All About Equestrian Summer Camps

Summer is just about here, and millions of children are clamoring, “Please, Mom, can I go to horseback riding camp?”  And the answer can be, “Yes!” You’ll want to start packing their equestrian riding apparel – making sure to include an ASTM/SEI-approved horse riding helmet and get them ready to advance their horseback riding skills, expand their horsemanship knowledge, and enjoy riding with friends.
Equestrian Camp Options
Happily, hundreds of camps across the country offer riding as a main activity:  At least 130 camps make it a primary focus,with nearly 450 camps offering English riding alone.  Now, these are just sleep-away camps; keep in mind that many stables offer week-long camp sessions that are geared to riders of any level, and can be a wonderful experience for youngsters of any age.
Core Components of Camp
In both cases, riding time will be a core part of the camp experience, but what is so exciting about “horse camp” is that most camps are designed to allow youngsters the chance to care extensively for their horses.  Grooming, stall cleaning, equestrian riding apparel care, and learning all about equine anatomy and culture are all part of the experience.  In addition, campers have the opportunity to ride twice a day.  For the horse-crazy youngster, horse camp is just short of heaven.
Immersed in Nature
In addition to the hands-on, summer camp, especially those with a strong equestrian component, gives youngsters a key chance to be immersed in Nature.  They learn about the life of another living being, how to be responsible for its well-being, and an important chance to experience interacting with a large animal safely and with respect.
Camp Counselor Opportunities
If parents are wondering if camp can provide future opportunities, many youngsters return year after year to their camp, and as they mature, they often have the chance to return as a camp counselor.  For those with the horse bug, this is an excellent chance to learn how to be truly responsible with horses, to acquire senior barn management skills, learn advanced riding, and to learn teaching skills, all without the expense of personal horse ownership!
What to Pack
What sort of equestrian equipment and equestrian riding apparel should a child take with him or her to camp?  It usually is the same as it would be for your child’s riding lessons.  In most cases, the child should be equipped with the following:
  • ASTM/SEI-approved horse riding helmet
  • Proper riding boots (paddock-style are the most versatile for english) (western boots for western)
  • Riding pants, such as CJ Jeans are perfect for any discipline and durable for any camp length!
  • Half-chaps, to protect the calf of the leg while riding, are a very useful and functional addition, and should be included on the shopping list if possible
  • Riding gloves are also excellent, as they can provide protection from the sun while out of doors
Clothes will get dirty, so any extra pairs of riding pants and socks can be helpful!  Shirts should be tidy and well-fitted, not loose-fitting; long hair will need to fasten back into a pony tail or braids for barn work and riding time.
Summer camp, youngsters (girls and boys) and horses are a natural mix, and with the wide variety of horse camps available, there is no shortage of opportunity.  So, get ready for a summer filled with excitement for your child … and maybe, at the end of summer, a clamoring of “Mom, can we bring Red home with us?  Please?

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