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Horseback Riding Camps

 

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Muskoka Woods

4585 HWY 141, Rosseau, Ontario, P0C 1J0

Rosseau
Muskoka Woods

An overnight Christian youth camp offering a variety of activities including golf, rock climbing, soccer, hockey, gymnastics and more. [more info]

  • Ages 7 to 17
  • Overnight Camp
  • Sports
  • Traditional

Camp Bil-O-Wood

1102 Granary Lake Rd, Blind River, Ontario, P0R 1B0

Blind River
Camp Bil-O-Wood

A traditional coed summer camp for kids aged 7 to 17 with an exceptional camping and canoeing program. Over 30 sports and activities for children from Canada, US, and overseas; family owned and operated for 70 years [more info]

  • Ages 7 to 17
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional
  • Traditional
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Frontier Trails Camp & Outdoor Education Centre

#10545 Hwy 60, Eganville, Ontario, K0J 1T0

Eganville  •  Ottawa
Frontier Trails Camp & Outdoor Education Centre

We offer summer camps, day and overnight programs and a variety of activities including horseback riding,ESL, paintball, archery, whitewater rafting and more. Offering Awesome memories to campers from Ottawa to China. [more info]

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional
  • Travel

Camp Muskoka

1745 Fraserburg Road, Bracebridge, Ontario, P1L 1X3

Bracebridge
Camp Muskoka

Camp Muskoka offers traditional summer camp activities like sports and hiking as well as attention to leadership building and some special needs. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional
  • Year-Round

Onondaga Camp

1120 Rackety Trail R. R. #3, Minden, Ontario, K0M 2K0

Minden
Onondaga Camp

For more than 96 years Onondaga Camp has provided an inclusive environment where young people can play, explore, achieve and grow. Onondaga offers the kinds of activities that kids today really want. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional
  • Adventure

Arrowhead Camp

1111 Ronville Rd, Dwight, Ontario, P0A 1H0

Huntsville
Arrowhead Camp

A summer camp in the Muskokas with a ratio of 1:3 counselors to campers. A variety of camp programs include kayaking, arts and more. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Day & Overnight Camp
  • Traditional
  • Arts

The Taylor Statten Camps

P.O. Box 10007, Algonquin Park, Ontario,

Algonquin Park
The Taylor Statten Camps

Traditional summer camps with a balance of canoe tripping and in-camp programming. Activities include riding, rock climbing, swimming and archery. Canoe trips range in length from 2 to 50 days. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Adventure
  • Traditional

Camp Mini-Yo-We

1878 Muskoka Road 10 W, RR 2, Port Sydney, Ontario, P0B 1L0

Huntsville
Camp Mini-Yo-We

A Christian summer camp offering a variety of sports and activities, ranging from hiking to swimming to leadership building to arts. [more info]

  • Ages 5 to 18
  • Day & Overnight Camp
  • Traditional
  • Adventure

Camp Arowhon

1 Arowhon Road, Algonquin Park, Ontario, P0A 1B0

Algonquin Park  •  Toronto
Camp Arowhon

A fun summer camp in the Algonquin Park wilderness with activities that include theatre arts, swimming and many other sports. [more info]

  • Ages 7 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Frontier Trails ESL Camp

10545 Hwy 60, Eganville, Ontario,

Eganville
Frontier Trails ESL Camp

Programs are geared to encourage speaking as opposed to writing proficiency. By using picture images, with English labels, each child gains a certain level of familiarity with the terminology presented. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Day & Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Stanstead College Language Adventure

450 Dufferin, Stanstead, Quebec, J0B 3E0

Stanstead
Stanstead College Language Adventure

This four week summer program hosted by this prestigious boarding school outside of Sherbrooke, Quebec, offers enrichment in French or Spanish languages. [more info]

  • Ages 11 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Quebec

Ontario Pioneer Camp

942 Clearwater Lake Road, Port Sydney, Ontario, P0B 1L0

Huntsville
Ontario Pioneer Camp

This Muskoka summer camp offers unique adventures and a variety of features including horseback riding, ADHD support and much more! [more info]

  • Ages 5 to 17
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Rocky Ridge Ranch

10486 5th Line Nass. RR #2, Rockwood, Ontario,

Milton
Rocky Ridge Ranch

This Christian camp has horseback riding, archery, swimming, hockey, cooperative games and more, and boasts 3rd generation campers. Kids have been raving about the wonderful family-style meals for over 45 years. [more info]

  • Ages 5 to 18
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

YMCA of Oakville

410 Rebecca Street, Oakville, Ontario, L6K 1K7

Oakville
YMCA of Oakville

Oakville YMCA Camps are found at several locations across the city with activities including swimming, day trips and more. Learn more! [more info]

  • Ages 3 to 17
  • Day Camp
  • Traditional

Glen Bernard Camp

2066 South Lake Bernard Road, Sundridge, Ontario, P0A 1Z0

Huntsville
Glen Bernard Camp

A traditional overnight summer camp for girls offering wilderness adventure, horseback riding, sailing, arts and many other activities! [more info]

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Camp Cherith - Ontario

Box 142, Walkerton, Ontario, N0G 2V0

Hanover
Camp Cherith - Ontario

This Christian camp includes focuses on theatre arts, horseback riding, canoe tripping and more, situated in the heart of Grey-Bruce in south central Ontario. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Arden Circle Square Ranch

Inter-Varsity Camps, 1 International Blvd., Toronto, Ontario, M9W 6H3

Throughout Canada  •  Arden  •  Hamilton  •  Port Sydney
Arden Circle Square Ranch

Circle Square Ranches are life changing Christian summer camps for kids and teens. We offer camp programs for kids ages 6-18, as well as specific programs in leadership development . [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 17
  • Day & Overnight Camp
  • Adventure
  • Traditional

Brown Ledge Camp

25 Wilson St, Colchester, Vermont,

Vermont
Brown Ledge Camp

This overnight, all-girls camp in Vermont has a long history of creating life-long memories. Activities range from horsemanship to theatre arts to water and field sports. [more info]

  • Ages 10 to 17
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Bishop's College School Summer Language Camp

80 Moulton Hill, PO Box 5001, Succursale Lennoxville, Sherbrooke, Quebec, J1M 1Z8

Lennoxville
Bishop's College School Summer Language Camp

Offers many sports summer camp activities along with ESL and FSL integration. Activities include golf, horseback riding and much more. [more info]

  • Ages 11 to 16
  • Day & Overnight Camp
  • Education

Camp Crossroads

1224 East Bay Rd, Torrance, Ontario, P0C 1M0

Gravenhurst
Camp Crossroads

Muskoka kids' camp focused on Christian teaching of kids, while engaged in typical summer camp actitivities. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 18
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Earth Studies

197 Fierobin Road, Ladysmith, Quebec,

Ladysmith
Earth Studies

"We (re)connect people to the land," says this outdoor animal husbandry school. The overnight camp (offered year-round) gives youth aged 9 to 22 a fantastic opportunity to interact with animals. [more info]

  • Ages 9 to 22
  • Overnight Camp
  • Education

Camp Kennebec

1422 Cox Road, Arden, Ontario, K0H 1B0

Sharbot Lake
Camp Kennebec

Offers special needs kids a summer camp in eastern Ontario. Individualized programs and more than 50 activities including sports, arts and more. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 25
  • Overnight Camp
  • Special Needs

Expérience Authentique

Toronto, Quebec & France, Toronto ( main office ), Ontario,

Toronto  •  Montreal  •  International
Expérience Authentique

One-of-a-kind French experiences for children schooled in French immersion or Francophone schools + Family Trips and Youth Linguistic Stays in Southwest France for all language levels. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 18
  • Day & Overnight Camp
  • Education

Teen Ranch

20682 Hurontario Street, Caledon, Ontario, L7K 1X1

Caledon
Teen Ranch

A Christian summer camp and year round retreat facility close to the GTA, specializing in horse, hockey, extreme adventure, bmx biking and soccer camps. [more info]

  • Ages 5 to 18
  • Overnight Camp
  • Sports

YMCA Cedar Glen

13300 11th Concession, Schomberg, Ontario, L0G 1T0

Caledon
YMCA Cedar Glen

Half an hour north of Toronto, this summer camp offers activities ranging from swimming to mountain biking. Camp includes an overnight program. [more info]

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Day Camp
  • Traditional

The Gow School Summer Program

2491 Emery Rd, South Wales, New York, 14139

New York
The Gow School Summer Program

A New York summer camp where kids with special needs participate in horseback riding, swimming and more, including overnight camping. [more info]

  • Ages 8 to 16
  • Day & Overnight Camp
  • Special Needs

The Ballibay Camps

1 Ballibay Road, Camptown, Pennsylvania,

Pennsylvania
The Ballibay Camps

A group of arts camps in Northern Pennsylvania with a long history of excellence. Programs offered in Fine Art, Rock Music, Dance, Theatre, Video/Radio and Horseback riding. [more info]

  • Ages 8 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Arts

Westcoast Connection / 360° Student Travel

1865 Leslie Street, Suite 218, Toronto, Ontario,

International
Westcoast Connection / 360° Student Travel

Westcoast Connection & 360° Student Travel offer the summer of a lifetime for teens 13 to 18 (in compatible age groupings). [more info]

  • Ages 13 to 18
  • Overnight Camp
  • Travel

Ontario Girl Guides

4 different sites, to choose from, across the Prov., Ontario,

Throughout Ontario
Ontario Girl Guides

These overnight camps offer many activities including sports from sailing to cycling and arts activities including music and dance, much more. [more info]

  • Ages 0 to 100
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Camp Awakening

Kilcoo Camp (boys);Camp Oconto (girls); Geneva Park (leadership), Minden;Tichborne; Orillia, Ontario, K0M 2K0

Throughout Ontario  •  Tichborne  •  Minden
Camp Awakening

Integrated summer camps, leadership & outdoor recreation programs for youth with physical disabilities. Programs across the province for campers 9-24 years. [more info]

  • Ages 9 to 24
  • Overnight Camp
  • Special Needs

Camp Mère Clarac

959 Principale, St-Donat, Quebec,

Saint-Donat-de-Montcalm
Camp Mère Clarac

Located on the banks of Rivière Ouareau, we have a magnificent site of 115 acres of land with unique and safe facilities, making it one of the most beautiful camp sites in Quebec. [more info]

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Camp Claret Du Lac Elgin

260, ch. Claret, Stratford, Quebec, G0Y 1P0

Sherbrooke
Camp Claret Du Lac Elgin

A residential outdoor camp with a variety of activities ranging from archery to swimming to sailing, canoeing and other sports, etc. [more info]

  • Ages 7 to 15
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Camp Mariste

8082 Chemin du Lac Morgan, Rawdon, Quebec, j0k 1s0

Rawdon
Camp Mariste

Quebec summer camp with specialized programs in cinema and horseback riding. Activities include numerous other sports. [more info]

  • Ages 5 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

YMCA Summer Day Camps

42 Charles Street East, Toronto, Ontario,

Throughout Ontario
YMCA Summer Day Camps

YMCA Summer Day Camps are hosted across the GTA, including Durham, Peel-Halton and York regions. Sports, leadership and arts activities. [more info]

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Day Camp
  • Traditional
  • Adventure

Sans Souci Riding Centre INC.

1183 Grand Rang Sainte-Clotilde, Ste. Clotilde, Quebec, J0L 1W0

Ste. Clotilde
Sans Souci Riding Centre INC.

A bilingual Quebec summer camp with a focus on horseback riding and equestrian instruction. Other activities include sports like soccer and more. [more info]

  • Ages 8 to 17
  • Overnight Camp
  • Sports

Sunnybrook Stables Riding Camp

1132 Leslie Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3C 3L7

Toronto
Sunnybrook Stables Riding Camp

This horseback riding camp offers summer camp and March Break programs where campers get twice daily riding lessons and testing. [more info]

  • Ages 9 to 15
  • Day Camp
  • Sports

The Hollows Camp

3155 13th Line, Bradford, Ontario, L3Z 2A5

Bradford  •  Bradford
The Hollows Camp

A traditional overnight camp one hour north of Toronto. While essentially a horseback riding camp, there are many other sports activities. [more info]

  • Ages 7 to 15
  • Day & Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Saddlewood Riding Camp

749 Bethany Hills Road, Bethany, Ontario,

Peterborough Area
Saddlewood Riding Camp

A sports camp for girls, located in Eastern Ontario. The focus is on horse camp but other activities include swimming, tennis, arts and crafts, etc. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Sports

Pickering Horse Centre

3800 Paddock Road, Claremont, Ontario, L1Y 1A2

Pickering
Pickering Horse Centre

A horseback riding camp offering full day and half-day equestrian programs ideal for girls or boys from Ajax, Oshawa, Pickering and elsewhere throughout the GTA. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 15
  • Day Camp
  • Sports

Mansfield Outdoor Centre

937365 Airport Road Unit 1, Mulmur, Ontario,

Mansfield
Mansfield Outdoor Centre

A day and overnight adventure camp nestled in the Niagara Escarpment. Offers biking, horseback riding and hiking to kids aged 4 to 16. [more info]

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Day & Overnight Camp
  • Adventure

Camp Frenda

1231 Morinus Rd., Port Carling, Ontario, P0B 1J0

Port Carling
Camp Frenda

Summer camp in the heart of the Muskokas. Outdoor activities include horseback riding, rock climbing, water skiing and many others. [more info]

  • Ages 8 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Zodiac Day Camp

501 Arlington Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4N 1T7

Toronto
Zodiac Day Camp

Conveniently located for many GTA parents, this traditional kids day camp offers arts and sports activities, swimming and more. [more info]

  • Ages 2.5 to 15
  • Day Camp
  • Traditional

Camp Kodiak

200 Kodiak Road, McKellar, Ontario, P0G 1C0

Parry Sound
Camp Kodiak

Integrated residential summer camp for children & teens with and without ADHD, LD, NLD and AS. Social skills program, academic program and 50+ activities. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 18
  • Overnight Camp
  • Special Needs

Havencrest Riding Academy

4272 Watson Road South, Puslinch, Ontario,

Halton Hills
Havencrest Riding Academy

Havencrest Riding Academy offers summer and March break day camps to horse enthusiasts between 7 and 14 years of age. [more info]

  • Ages 7 to 14
  • Day Camp
  • Sports

Rutherford Private School Super Summer Camp

37 Jacob Keffer Prkwy, Concord, Ontario, L4K5N8

Vaughan
Rutherford Private School Super Summer Camp

An exceptional summer camp in Vaughan offering 50+ unique activites on a huge campus with guyms, activity rooms, parks and lakes. [more info]

  • Ages 3 to 14
  • Day Camp
  • Traditional

Camp Oconto

Camp Oconto Road, Tichborne, Ontario, K0H 2V0

Sharbot Lake
Camp Oconto

This traditonal camp for girls, in Eastern Ontario, offers numerous sports activities like tennis and swimming as well as theatre arts and more. [more info]

  • Ages 7 to 15
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Cedar Ridge Camp

RR # 1, McArthurs Mills, Ontario, K0L 2M0

Bancroft
Cedar Ridge Camp

A traditional summer camp with day and residential programs, offering activities ranging from sports such as sailing to arts & crafts and more. [more info]

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Overnight Camp
  • Traditional

Camp Robin Hood

10243 Reesor Road, Markham, Ontario, L6B 1A8

Markham
Camp Robin Hood

This summer camp in the Toronto suburb of Markham offers various arts and sports activities including archery, soccer and much more. [more info]

  • Ages 4 to 15
  • Day Camp
  • Traditional
 

Horse Camps

Saddle up for fun!

If you have a horse crazy kid who is eager to go to a horseback riding camp this summer, there are a few things you should know to ensure your child has a safe, enjoyable experience.

As any horseperson will attest, there are physical, mental and emotional benefits that come with riding. Did you know that riding for one hour burns a similar number of calories as a 30-minute jog at a pace of six mph or cycling at nine mph?

Not only is riding good exercise, it also makes you think. Controlling a large animal that relies on you to make decisions improves judgment, critical thinking skills and concentration. It also just feels good to get on a horse and ride!

The emotional benefits can be just as important as the physical and mental benefits. Riding can reduce anxiety or stress, boost self-confidence and generally increase the feeling of well-being. Plus, building a relationship and trust with a horse or pony is a reward in its own right and can translate into better relationships outside the barn.

If riding sounds right for your child, the next step is finding a suitable camp or program.

What to look for in equestrian programs and camps

When searching for the perfect riding camp, it’s always advisable to visit the camp. Does the facility and riding program look professional, and well managed?

Facilities at riding camps don’t need to be fancy, however, they do need to be safe and in good working order. The area where the horses are being handled before and after lessons should be clear of hoses, buckets and other trip hazards. The riding arena should be enclosed by a fence or wall, and gates should be closed during the lesson.

In addition to being kept clean and in good repair, the camp also needs to match your child’s goals and skill level. Talk to the manager or operator about the program they offer. Are the activities suitable for your child’s age and interests?

“Riding camps can be very different, so research what‘s available to find the best fit for your child,” says Pam Coburn, the administrator of the Ontario Equestrian Federation’s Horse Facilities Program. “Some specialize in working with first-time riders while others have programs to help more experienced riders build their skills.”

And don’t forget to ask questions about your child’s accommodations and the overall camp structure and policies!

“Accommodations and the overall camp structure and policies will vary widely from camp to camp,” says Coburn. “Ask questions to make sure you’re comfortable with the meals, supervision, camp activities, emergency protocols and sleeping arrangements if it’s an overnight camp.”

Partnering with the right pony

The Ontario Equestrian Federation - photo by Natalie Banaszak
Photo by Natalie Banaszak

Healthy horses are usually happy horses. Good lesson horses are well fed, clean, with no untreated wounds and should be happy at their job.

A good riding camp will have a range of horses and ponies of different breeds and sizes to suit the needs and skills of its various campers. While every horse is an individual and has different abilities, a good camp horse for beginners has good manners and an even, forgiving temperament.

“We know parents wonder how they can decide if the camp horses are suitable. A quiet temperament is what you want to see,” says Coburn. “The horse should be calm around children and not be bothered by a bit of noise and activity.”

She adds, “Another question that often comes up is whether ponies are more suitable for children than larger horses. My advice is that the temperament of the animal is always more important than its size.”

Who will be teaching your child?

The Ontario Equestrian Federation highly recommends working with certified coaches and instructors, although this may be more difficult to find in a camp setting.

“It’s essential that you carry out the usual due diligence that you would for anyone working with your child,” says Coburn. “Try to watch them teach and ask them about their experience. It’s also a good idea to get references.”

Riders should also be supervised by a qualified person while handling the horses before and after their lesson.

We recommend that group lessons not exceed eight riders, although it may be smaller if the riders are very young or inexperienced. In some cases, two instructors will assist larger groups.

If campers are trail riding, trails should be well marked, clear of obstructions and accessible in the event of an emergency. Campers should always be accompanied by an instructor or experienced horseperson.

Dress for safety!

If your child is trying riding for the first time, you may not want to invest a lot of money into purchasing a full riding wardrobe. However, there are a couple of must-have items to keep your young horse enthusiasts safe and comfortable:

  • The most important item is an ASTM certified riding helmet.
  • Riders also need footwear with a half-inch to one-inch heel to ensure their foot doesn’t slip through the stirrup.

Not only is wearing proper head protection and footwear a good idea, it’s also the law for riders under the age of 18, according to Bill 12, the Horse Riding Safety Act-2001.

A reputable tack shop will carry certified helmets and will help you ensure the helmet fits your child properly. Helmets designed for other sports (ex: bike or ski helmets) are not designed to protect against the type of potential injuries that can occur when riding, and should not be substituted.

“Some facilities will have helmets on hand for you to use or rent and those are fine as long as they fit your child,” says Coburn. “The instructor should ensure a proper fit if they are providing helmets. “

The camp may also have rules for riding apparel. If there are no rules and buying riding pants isn’t in the budget, a pair of fitted jeans, preferably with no inseam that can cause rubs or bruising. During the hot summer months it can be tempting to ride in shorts, but they won’t protect the rider’s legs. Running shoes or sandals should never be worn.

“What we hope for all kids who go to riding camp is that they have an amazing time, make lots of new friends, find their love of horses and come home safe and sound with great memories and excitement to go back the next year,” concludes Coburn.

This article was provided by the Ontario Equestrian Federation, the provincial sport organization for equestrian activities in Ontario. The OEF advocates safe riding practices for all riders and riding facilities. Visit www.horse.on.ca to learn more.

 

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