This section is made for our friends who may have heard of a “Horse Camp,” but do not know the details about the wonderful experience and adventure of attending a camp! The information provided below is to give you an idea of just how amazing a horse camp can be!
The dictionary defines CAMP as “a place offering recreational activities and skill development for children, usually during the summer”. This is only a basic description of every horse camp I know! Many camps have expanded to winter camps, weekend camps, adult camps, etc. At a horse stable, horse camp differs from riding lessons in that more emphasis is placed on the whole horsemanship experience, not merely riding. It also encompasses the fun and playful nature of just hanging out at the barn!
As a person who has participated in horse camp my entire life, I look back on my experience of horse camp. Forty years ago, our parents just dropped us off at the stable in the morning with a bagged lunch and picked us up at dusk. We defined our own “camp”, making up games, practicing our given horse show classes, trail riding, etc.
In this day and age there are very few stables owners willing to run the liability risk of hordes of kids hanging around a barn unsupervised. But time and again, I find myself drawing on those treasured memories of “playing” with my horse and my friends as I try to create inventive joyful plans for a new session of camp. While still striving to teach campers as much as we can about the equestrian sciences and stable management. For me, it is the camps that emphasize and inject as much fun as possible into their program that provide the best service and experience!
When prior students come back to visit my stable as adults, it doesn’t escape me that most of their vivid fond memories of the time they spent with us happened during camps. For the non-horse owning students, it is a time for them to become immersed in the daily exposure to this passion they are discovering. It also does a lot for inter-stable camaraderie. It is the first time the child who rides every Saturday at ten meets the child who rides every Tuesday at four.