My nose wrinkled at the stench of sweat and horse poop. The magnificent creatures I saw on TV and in magazines was NOTHING like the gigantic, smelly beasts I encountered on my first day volunteering at the barn on Camp Bette Perot. I was located near Palestine, Texas at Camp Bette Perot, a Girl Scout Camp famous for their horses. When I saw the opportunity to work with horses this summer, I practically jumped and danced with the Volunteer application in my hand. I envisioned galloping through fields of wild flowers with my hair freely blowing in the wind or prancing gallantly in an Arena with fancy cowgirl gear.
â–º SEMI FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
Never would I have imagined that my week would be filled with sweaty hard work, flies the size of your finger nails, and the aroma of horse droppings. And to think that this was the horror that filled my first mere two hours of my long, jam-packed day! My affection towards horses was quickly diminishing. That is, until I met my personal horse for the week, Jordan. At first, we did not get a long at all! I had great trouble trying to get the bit inside Jordan’s mouth and arranging the reins properly. Jordan was restless whenever I rode him, and made sure it a great inconvenience for me to saddle him in the mornings. This paradise was looking less and less promising as the day went by. By, nightfall of the first day, I was ready to go home.
The next morning didn’t turn out any better. I dropped a whole carton full of horse feed, lead a horse to the wrong stall, and incorrectly saddled two horses; resulting in a wicked scolding from the barn staff leader. My feet shuffled as I struggled to saddle Jordan, despite the fact that I was on the verge of tears. Sensing my despair, Jordan stayed still and looked at me with his questioning horse eyes. I made sure no one was around before I told his listening ears all the mishaps that happened. The tears I held within me, poured out of my eyes as I sobbed uncontrollably into Jordan’s mane. When I was completely through, he nickered and gave me a playful shove with his head. The look in his attentive eyes portrayed the comfort I needed to carry on throughout the day.
From then on, I sensed something changed. We worked and rode as if we were one solitary being. I carried on with my barn chores, knowing that if anything should happen, Jordan had my back. With this reassuring thought, the day went by smoothly and more fun without any further resistance from my horse. I began to see the world through Jordan’s eyes. The odor and critters weren’t a bother to me anymore. I came to appreciate the small things and feel the connection with my horse that experienced riders rave about. Jordan wasn’t just my horse anymore, he was my friend. My companion. My teacher. My other-half. At the end of the week, I came home with more than I bargained for: A furry friend to think about until I visit again, a temporary stench of horse body odors, a handful of dead flies in my suitcase, and with a life changing experience, all compacted into one smelly week.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.