Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Last weekend was our second Dodson family horse camping adventure. The Knaups were able to join us this time and we had a blast with our four kids, three dogs and six horses.

The weekend had a rather dubious beginning. Friday started off with my riding lesson being cancelled at the last minute due to a rather sudden torrential downpour and fierce thunderstorm causing me to rush the saddled horses under cover.

There was some question as to whether or not the weekend would continue in that vein. Nevertheless, we tackled the task of transferring the behemoth pile of camping gear required for three toddlers, two puppies, and two adults into our minivan (not to mention all of the tack that we loaded into the trailer). Clay provided the necessary encouragement and cup of hot chocolate to keep me in an adventuresome spirit. Listening to Josh Ritter and eating cheezits on the drive to the campsite also helped. And the fact that we got some sunshine for the early evening.

 Setting up camp always requires a bit of work, but there is something satisfying in rolling out sleeping bags and making sure everything is cozy for the night. I am loving the fact that we have a separate "kid" tent.

The kids were quite enthralled with their tent and had tested out their new sleeping bags the entire previous week at home. This is how I found them after the first night of camping.

The kids loved having the addition of their partner-in-crime (read: cousin) Katy-bug along for the fun. It was her first camping trip and, judging by how she gleefully crawled around in the grass and dove into the food boxes, I'd say it was a success. She and Amelia are like two peas in a pod.

It was also Sackett's first camping trip (that we know of) and, of course, he acted like he was an old pro. He even lay down for a little snooze while tied to the high line. Margaret loved running over to give him sporadic pats and treats.

Another exciting addition to our camping trip this year was the buddy saddle. Huge success. Margaret and William were pleased as punch to be able to go on a real trail ride with us. We may be purchasing a second one in the near future. Unfortunately I didn't capture any photos of Margaret on her trail riding debut - I was too distracted riding a mustang - but since she is already bugging us to go for another ride around the farm, I'm sure I will have more opportunities soon.

When we weren't riding we were feasting in royal style and letting the kids entertain us. William even did a little stint as Zanti, the stagecoach robber.

Two adorable german shepherd puppies completed our entourage. Due to the fact that my parents took my little sister to the Rolex for the weekend (if I hadn't gone horse camping I would have been sitting at home being miserably jealous), we got to watch the remainder of the recent litter and help them find new homes. I did have an auctioneer (fellow horse camper down the road) start a bid for them, but it turns out the other campers didn't have enough money in their pockets. 

Saturday was beautiful. A perfect day for exploring beautiful wooded trails. Saturday evening found us frantically covering everything with tarps under a "pop up shower in northeast Dallas County". We still managed to enjoy a nice evening campfire (sitting on damp camping chairs, waiting for babies to go to sleep) before retiring for the night and falling asleep to the relaxing sound of rain showers on a (cozy, dry) tent. 

The rain was pleasant pattering on the outside of the rain fly. 

And then morning came and I realized I had to get out of my sleeping bag and, even worse, out of the tent. Sunday morning we woke up to this:

Wet horses, wet hay, wet puppies, wet socks, wet children.

Thank goodness for hot coffee and pastries under a tarp.

There were a few hiccups in the camping experience. Like not knowing we weren't allowed on the trails until 1 pm because it was turkey season. And running out of (dry) daylight hours for sufficient trail riding or playing in the river. But, the children (particularly Margaret) had a complete and total blast. Seeing her beaming face peeking out from her pink raincoat as she splashed in the puddles was all I needed to keep me cheerful as I packed up camp in a thunderstorm. It was a fun adventure, and I was thankful for such a nice family to share it with. Looking forward to next year!


  1. You inspire me Elissa! :) I love the pay n play in the tent. Clayton is wanting to try camping so we will have to get all your tips!

  2. That looks like a lot of fun! Now that you've made ME jealous by looking at the pictures on your blog, you should see the videos I got at the Rolex:)