MFC Youth Equine Academy
July 2021 Camp Week 1
Well, the first week of school holidays got off to a great start at the MFC Youth Equine Academy!
An 8am arrival for campers and horses, the sun was shining with only a slight breeze, thank goodness, as we know Koo Wee Rup can be a little breezy!
With swags put away and everything set up it was a great effort by all that got in and helped each other as they yarded and settled the horses.
After a brief run down on a few rules the usual boring stuff we watched a few YouTube videos on the different disciplines of horse riding and did a questionnaire. Valuable lessons on the skills and techniques required to do reining, barrel racing, cowboy dressage, English dressage, jumping, cow horse reining and ranch riding, going through the fundamentals with our trainer Mike Costello. This was the foundation needed to understand the weeks activities. It was followed by morning tea of ‘OMG’ the best brownies and chocolate slices ever, cookies and fruit.
Going down to the barn we went over some more ‘boring’ but necessary horsey talk. The children were asked to talk about what they hoped to achieve, and everyone had to write something on the board about what they wanted to get from the camp, both with their horse and as a rider. Some great stuff! We talked a little about the Mind, Body and the Comprehension of the horse, which is the foundation of the MFC Horsemanship method, and our motto of ‘’Never fail the horse’’. Mike explained about pressure and did a little ice-breaking activity to get kids laughing and stepping out of their comfort zones, which included looking at the horses’ teeth! The afternoon was filled with some mind games and activities that helped us understand the children and get them using their brain to work with their trusty steeds. A yummy feed of ‘spag bol’ and Smores around the fire for tea, and oh, I forgot to mention the lunch, how good were those salad rolls!!!
Tuesday got more exciting after a pretty good night sleep, except for the dogs barking. The kids were up early and around the fire, enjoying some morning chatter and breakfast. Horse feeding was done as a team, and no one was to be left behind. After setting up some cones and giving the horses a good groom and saddle up, we conquered some on lead challenges. This was important as we needed to see how the horses and kids worked together on the ground, a great effort by all. Then up, into the saddle doing some stretching and getting our horses to move off our legs and walk trot, canter and some obstacles, which were done in teams with others helping where they saw a need, another great effort. After a yummy lunch of Nachos with meat cheese and sour cream we went back to arena for some more riding. A small group wanted to go for a trail ride so off we went along the back roads with Tahlia, our intern, and Tom for back up support, and me on foot, Bayles general store here we come... It was great, kids got a treat at the end and enjoyed it so much, it was a first for Amelia. Jack was a great support to me, waiting for me to catch up with Amelia on the lead. All the kids showed great road sense and our
high-vis vests turned a few heads. Thank you to local traffic for stopping and allowing us to enjoy the ride.
Evening turned into a great feed of another yummy dish, butter chicken and rice, with chocolate cake for dessert. The children danced and sang around the fire, ate more marshmallows and hot drinks and they all had a blast. Tucked up in bed around 10 pm, another day done.
Wednesday morning and everyone was up and enjoying another breakfast of cereal, fruit, warm Milo and cups of tea, (or for me, several cups of coffee!) around the ready-made fire.
Then up to the arena to prepare for our lesson with Megan the Equine Masseuse, it was great, a very informative lesson where we got to draw on the horse and learn about the different muscles, the importance of warming up our horses and taking care of them on the ground. We enjoyed some morning tea then saddled up for some riding, and the children worked on the mechanical cow. All the horses and riders did amazingly once they got the hang of it and enjoyed working the flag.
After an amazing lunch of hamburgers, we headed off to bring in the cows, on horse-back, as a team, with everyone involved. Once the cows settled into the arena the children got to learn how to drive a cow around the arena which brought a lot of laughter. The day ended well with ‘Broke-Ya-bones’ taking a spill, and her nickname says it all, but she is a trooper and was back the next morning with smiles galore. Dinner was bacon and egg pie with salad, and chocolate cake for dessert, a very fulfilling day with tired, but very happy, and great kids.
Thursday started off again with the sun shining and brekky around the campfire, then up to the arena to do some more obstacles, and master the bridge and the moving poles, which I’m pleased to say, everyone did it and never gave up on, which showed great horsemanship and patience with their horses. The horses felt secure and trusted their leaders. We got to play horse soccer, then play with the cows some more which is always good fun. We finished up a bit earlier on Thursday, about 4 pm, fed the horses and cleaned up the stable area all together, then headed up for a hot drink and more laughter around the campfire, eating lots of lollies and chocolate. Some sat in their swags talking and laughing, we sang Happy Birthday to Amelia, as she went home early to celebrate her birthday.
Friday, last day of camp! A bit of a late start to the morning with a fantastic, cooked breakfast of bacon and eggs, sausages, and fruit and cereal and hot drinks. Saddled up and had some free riding using the obstacles. A big thank you to Mr. Moulton for bring them down for us. We got stuck into some barrel racing with lots of cheering, “Turn and Burn’’. We all had a good chuckle trying to do team penning, that caused a lot of laughter and some high fives. Belle and Jordan’s high five ended up more like a low five, but all smiles!
A lunch of snags in bread, hamburgers and sandwiches, homemade scones jam and cream, then back off to make the most of the cow fun before we finished up. Achievement awards were given out, then all of the tired and wonderful children were handed over to their parents. I have to say, I felt a bit emotional, they were a great bunch of children. Every one of them helped, looked out for each other, tried new things and gave it their best. Till next week, to those returning and to those enjoying other activities, stay well, stay safe and remember, ‘Believe in yourself and find a way.’ XO Christine and the MFC Team.
July 2021 Camp Week 2
What a great second week of our youth camp!
The weather wasn’t on our side but that didn’t stop the horsey enthusiasm from our new bunch of arrivals. Campers and horses arrived and were all unpacked and ready for a quick rule rundown in no time. Today was going to be a great learning day as we had our vet Tom coming from Gembrook vet clinic; what a great man! Tom had all the kids listening and laughing, they got to see inside the horses’ mouth and learn about dental care, and obvious signs that your horse might be unwell, how to bandage a wound on the leg (not to mention taking the temperature) which of course brought out the “OMG’s, I’m Not doing that!”
Following a delicious morning tea, everyone ventured up to the stables to look at some videos of the up-coming activities for the week; this gave the children a visual idea of what would be happening. There was lots of laughter and singalongs around the campfire, then after a lovey lunch we had some free time, very wet Monday!!
The Sun Gods blessed us for the rest of the week, Tuesday started off great learning some groundwork and teaching the children the safety of where to be around their horse, then saddling up and enjoying the obstacles. After nachos for lunch the kids headed out on a trail ride, they all gave it their best with some on leads and others enjoying the sunshine and Mike’s singing. A big day finished off with yummy hamburgers for dinner and more dancing, and a great dance off with Jackie our MFC entertainment, he was awesome! Not forgetting the marshmallows by the fire then into bed for a big day to follow.
Wednesday arrived and everyone was up around the fire as the morning was a bit chilly and foggy. Breakfast served, and yes, the caters listened and got Coco pops and Nutella toast, so all were happy!
Our day didn’t go quite as planned as one of our campers got kicked, our very brave and strong young lady Ruby. Wishing you a speedy recovery Ruby!
The kids all went up to the barn, played musical chairs and had a morning tea of hot drinks donuts and slices. We continued in the afternoon with some refreshing of our memories of horse safety, then another ride out at the request of the children. The rest of the day went quickly, and the sun set over a lovely dinner and of course, S’mores for dessert!
Thursday, everyone was up bright and early with a hot drink in hand around the fire. After breakfast we headed up to the arena with obstacles, riding and horsemanship on the agenda. After lunch the children were so excited because it was cow fun time! We worked the mechanical cow first then the real cows were bought in, and we did Team Penning and had some Cutting fun. I have never seen so many kids so excited to work cows. Team Penning brought a lot of laughs and cheers, and of course teamwork. Ebony Elliot headed the teams telling them the rules and getting everyone pumped. It was great fun. The day ended with tired children and ponies, but the last night of camp was spent singing and dancing! The kids all stayed up a bit later and even I ended up on the dance floor, such great fun!
Friday was a late start with a cooked breakfast for the last day of camp. After breakfast we had some entertainment, Georgia had an act to do, which was “gassing” everyone up; you may need to watch the video to understand! Mike arrived and the beautiful Georgia and Emily led the children in gassing up Mike then finished with the song ‘Let it Go’ from the movie Frozen. (Longest song I have ever heard, eyes rolling 😂). It was just beautiful, tears were shed; tears of joy, love, laughter and gratitude!!
Then off you the arena for lots of cow fun followed by delicious hot soup for lunch with amazing fried bread, a traditional Maori bread that everyone enjoyed. The final day came to an end with so many friendships made and so many achievements reached, both on and off the horse. Everyone was just fantastic.
Looking forward to our next camp! #greatkids!( That’s for you #Janelle) X Christine and the MFC Team