Horses adorned in feather bowers, beads and colourful handprints...a solitary and yet serene child emptying a rainbow coloured paddling pool, sending steams of water and trickles of colourful plastic balls on different trajectories down a forest trail...
a second child, enjoying the effects of these carefully executed efforts, ankle deep and delighting in the glorious pool of mud now forming at the bottom...all to the sound of whoops and battle cries from two young apprentices locked in foam swordplay.
All happy memories of our recent Horse Boy camp in full swing.
A couple of weeks ago, one merry band of Horse Boy volunteers and four amazing families ventured into the wilderness of Wimberley, Texas, to spend a weekend in the company of Hope and Clue, our steadfast and amazingly good humoured four legged friends, not to mention Ransom, the resident pot bellied pig and Miss Sparkles and Buddy, our visiting Chihuahuas...all the right ingredients for a perfect Horse Boy environment!
When I say 'wilderness', the wilderness happened to be punctuated by a series of luxurious wooden lodges, donated by some extremely kind hearted and generous people, which provided each family a comfortable and spacious retreat from where they could come and go throughout the weekend.
Each morning families would turn up at the volunteer house a.k.a. base camp at some point after breakfast and the day began to take shape along the lines of an opening play session with kids and volunteers, involving dressing up, paint, water, toys, books, general tomfoolery and those all important horse butt hugs...which gradually developed into backriding and longlining sessions for all the kids.
On one of the afternoons we all took a journey to the top of the hill, where there was a lovely canter trail, taking everything but the kitchen sink to provide an easy transition from one environment to another. It was a lovely moment as we waved off kids, parents and volunteers all crammed happily into to the back of a hay-lined pick up truck and followed closely behind with the horses.
As the weekend evolved, all the kids really seemed to grow into the experience, enjoy and express themselves in their own unique and beautiful ways. It was a bittersweet farewell for our happy tribe.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to the amazing families, volunteers, hosts Jim and Suzy and cabin owners who made this Horse Boy camp a resounding success.