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4-J Big Piney Horse Camp 2021

One of the first memories I have of attending 4-J Big Piney horse camp was right after I bought Kadeen. That was in 2009. Kadeen and I had shared very few trail miles at that point. It was muddy, and we experienced a few challenges. We were a long way from being a team.

Until I met Alan, I went to 4-J Big Piney horse camp by myself. A couple of times, I didn’t even know anybody going at the same time… I just winged it. My ex-husband didn’t know a thing about horses.

From the very beginning, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get professional photos taken by Ormsby Wade. But it was never as much fun by myself as it is with Alan! Well, heck, everything is more fun with Alan…

The critters left to right: Sadie, Mica, Kara, Leah, Finn, and Kadeen

This is our second year of equitrekking. I wrote about 4-J horse camp last year. Our weather was a bit better last year than this year… plus, I didn’t come home with Covid last year. Yes, even though Alan and I are vaccinated, I contracted Covid at the Big Piney. I started feeling poorly about 48 hours after we left camp. By this time, we were at Coldwater Ranch in Eminence.

I found out later that at least 8 folks were affected. I know one of them was a really nice, vaccinated staff member at 4-J. I went over and talked to him and his mom, and Alan was still eating dinner. That was the only exposure I had that Alan didn’t.

Alan felt “weird” for less than a day, but other than that he was fine. Amazing, since he was sharing the tiny LQ with me! The local hospital in Houston, Missouri took very good care of us. We were shuttled through a local clinic and then got Covid tests. I tested positive, Alan did not. Two days later, we received the monoclonal antibody infusion.

The day after our infusion, we started our three-day journey home. Obviously, we decided to cancel the last 11 days of our trip. By the end of our trip home, I was definitely feeling better. (We had a major delay on our last leg home… more on that later!)

Fortunately, I felt fine while at the Big Piney camp. Once again, I participated in the fun show, where Kadeen and I won the water glass class! We have to hold a little plastic glass of water while we walk and trot. At the end, we set the glass on a barrel. The act of sidling up to the barrel causes lots of folks to spill more water.

I’ll bet it took me a good 2 minutes to get Kadeen to come close enough to the barrel and hold still long enough for me to set the water down. But we did it! When everyone has turned in their water, they simply rank them from most water left to least. Who needs a gaited horse to have the smoothest ride? We also won one of the speed races and came in second in two more.

Just like last year, we went canoeing one afternoon. The temperature was in the mid-70s and we had a great time. Kara and Finn came along and enjoyed a couple of games of fetch-the-stick.

We made our customary trip to the Rolla Family Center Farm & Home store, where I bought the black shirt I wore for the photoshoot. As we have done in the past, we take all the dogs in and make them lie down while we shop. It always amazes the staff…

We rode 6.7 miles on a 66-degree day, and 11 miles on a 72-degree day. The leaves had not really started to turn colors yet. We did two more rides of similar distance, with the coldest day in the high 50’s. It was somewhat sloppy after the rain but not too bad. Last week, I told you about Alan’s vest deploying when Sadie decided she didn’t want to go down a muddy, narrow slope.

4-J Big Piney Horse camp

Crossing the river is one of the most fun parts of this location. The water is not too high but enough to challenge the horses.

Next week I’ll tell you about the couple of rides we managed to complete at Coldwater Ranch before I retreated to the trailer…

Our new podcast in collaboration with Horse Habit TV launches tomorrow! Check it out here.

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