Reflections on Ride-N-Romp 2009
Reflections on Ride-N-Romp 2009
Dream Catchers and Capernaum collaborated for the second year to take some students to the Therapeutic Riding Association of Virginia horse show at the horse park in Lexington, VA. October 16-19. Some of our students came away with handfuls of ribbons (many blue and red), but that was not the most important accomplishment.
As riders, we can often focus too much, on where we “place” in a class. In reality, we are always riding against ourselves. Britney rode off lead this year. She rode beautifully, and has the ribbons to prove it—but it is more important that she stretched and took risks. Another student, I’ll call her Kay, who can be challenged in dealing with unexpected changes, “rolled with the punches” when she made a mistake during a dressage class. She went off course—but rode every other element of the test exquisitely. I am prouder of her for not getting flustered and not being overly critical of herself for the mistake. That was the real “win.” As usual, learning to ride is full of life-lessons. Finding that balance between playing it safe and taking risks; working to be a better rider – or person- by practicing; and learning to let the past go and moving forward.
The opportunity to get away into the mountains with friends is something many of us take for granted. Not these kids. They appreciated every minute of fun and fellowship. You see, it is about the experience as a whole. The Capernaum Buddies who were team leaders and with the kids 24/7 made this weekend possible. High school students, adults, and several college students in particular, including Emily Pearce, Sarah Woodson, and Ricky Nicely took a prime college weekend and spent it with our kids. These young adults demonstrate a selflessness that gives me hope for the future! Don and Melissa Jackson were priceless—helping with every chore, side-walking and leading horses, and just being their wonderful wacky selves! The Rockbridge Young Life Camp was instrumental in this experience because they let us stay during a weekend the camp is traditionally closed except for a men’s retreat. The message I take from this is we cannot do it alone. I’ll leave it to Ben to interpret that one.
Speaking of Ben- he is Dr. Ben Conner, Executive Director for Capernaum – he raised the majority of the funds for these student to ride and go to camp. We could not offer this without the partnership Capernaum brings.
The people behind the scenes were just as critical: Melissa Conner (yep, wife of Ben and mother of the Conner clan) taught a group of the riders and did all of the scheduling. Tricia Shiflett packed and packed, making sure the students and the horses had everything we needed. Instructors worked to prepare their students to face the competition. Skip Mollenhauer drove her truck and trailer with all the “stuff.” She didn’t even groan when we were still bathing horses at midnight for the next-day’s show. Britney Fitts made sure horses were exercised, tacked, and ready for their riders. The donors who gave us the money- the Inclusion Grant, Mrs. G, and each of you who support us were a critical part of making the Ride-N-Romp 2009 a wonderful experience.
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