Best In Show

Horseback riding at Saginaw was a special offering, that is to say your parents had to pay extra for you to partake in this activity.  For most us this was not even on our radar screen unless we happened to be on the way out of camp and got a hint of the stable aroma waffing about near the front gate.

As you can read in the recollections of Lynn Gendason, for those campers who snuck off to do some riding a couple of times a week, it was great fun and a source of some outstanding memories.

“I had two favorite activities at camp.  One was canoeing on the Big Elk and the other was horseback riding.

Lynn atop her favorite Sunday's Best
Lynn atop her favorite Sunday’s Best in 1968

During the summer of 1968 my favorite horse was named Sunday Best. He was brown with black trim and a white stripe running down his majestic face. We learned to trot and canter in the ring but best of all, sometimes we would actually leave camp and ride to the general store at Hickory Hill.  Can you imagine, there was no traffic and no homes surrounding the camp (except maybe Sanford’s).

Here in the ring but sometimes they hit the trail to Hickory Hill
Lynn and S.B. in the ring but sometimes they hit the trail to Hickory Hill

In 1968 we had a wonderful riding instructor from England named Val.

Val taught them how to handle the horses and themselves in the ring.
Val taught them how to handle the horses and themselves in the ring.

I had a slight problem sometimes in that occasionally I fell off the horse.  My mom recounted to me that one summer on visitors day, she told my dad, “if she falls off, don’t run out there”.  Of course I fell and my Dad came running into the ring.  I never was seriously hurt, except for my pride of course.

Years later, I came up for a reunion and was sorry to see that the horse ring had been replaced with a go cart tract.  I guess time “trots” on.

In full gear-riding helmet and boots-with a ribbon to show for it
Lynn in full gear-riding helmet and boots-with a ribbon to show for it

But I have great memories.  I still have my riding hat from my Saginaw riding days.  Sports played a large part of Saginaw and I loved leagues and color war, but horseback riding has a special place in my Saginaw memories.”

For many other campers horseback riding was something to look forward to.  If we only knew about this “out of camp” trail riding opportunity to augment your canteen rations maybe more of us would have pushed our parents to pony-up for this.

1951 Horse Walk
1951:  Out for a stroll with the ponies
1955 Horseback Riding
1955:  Young horse handler showing off her stuff to an adoring crowd
1962 sophomores staging of High Noon
1962 sophomores staging of High Noon

Like all activities at camp there were standards that had to be met to reach the next level.

horseback-riding-card

In the early 1960’s those who rode had to have denim jeans in their summer wardrobe well before having denim jeans in your wardrobe was the thing.

1961 The Big Coop before he was big aboard his steed
1961 The Big Coop before he was big aboard his steed

 

Working on his cantor...
Coop Working on his cantor…

 

1967 Sue Ann Riskin snuggles her favorite Bay Rum
1967 Sue Riskin nuzzles her favorite……Bay Rum

At the end of the year it all came to a climax at the Annual Horse Show where you got a chance to show your stuff and collect some ribbons if you were the best in show.

1965-horse-show-ribbon

(Click to see the program from the 1949 Horse Show)

(Click to see the program from the 1951 Horse Show)

And then there was this for the truly devoted riders.

Evidence of membership in the exclusive club
Evidence of membership in the exclusive club

Like so many of the things experienced at Saginaw, Horseback Riding gave those campers a stable full of memories to carry away.

 

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