A Day in the Life of a Summer Camp Volunteer
It's a dream to job to me. I honestly love it. Having the opportunity to teach kids alongside my best friend/trainer. However, working 8 hours, 5 days a week in the 90 degree heat has it's tough times.
My schedule starts out like this:
8:30 A.M. Arrive at the barn. We talk to Jenny, the instructor, to discuss riding lesson plans, ground lesson plans, horses we are going to use in the morning and/or in the afternoon, and whether my sister and I were going to get to ride today. Often, after this is decided, the campers arrive at the barn at around 9. On a Monday, the campers introduce themselves, we (the instructors/volunteers) introduce ourselves. Then, we fetch the required horses with them to show them how to catch and halter a horse. They lead the horses down the tacking post and we give them a quick grooming lesson. Curry comb, hard brush, soft brush, ECT.... At the time, it takes at least 2 campers to pick out just one hoof. Normally, I or my sister hold up the hoof while they scrape away. After around 30 minutes of this and quick dusting of fly spray, we teach each camper how to saddle. We set the tiny western saddles on the each of the horses and show how to cinch. It's almost a rule, they cinch and we tighten. Some of the horses are too girthy for the kids to do it anyway.
Once all the horses are bridled and saddled properly, the first group of riders heads out to the arena (Horse to kid ration, 4:8). We split them into two groups, one to ride first while the other kids are taught the ground lesson by me. Day one is normally horse colors and markings followed by a trip around the barn to point out the colors. Day two is learning and cleaning tack, three is anatomy, four is normally horse nutrition followed by a quiz on all four lessons. After the first group is done, the second group mounts up and I take the tired ones.
Once everyone has ridden, it's time to untack and groom again before storing the horses away. The 2 kids that rode that horse, take care of it and put it away. After this, the parents arrive for those only staying for the morning session. We have 1-2 kids staying all day through our lunch break which is around 12 P.M. This grates on our nerves though because our lunch break is a time for us to relax and eat away from campers. During our lunch break, we also get the chance to ride an available horse. I normally ride Gracie, a hyper jumping Arab, since no one else rides her because she is too much for kids.
After our hour lunch break, the second group of kids arrive. These kids are more advanced then the morning, most of them already have at least some experience trotting. Some of them know how to tack up independently, but that is a rare case. After going through the same procedures we did in the first, the day is FINALLY over! By the end, I am exhausted. But it's a lot of fun. Not to mention it is something to do over the summer when your parents are at work. :)
**Rhetta Grace- 6 year old MorganxCob**