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Youth and Collegiate

Summer Horse Camp Postcards from Young Riders

Last year, Young Rider magazine asked to hear all about summer horse camp experiences from young riders, so here are some postcards and letters we got.

Courtesy Cecilia G.

Cecilia G., Lexington, KY, Age 9

I went to horse camp for three weeks this summer at Fantasia Farm in Kentucky. One of the best parts (besides riding) was working in the barn and on the farm. But the very best part was all the friends I made.

We did all kinds of stuff, like making horses picture frames, snow globes, tie-dye t-shirts and slime. We had several lessons a day and even got to ride bareback. I usually ride western but got to try out English. We worked in the barns mucking stalls and feeding horses. We also helped bring the horses in from the fields. At the end of each week, we got to have a show with three categories: beginner, intermediate and advanced. I was in the advanced category with a bunch of my friends.

My advice is to always look on the positive side, even if you have a bad ride and to always be willing to try something you’re scared of.

Eleanor A., Concord, N.C., Age 10

This year was my fifth year at Camp Wings of Eagles Ranch. It was unlike any other year of camp. In the week I was there, I rode the horse that me and my family will probably buy. I couldn’t have asked for a better summer this year!

A tip for other riders is to be flexible about the way you ride and adapt to riding new horses. Every horse that you ride, be confident and strong.

Image Courtesy Kyrie C.

Kyrie C., Columbus, OH, Age 13

I attended two weeks of riding camp this year. During camp, I practiced hunter/jumper skills and learned horsemanship. I also went trail riding , played polo, did archery on horseback, practiced driving, prepared a routine with a camp vaulting team, and did camp activities, like swimming and crafts.

I loved the new experiences I had at camp and doing things that I don’t get to do at the barn or during lessons. My advice for other campers is don’t be afraid to try new things, but also know your limits. Sometimes you will surprise yourself at how much fun you can have (or how good you can be) at something you’ve never tried. But it’s always OK to tell your instructors if you don’t feel comfortable doing something.

Katherine H., Richmond, VA, Age 12

This summer I went to Forrestel Riding Camp and rode a sweet horse named Mercedes. While I was at camp, I rode twice a day for four hours every day. I mastered my diagonals and learned how to canter and properly clean my bit. I was only there for a week, but as soon as I got home I needed (not wanted, NEEDED) to get back on a horse. I normally ride once a week, but I am there for hours! After going to Forrestel, my riding will be so much better.

If I had to give advice to other campers, have fun and make some friends. I made two friends who I will remember forever. I fell in love with Mercedes, the same way you’ll fall in love with your camp horse.

Irene G., via email, Age 14

This is probably a little different than most people’s camp postcards. That’s because my mom runs a barn and runs pony camps in the summer, which means I get to be a camp counselor! It’s an interesting position to be in, and I have learned a lot by teaching kids at camp. It’s so much fun to watch and help people learn about horses. I get to demonstrate a lot during these camps, because I’m fairly experienced with horses. My favorite part of all of our camps is the last day, when the campers show what they’ve learned to their parents and families.

Image Courtesy Maddie S.

Maddie S., San Carlos, CA, Age 10, Member of our 2019 Young Rider Advisory Board

I didn’t go to an overnight camp, but I went to my ranch’s summer camps for two weeks. I think it’s cool that you don’t get to choose a horse to ride unless you lease a horse, so you ride different types of horses that you usually won’t get to.

It’s also a fun difference to be in a large group if you’re someone like me that usually rides in a private lesson. You also get an instructor that you may not usually ride with, so it’s interesting to try out different teaching methods. Horse management is also taught at a lot of camps, and it’s always fascinating to learn a thing or two that you didn’t already know and that will expand your horse knowledge.

Share below in the comments what you would write on a postcard from horse camp if you were sharing your experiences.

This article featuring summer horse camp postcards from young riders appeared in the January/February 2020 issue of Young Rider magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Horse Illustrated

Horse Illustrated is the magazine for people who are passionate about horses. Each issue offers advice on horse health and care, plus user-friendly training tips for both English and western riders and engaging lifestyle features for horse lovers.

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