Horse camps can be great experiences for young riders, but it's so important to find a great horse camp for a safe and fun time for your child.
If you're planning to send your child away to horse camp, then your priority should be finding a reputable, quality camp where your child will be happy and safe.
Horse camps can help to improve your child's riding, allow your child to make new friends, and expose your child to new disciplines and experiences.
These tips can help ensure that you find a great horse camp and set your child up for a memorable summer.
Ask for Recommendations
If you know other parents who have sent their kids to riding camp, ask them which camps they would recommend and which they would stay away from.
Your child's riding instructor may also be familiar with local camps and might be able to lend some advice.
Make a List of Questions
Before you start contacting camps, do some research by visiting each horse camp's website. Make notes about the information that is available, and come up with a list of questions to ask.
You may want to ask about how much time the campers spend riding each day, how many horses are available at the camp, and whether campers are able to bring camp horses home on lease during the off-season.
Once you have a list of questions, call up the camp and have a conversation with them.
Assess the Riding Program Carefully
Think about what type of riding program you're looking for. Some horse camps feature horseback riding, but the campers actually ride once a day and spend time doing other activities. If you're looking for an intensive riding camp, then make sure that the camp has more of a focus on riding, with campers riding multiple times per day and doing other horse-related activities.
You'll also want to find out who the riding instructors are at the camp. Do they have lots of experience, and have they competed, themselves? Many camps employ assistant instructors, who are typically younger and less experienced. Find out whether the assistant instructors have riding experience, too.
Ask About Safety
Riding can be a dangerous activity, and any quality horse camp should prioritize the safety of its campers.
Ask about how the horses are evaluated, and whether there are horses for beginners as well as for more advanced riders available. You may also want to do some online research to see what others say about how the camp handles rider safety.
When you think you've found the ideal horse camp, then ask the camp to provide references. Many camps keep contact information for a few campers who are willing to talk about their experiences at the camp. See if you can connect with one of the campers to get a true sense of what the camp is like.
If you spend some time doing your research, you can likely find a great horse camp for your child this summer.