We ask that campers bring a pair of boots with a heel (Blundstones or the older style rubber boots are perfect) and a pair of long pants for riding. (Sweatpants or stretchy leggings work great.) Riding helmets and all other supplies and materials are provided. If your child has their own riding gear, they're welcome to bring it.
Each camper needs to bring their own lunch, a snack and a water bottle.
The riding lessons are taught in the english style, with 2 people paired with each horse. Campers will meet the herd, talk about the body language and communication among horses, and get a sense of how the herd is feeling that day. Then we'll catch, and groom the horses, lead them up to the ring and get ready to ride! Each pair takes turns, with one partner watching/helping from the ground. This gives everyone a chance to see what it looks like (something that's often overlooked in other teaching styles).
We begin with an overview for everyone, and get some practice in stopping and steering our horses. We go over basic body positioning, and play some games to help us practice. Riders will have a chance to try a trot (if they want to), or work on their rising trot or jumping position if they are more advanced. We'll play games in the ring to help us practice our skills, and in the longer camps set up an obstacle course that we work through in teams as the ultimate test of what we've learned.
The highlight though, is riding outside the ring. We have trails through the woods and fields on the farm, and can also get onto the Valley Loop by venturing through the Glen. This kind of riding is hard to find as a young person, as the trail ride outfits have a minimum age requirement and most lesson barns/ camps don't include time out of the ring.
It's possible. But boredom's actually good for us! While the majority of the riding in the camps is a beginner level, there are opportunities for more experienced riders to demonstrate their skills and teach others (which is the best way to confirm their own knowledge.) We will also create opportunities and challenges for the more experienced riders to work at faster paces, and take on greater challenges when appropriate. The biggest learning for riders with more experience is in the realms of relationship: how to know what their horses are thinking and feeling, as well as experiencing the fun of adventuring with them together.
No jumping or canter work is taught as part of the camps.
Please be in touch with us by email before registering so we can talk about how we can accommodate your child. A lot of minor social/anxiety stuff won't even be noticeable once we get around the animals. But we do appreciate having the chance to connect before you go to the work of filling out the registration.
Because of the therapeutic framework that lies at the heart of Mountain Horse School's teaching, all of our camp programming is naturally therapeutic. Time moving in the outdoors in the embrace of the natural world allows stress to fall away. A sense of empowerment and belonging emerges from forming a true relationship with a horse. The long slow immersion in the rhythmic rocking movement of riding brings the heart and brain into coherence, resulting in ecstatic feelings of wellbeing. And the long days away from screens and away from the stresses of school and other activities lets the nervous system settle and move out of the stress state of sympathetic activation. Then curiosity, wonder and joy have space to emerge!
Our cancellation policy is as follows:
7 days or less before camp start date: no refund, credit or date change available
7-14 days before camp start date: credit or date change available (less 5% admin fee)
14+ days before camp start date: refund, credit or date change available (less 5% admin fee)