrow brings more riding, more games, and hopefully more swimming!

We love EVR! <3

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