Guest Author - Kim Wende
Does your child dream or riding horses? Are they horse crazy and talk about them all the time? Summer horsemanship camps are a great way to introduce your child to horses and riding. It will also give you an idea of how serious they might be before investing in a horse.
There are summer camps that are available for half a day while others are a full day. The full day summer camps usually run from 8:00 or 9:00 AM and end between 3:00 to 5:00 PM.
Questions to Ask When Considering a Summer Camp
-What will my child learn and what activities do you offer? For most camps a typical day would include learning how to care for horses, a riding lesson, crafts, lunch break followed by more horse time. Some camps will include swimming at the local pool while others may have a pond on their property.
-What is the cost? The price of the camp can vary greatly and will depend on the services and activities offered. The cost may be as little as a $100 for a day camp.
-How long has the camp been in business?
-Do they have references from previous campers that you can call?
-Do they have the same instructors each year or are they different? This may give you an idea as to how satisfied the employees are. If there is a high turnover rate you might want to look at other camps. Be sure you check into the qualifications of the instructor. Ask what the instructor to rider ratio is as you don't want one instructor for ten kids.
-Do they have an emergency plan if something goes wrong? Is any of the staff medically-trained? Find out everything you can about their plans for safety.
-What style of riding will the child be doing? English or Western? Will they be riding in an arena or out on the trails?
-What ages and ability levels will the other children have? Will they be grouped with the same aged children? Will it be all beginners or will there be some advanced riders?
-How much riding and/or lessons will they get? Most camps do at least a one hour lesson a day. Ask if your child will have their own horse or will they be sharing.
-Can you visit before signing up? When going for a visit pay attention to the condition of the barn, fencing, and gates. Is everything neat and clean? Are the fences and gates safe and in good working condition?
Also, notice the condition of the horses are they skinny and crabby or are they in good health and happy?
You will also want to find out what is provided by the camp and what is required for you to provide. Some camps will furnish helmets while others require the parent to provide the helmet. The camp will also have requirements for what kind of clothes and shoes that will be needed.
If your child loves horses and wants to learn about them then, an all-day week long or more, summer horse camp is probably a great idea!