A Girl and Her Horse
Posted on July 30, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 44 Comments
Athena’s time at horse camp is now ended, but before they sent her off they had all the girls at the camp put on a little show for their parents, so we could see what the girls learned in their week there. Here is Athena with her horse, named Storm, with whom she got along famously. Now Athena’s home and I suspect is sizing up Daisy to see if she can be fitted with a saddle. That might not end well for either of them.
And she’s undoubtedly gazing at your large front yard and wondering, “Hmmm … all we need is a fence … and a barn … and…”
Wonder if they named the horse after the X-men character… because the eyes… are kind of freaky.
And yes. I have no doubt the, “Daddy, I want a pony,” conversation might have to happen now.
The horse’s eye (I think it has grey eyelashes, but it looks like it has no pupils) make it look rather zombified in this picture.
HORSE camp… I didn’t realize (or else pay close enough attention)
Well, this calls for a serious upgrade to best parental units!
What a great picture! Here’s what happened after my first week of horse camp: weekly riding lessons, then twice weekly, then horse shows, then working at the barn, then the two-week Wyoming pack trip, then combined-training eventing, then falling off and breaking my collar bone, then buying my own horse…
Just to warn you…
Was there also a horse at the ranch named Paul?
I am now picturing the horse playing the guitar like El Kabong.
My daughter’s 7th birthday present was an intro to horses / riding lesson that I thought would get it out of her system. We bought a horse about 3 years late. I’m just saying…
…3 years later….
Warren Ellis has established a precedent of purchasing a horse for an author’s daughter upon the release of a movie based upon the author’s work.
When is the OMW movie could be coming out? Maybe it will be many years and she’ll be away at college by then.
“But Daaaad! You got a new Macbook and Mom got a lawnmower…”
I have two cousins who got horse crazy about that age; one still does horse shows, the other one is now married to a guy who owns a ranch. In Chile. (She rode a horse at the ceremony, I have pictures.)
horse + girl = doom of the financial kind
Goodness that is a gorgeous horse.
Luckily, you can explain to her “Athena, we live in a small apartment in a city, where there’s no room for a horse!”
Oh wait…you’re screwed. Better start planning where you want the barn. ;)
That looks like a perfect camp horse to me. Mellow to the point of sleepy. There’s nothing freaky about it’s eyes. They are just about closed from all the mellow. Horse irises are HUGE. The only time you see the whites are when the are totally panicked. That and when the pony is pink or purple with human eyes. Now that’s freaky.
Great story about my sisters first pony. Mom told them they were forbidden to set foot in the corral unless there was a parent there to watch. So my sisters who are twins would take turns luring the pony to the side of the corral with grass so the other one could get on from the fence and get a ride without setting foot in the corall.
Consider this a warning.
I’ve done the horsey thing off and on over the years too, and I have to say, Athena should check and see if there are any polo schools near the Scalzi homestead. Polo has a reputation for being kind of snooty, but in reality, it’s an amazing sport. Of all the horse-related activities I’ve tried, it was the best.
I’m definitely jealous of her time at camp. My parents sent me to Jesus camp as a kid :/
Oh, I recall when my daughter (now 32) first went off to horse camp. The scary part was watching her do vaulting at the end of the camp session. Riding in an English saddle is one thing. Doing acrobatics atop a bareback Percheron is quite another.
Mmmm. Strawberry roan.
(And that looks like a curb bit, so I think the chestal piece of apparatus is actually a breast collar.)
Since you live out in the boondocks, I’d see if any of your next door neighbors board horses. That way you don’t have to build anything but Athena has access for the daily upkeep.
That’s awesome, John. Some of my best memories were of riding my grandfather’s horses in North Dakota. Camp isn’t something Athena will easily forget.
I hope you are well prepared for the ‘Horse Talk’ that girls need to give their parents at about this age.
I’d call it more of a fleabitten gray than a roan…
Others have said it, and I agree: the thing to worry about is not if she is sizing up the dog, but if she is sizing you up for your horse-procuring abilities.
ah that takes me back…my little girl did a cowboy camp for 6 summers in a row, riding horses, sleeping in freezing barracks, sounded like hell on earth to me but she loved it.
I have that picture from my daughter’s first year at horse camp (with her horse named Rodeo), under those same e-free conditions, and ending performance. I just dropped her off for her sixth year, where she is now training to be a unit leader at the same camp.
Many happy summers to you and Athena.
What a lovely picture. I have many fond memories from summers at horse camp and as other commenters have already said, it was horse camp that first awoke what turned into a life-long passion…leading to lessons, showing, leasing, saving up my pennies until I could finally buy my first horse, and ultimately becoming a therapeutic riding instructor. So be warned, a horse crazy girl is a formidable force indeed.
Remember, John, it could have been worse…she could have gone to Llama Camp.
Here’s hoping that the OMW movie
a) Gets made, and
b) Is a smash hit
Or else I sense a Horse mortgage in your future :)
Stable plans at this handy site; look in section 8000.
FOOL OF A TOOK! She’ll be sizing up your oh so large yard for a barn.
Cute picture. My recommendation for children who express a desire for farm animals to take care of is to start with chickens. They are small and relatively easy to deal with. If a child can raise and eat a crop of buffalo wings without being a complete pain, said child is prepared for more serious farmerly duties. Most kids will, however, bail on the drudge work with unsympathetic, dirty, and moronic animals, or balk at the concept of personally killing and eating something they raised.
Issues with this plan:
1. A smart kid may realize it is bollocks – horses can be (expensive) pets, and all this “do it properly like a farmer” schtuff makes little more sense than “do it properly like a medieval knight.” (Admittedly, the latter would be *cool*, but also expensive as all get out.)
2. Kid might discover they *like* farming. On one hand, this will make their eventual horse habit much cheaper, and possibly a little self-financing. On the other, farming is generally unprofitable and grinding, even for those raised in it.
3. Chicken crap on lawn.
4. Chicken-pet interactions.
Someone should have written a song called “Horses are a Girl’s Best Friend”…Horse camp is heaven on earth for girls of a certain age. Some of us grow out of it, some of us remain there in our hearts, and some of us get to have horses forever. Wonder which path Athena will choose? Bravo to you for providing the opportunity for her to hang out with these animals! PS based on your photos, you have PLENTY of room for a barn…just saying.
I suppose the good news, for us your fans, is that you’ll now be forced to write more books to pay for her new addiction.
Athena can run away and come live with me whenever she wants. I’ve got three horses at home who don’t get near enough attention because, well, I’m working full time with OTHER horses every day. Yeah, horses coming out of my ears over here in VA. Plenty of room for another gal who wants horse time :)
Lucky girl! I wish I’d gone to a horse camp as a kid. But it’s probably good that I didn’t. I probably would have tried to ride like Glorfindel on the first day and banned indefinitely by the horse union.
An intrest in horses is no more an intrest in farming than is an intrest in tractor pulling. Maybe less.
There actually is a song titled “A Girl and Her Horse” by Carbon Leaf.
Duh! How about a horse in science fiction. Alan Dean Foster’s Dream Done Green.
Well, you’ve got five acres. Plenty of room for a horse barn. ;-)
Dude. Serious strategic mistake. You now will be subjected to Horse Fever.
That said, this just means you need to come to Orycon and bring Athena with. Then she can come visit my horse and totally increase her addiction.
(Exposure to Miss Mocha tends to do that. But she is Teh Awesome of horse world).
My seeming dyslexia turned that as “A Horse and His Girl”.
The daughter has riding lessons before this. Trust me, this is not the first instance of Horse Fever.
I have an alternative suggestion: find out whether there’s a therapeutic riding or hippotherapy facility near you. The one I used to work at accepted 12-year-olds (with parental supervision) as horse-care volunteers. These facilities usually have several horses that need to be groomed, tacked, untacked, groomed (lather, rinse, repeat), fed and cleaned up after. Plus they are seriously cool places to be. Here’s a localish news story: http://abclocal.go.com/wtvg/story?section=resources/lifestyle_community/pets&id=7683364