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Finding a Good, Safe Equestrian Camp


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My daughter is interested in going to an equestrian day camp when she's 10.


She just finished a week at a farm day camp that was run very well by a family - adult daughter in her 20s, her mother, her grandmother, and her two younger sisters - 18 and 14. It was such a wonderful mix of ages and experiences that I felt so comfortable having her go. There were usually 10 to 12 kids each day, so generally, a 2:1 child/staff ratio.


Experienced horse people - what do I look for in a well-run and SAFE horseback-riding camp? Helmets and good staff ratio are the only things that come to mind right away. We want a fun horseback riding experience that goes beyond a short ride in a ring, but we don't want to do weekly lessons. Just something fun for a week.


Are certified instructors meaningful? I've seen ARIA and CHA directories, and we have instructors certified by one or the other nearby, but I don't know without contacting them whether they offer any amps. There are at least three stables that offer camps, but none say anything about certification. One camp has a "Centered Riding" certified instructor, which I looked up, but it's not like the other certifications.


Day camps are also supposed to be licensed by our state through each county's health dept. So far, I haven't seen that information from any of the camps; the camp she was just in gave that info. right away. That also covers background checks, but only for the directors.


This whole horse camp thing makes me very nervous, so I want to research it thoroughly. I can make arrangements to visit the facilities and meet the staff, but I'd really appreciate hearing what knowledgeable people here have to say! Thank you!

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No idea. It just made me realize all I did not check out for dd13s riding camp. They offered a full scholarship so I checked it was a registered camp with my province, filled out the forms and sent her. In fact I have never really researched the camps I have sent my kids to, the were all registered Christian camps (so is this riding one) but I never double checked anything. They have always had a good time and have been safe, though are making me feel like a bad mom now. Dd comes home tomorrow then I can find out about their safety things lol

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My six-year-olds are doing a few one-week morning horse camps this summer.  I checked out the websites of the nearby camps and went to visit the one I liked best.  Of course they all say they care about safety bla bla bla.  The thing I really like about the camp my kids go to is that the teachers have education / special ed degrees, and they work with special needs kids as well as "regular" kids.  I feel like this makes them a bit more sensitive to any of my kids' quirks / age-appropriate limitations, and smart about motivating them when they're straying from the program.  Before the camps, I paid for them to have one riding lesson with me there (about an hour long) so I could get a feel for the place.


So far so good - I don't have any complaints, and my kids love the camp, even though it's a lot of hard work.

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Girl Scout camps?

In the Houston area,the Girl Scout council has a large camp dedicated to horses. My DD attended several several times. In general Girl Scout programs have very strict safety protocols. When we went as a troop activity there were always at least two adult (over 21) instructors in the ring at all times. As they are starting out and assessing each girl's riding ability there is one teenage scout helper for each girl on a horse. The helper stays right next to the girl and her horse until they are confident that she can ride independently in the ring. As the kids progress they move on to trail rides.


As riding skills improve over the year(s) the camp experience can move from lessons and short trail rides to overnight and longer rides. They even offered horse gymnastics (trick riding) for very advanced girls, but my dd was never that comfortable on a horse.


The best part of all is the low cost of Girl Scout camps. When I look at a private horse camp the cost was several hundred dollars more per week than the GS camp.

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