Response from the owner - a month ago
Hi, Lisa. Thanks for sharing your daughter's experience at our farm online. We have made some changes to our camp this year, and I have been remiss in updating our website, so thank you for pointing it out. We made the decision to get rid of the bunnies, chickens, turkeys, and ducks because we had to keep them penned up to keep the foxes and coyotes from eating them. Our original intention was to allow the birds to be free range so they could eat the ticks that plague our horses (and us too sometimes). By keeping them shut up, it created a lot of work trying to keep the pen clean, and it had a foul odor to it (no pun intended), especially when it rained. We still have guineas out on the farm though. We also have lots of dogs, cats, a miniature horse, and more than 60 horses.
This year, we've changed our format as well somewhat. We are trying to allow them more hands on time with the horses by allowing them to take the mini out for walks and to graze; allowing them to help feed the horses corn shucks, apples, carrots, and treats; and to help bathe our horses. We've never done that before, and there's no mention of it on our website. We only offer the wagon rides at least once a week because it ties up our tractor, which makes doing other farm chores more challenging. So if they haven't had an opportunity to do a wagon ride yet, they will.
With respect to their riding time, we can only ride when the weather permits. This week the temperatures soared to 100+ degrees on two days, but they rode twice a day on the other two days. When we realized they wouldn't be able to ride in the afternoon on the 2nd day when the temperature rose to 103 degrees, we gave them a 1 1/2 hour ride in the morning rather than the usual 1 hour ride to help offset their loss. So in total, they have only lost 1 afternoon ride and a 30 minute portion of another afternoon ride. Many parents rely on our horse camp for daycare while they work, so I think the full day camp is still worth the $20 extra per day they pay to go from half day camp to full day camp. Even with the lost 1 1/2 hours this week, they still rode for 8 1/2 hours - a $465 value for just $350... plus we kept them for 10 1/2 hours each day.
I'm thankful that your daughter enjoyed herself this week despite the heat. Our clubhouse is air conditioned, but it's a struggle to get the kids to keep the door shut (even with springs on it) so that the air conditioner can keep the clubhouse cool. The "clubhouse" is an old renovated barn, but at the end of the day, it's a barn. I chose to keep it and fix it up rather than building a new, contemporary building because I love the look of those old barns with the tin roof. It reminds me of when I was a kid and there were more farms, open meadows with horses and cows grazing, ponds, and stately white farm houses. That's no longer the case with shopping malls and asphalt everywhere you look. Our farm has dirt, flies, and horse manure, but that's because it is what it is - a farm. I think the dirt and heat bother parents more than it does the kids. I know they are tougher than I am when it comes to swimming early in the season or playing outside in the cold and snow! I think the beauty of our farm is that it is a step back in time - but it's so convenient to town, technology, and most importantly, to your home and work.