Horseback riding camps

Find camps that specialize in horseback riding listed below

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 horse lover 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? Read more


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List of horseback riding camps and programs



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Camps and programs below offer dedicated training in horseback riding, including specialized equestrian training, likely on a daily basis. Many are staffed by professional equestrians. Consult camps to learn more about what they offer.
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

Our beautiful location, fun & safe environment, excellent programs, and experienced staff are just a few reasons to choose Circle Square Ranch. We are committed to providing an outstanding summer camp experience.

  • Ages 5 to 16
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $220/week
Day, Overnight Coed, Girls, Boys2205-160Brantford, Ontario

Teen Ranch  

Caledon

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

Just an hour from the GTA, a traditional, Christian summer camp & year round retreat facility, specializing in developing youth through horse, hockey, adventure, bmx, soccer, figure skate, volleyball, WHAM & day camps.

  • Ages 5 to 18
  • Coed
  • from $320/week
Day, Overnight Coed3205-181Caledon, Ontario
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

Adventure Begins at Summer camp! Day and overnight programs and many activities including horseback riding,ESL, paintball, archery, whitewater rafting and more. Offering Awesome memories to campers from Ottawa to China.

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $680/week
Day, Overnight Coed6804-162Ottawa, Ontario, Eganville, Ontario

InterVarsity Circle Square Ranch Big Clear Lake  

Hamilton; Huntsville; Land O' Lakes Tourist Region

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight, family

Circle Square Ranch is a life changing Christian summer camp for kids and teens ages 6-17. We offer a wide range of activities including horseback riding, water sports and ropes. Your summer adventure starts here!

  • Ages 6 to 17
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $399/week
Overnight, family Coed, Girls, Boys3996-173Hamilton, , Huntsville, Ontario, Land O' Lakes Tourist Region, Ontario

Fire Fly Stables  

Hamilton

  • Sport: Horseback Riding/Equestrian
  • Day, Overnight, Program, family

Learn to ride English on well trained horses. Daily riding lessons, theory & practical in the barn, arts/crafts, team building and of course a few camp traditions. Year round lessons with all weather riding facilities.

  • Ages 6 to 18
  • Coed, Girls
  • from $350/week
Day, Overnight, Program, family Coed, Girls3506-184Hamilton, Ontario

Ranch Massawippi  

Roxton Pond

  • Sport: Horseback Riding/Equestrian
  • Day, Overnight

A very unique camp since we are specialized as a horseback riding camp and we offer a variety of outdoor activities at the same time. Our 40 ponies and school horses makes us since 55 years a well renown camp in Quebec

  • Ages 7 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $855/week
Day, Overnight Coed8557-165Roxton Pond, Quebec

Camp Crossroads  

Gravenhurst

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight, family

A traditional camp experience in a fresh and dynamic way. Our core Christian teaching, creative staff, excellent food and exciting recreational programs inspire kids and keep them coming back year after year.

  • Ages 8 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $570/week
Day, Overnight, family Coed5708-176Gravenhurst, Ontario
  • Sport: Horseback Riding/Equestrian
  • Day, Program

A fun horseback riding camp in a beautiful state of the art riding facility. Other games, sports, crafts, swimming and activities galore after spending hours in the saddle.

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $375/week
Day, Program Coed3756-167Pickering, Ontario
  • Sport: Horseback Riding/Equestrian
  • Overnight

Since 1969 we have been welcoming horse lovers to our picturesque 250 acre farm. . Beginner to advanced riders welcome. We carefully select a horse or pony suitable to each girl's level. Come feel the Kemur magic!

  • Ages 6 to 14
  • Girls
  • from $1,200/week
Overnight Girls12006-148Cambridge, Ontario

Glen Bernard Camp  

Huntsville

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

A traditional overnight summer camp for girls offering wilderness adventure, horseback riding, sailing, swimming and lifesaving, arts and many other activities!

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Girls
  • from $1,200/week
Overnight Girls12004-169Huntsville, Ontario

Wildhorse Camp  

Rocky Mountain House

  • Sport: Horseback Riding/Equestrian
  • Overnight

Camps for girls who LOVE horses! Our natural horsemanship programs are about learning leadership and life skills - through heart to heart horsemanship! Horse Focused and FUN!

  • Ages 11 to 17
  • Girls
  • from $850/week
Overnight Girls85011-1710Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

InterVarsity Pioneer Camp Alberta  

Rocky Mountain House; Sundre

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight, family

Pioneer Camp Alberta is a Christian summer camp with two beautiful locations in Sundre & Rocky Mountain House, AB. Get ready for exploration, adventure,creation, challenge, growth, skill development, and of course, fun!

  • Ages 5 to 19
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $299/week
Day, Overnight, family Coed, Girls, Boys2995-1911Rocky Mountain House, AB, Sundre, Alberta
  • Sport: Horseback Riding/Equestrian
  • Day, Program, family

The Ajax Riding Academy offers camps for Christmas, March Break, and Summer. In each camp, camper's riding ability will be assessed and then riding groups of five or less and of similar age group and level are formed.

  • Ages 6 to 100
  • Coed
  • from $200/week
Day, Program, family Coed2006-10012Ajax, Ontario

Saddlewood Riding Camp  

Peterborough Area

  • Sport: Horseback Riding/Equestrian
  • Overnight

A horseback riding camp for girls, located northeast of Toronto. Each camper has their own horse to ride in two lessons per day (English), daily horse care and stable management instruction.

  • Ages 7 to 16
  • Girls
  • from $2,200/2 weeks
Overnight Girls22007-1613Peterborough Area, Ontario

Camp Cherith - Ontario  

Southern Bruce County

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

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.

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $489/week
Overnight Coed4896-1614Southern Bruce County, Ontario

Sans Souci Riding Centre INC.  

Ste. Clotilde

  • Sport: Horseback Riding/Equestrian
  • Overnight

A specialized co-ed summer camp for children who are passionate about horses and the sport of English riding. Located in Québec, offering a bilingual experience. Awarded the CCA Award of Excellence in 2014.

  • Ages 8 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $1,020/week
Overnight Coed10208-1715Ste. Clotilde, Quebec

Creditview Farms Inc.  

Brampton

  • Sport: Horseback Riding/Equestrian
  • Day

HORSES! HORSES! HORSES! Spend your Summer Days riding, grooming and learning to take care of happy, friendly Horses and all only minutes from your backyard!

  • Ages 8 to 14
  • Coed
  • from $390/week
Day Coed3908-1416Brampton, Ontario
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight, family

A year-round group rental facility and traditional summer bible camp with good food, great people, and activities galore!

  • Ages 4 to 85
  • Coed
  • from $395/week
Overnight, family Coed3954-8517Water Valley, Alberta

Timberline Ranch  

Vancouver

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

Known for its delicious, home-style food, friendly staff, beautiful, convenient location, and exceptional programs, Timberline is open all year for camps, retreats, youth groups, banquets, and conferences.

  • Ages 7 to 16
  • Coed, Girls
  • from $329/week
Day, Overnight Coed, Girls3297-1618Vancouver, British Columbia

Earthbound Kids  

Whitchurch - Stouffville; Newmarket

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

An unforgettable outdoor day camp that includes: Athletics, Swimming, Horseback Riding, Animal Care, BMXing, Zip Lines, Gardening, Cooking, Drama, Crafts, Leadership for young teens and more!

  • Ages 4 to 14
  • Coed, Girls
  • from $355/week
Day, Overnight Coed, Girls3554-1419Whitchurch - Stouffville, Ontario, Newmarket, Ontario

Whitchurch Riding Academy  

Newmarket; Bridle Path, Toronto; Markham

  • Sport: Horseback Riding/Equestrian
  • Day, Program

Specializing in English horseback riding for beginners to advanced, our camp promotes a positive, hands-on learning experience. Daily busing from Toronto & York Region (5 stops). Email for tour, or visit our Open House!

  • Ages 7 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $359/week
Day, Program Coed3597-1520Newmarket, Ontario, Bridle Path, Toronto, Ontario, Markham, Ontario

YMCA Cedar Glen  

King

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day

Give your child an experience they will never forget! YMCA Cedar Glen is an outdoor day camp just north of Toronto in King Township. Located on 263 acres, all programs are supervised by highly trained YMCA staff.

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $205/session
Day Coed2054-1621King, Ontario
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Camps and programs below will offer horseback riding among other camp activities.

Camp Mini-Yo-We  

Huntsville

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

Camp Mini-Yo-We is a traditional, Christian overnight camp offering amazing activities, innovative programs, dedicated staff and a safe place for campers to stretch and grow.

  • Ages 5 to 17
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $720/week
Day, Overnight Coed, Girls, Boys7205-170Huntsville, Ontario

Camp Muskoka  

Bracebridge

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

Boost your camper's self-confidence in a fun, safe & supportive community. Great staff, delicious food, comfy modern lodging and a variety of over 50 activities to choose from!

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $1,095/week
Overnight Coed10956-161Bracebridge, Ontario

Onondaga Camp  

Minden

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

For more than 100 years Onondaga Camp has provided an inclusive environment where young people can play, explore, achieve and grow. Offering over 30 different activities, there is something for everyone!

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $1,500/week
Overnight Coed15006-162Minden, Ontario
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

Circle Square Ranch is a children's summer camp providing adventure filled camp experiences. One of nine Inter-Varsity Camps across Canada, our programs include horsemanship, climbing, biking, swimming and so much more!

  • Ages 6 to 17
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $410/week
Overnight Coed, Girls, Boys4106-173Halkirk, Alberta

YMCA Summer Day Camps  

St James Town, Toronto; Oshawa; Roncesvalles Village, Toronto; Toronto Islands, Toronto; Pickering

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day

YMCA of Greater Toronto operates 55 Day Camps across the GTA. With over 60 programs, we are sure to have a program that meets the interests of your child! Busing & extended hours are available at many of our locations!

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $245/week
Day Coed2454-164St James Town, Toronto, Ontario, Oshawa, Ontario, Roncesvalles Village, Toronto, Ontario, Toronto Islands, Toronto, Ontario, Pickering, Ontario

Camp Can-Aqua  

Haliburton Highlands; Oakville; Ottawa

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight, family

A traditional camp with diverse programming & exceptional instruction, we believe in teaching kids compromise, patients & empathy. Fun is a given. Through thoughtful & individualized programming, our campers thrive here.

  • Ages 5 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $1,950/2 weeks
Overnight, family Coed19505-175Haliburton Highlands, Ontario, Oakville, Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario

Adventure Valley  

Throughout Greater Toronto Area

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day

Summer day camp for Toronto kids yearning for outdoor adventure. Sports activities include soccer, tennis, swimming and a variety of other outdoor activities.

  • Ages 4 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $350/week
Day Coed3504-156Throughout Greater Toronto Area, Ontario

Rocky Ridge Ranch  

Milton

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

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 47 years.

  • Ages 5 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $635/week
Day, Overnight Coed6355-177Milton, Ontario
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

An international summer camp offering quality language and sports camps for children aged 4 to 17. Come and discover a multitude of sports and activities for an unforgettable summer stay.

  • Ages 4 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $439/week
Day, Overnight Coed4394-178Val-Morin, Quebec
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

Give your child a fun-filled learning adventure at any of NCC's Summer Camps. Or get a head start on your studies during our August Credit Program!

  • Ages 11 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $3,550/session
Day, Overnight Coed355011-179Fort Erie, Ontario
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

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

  • Ages 11 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $4,300/month
Overnight Coed430011-1610Sherbrooke, Quebec

Lovell International Camps   

International

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

Canadian run camp in the Swiss Alps. Offering a host of sports and activities including: Language, Skiing, Tennis, Golf, Horse Riding, Hiking, Mountain Biking, River Rafting, Cultural Excursions & Overnight Expeditions.

  • Ages 6 to 18
  • Coed
  • from $3,800/3 weeks
Day, Overnight Coed38006-1811International, ---------------, International,

Camp Mère Clarac  

Saint-Donat

  • Education: FSL
  • Day, Overnight

Located on the banks of Rivière Ouareau, we have a magnificent 115 acres of land (making it one of the most beautiful campsites in Quebec) with unique and safe facilities, and 25 activities conducted in French!

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $444/session
Day, Overnight Coed4444-1612Saint-Donat, Quebec
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

Summer camp offering a program of outdoor activities such as archery, hiking, rock climbing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, rabaska, camp fires, camping, counselor training etc.

  • Ages 9 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $735/week
Overnight Coed7359-1613Mont-Tremblant, Quebec

Camp Kennebec  

Sharbot Lake

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

An amazing summer camp experience for campers with special needs. All the fun of camp, with supportive and experienced staff to give your camper the summer of their life! The focus is on fun first!

  • Ages 6 to 25
  • Coed
  • from $1,500/week
Overnight Coed15006-2514Sharbot Lake, Ontario
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

A faith-based, western themed overnight summer camp which encourages young lives to grow spiritually, mentally, socially, and physically in an exciting, fun filled prairie adventure. Register on-line today!!

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $300/week
Overnight Coed, Girls, Boys3006-1615Wolseley, Saskatchewan

The Taylor Statten Camps  

Algonquin Park

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

Camp Ahmek and Camp Wapomeo offer a balance of canoe tripping and programming. Activities include swimming, canoeing, arts & crafts, horseback riding, sailing and more. Canoe trips range in length from 2 to 50 days.

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Girls, Boys
  • from $895/session
Overnight Girls, Boys8956-1616Algonquin Park, Ontario

Wilvaken  

Magog

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

Bilingual (Fr/En), traditional summer camp offering water and land sports, such as sailing, water-skiing, archery, horseback riding, and hiking/canoeing out trips. Spend the summer with campers from around the world!

  • Ages 6 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $2,260/2 weeks
Overnight Coed22606-1517Magog, Quebec

Camp Oconto  

Sharbot Lake

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

Founded in 1924, Oconto is a traditional girls overnight camp located on the beautiful shores of Eagle Lake north of Kingston, Ontario. Over 20 activities are offered on 80 acres of land and 2km of shoreline.

  • Ages 7 to 15
  • Girls
  • from $1,250/week
Overnight Girls12507-1518Sharbot Lake, Ontario
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

Supportive & therapeutic environment for struggling students. Assessment, educational support, life skills and outdoor activities. Earn school credit, acquire skills & stay safe!

  • Ages 11 to 18
  • Girls, Boys
  • Cost Varies
Overnight Girls, Boys011-1819Kelowna, British Columbia, Barrie, Ontario, Red Deer,

Camp Bil-O-Wood  

Blind River

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

A traditional, outdoor, athletic, & life skills camp for kids 7 - 17. Exceptional camping & canoeing. Over 30 sports & activities for kids from Canada, US, & Europe; family operated for 74 yrs. An awesome experience!

  • Ages 7 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $850/week
Overnight Coed8507-1720Blind River, Ontario

YMCA of Simcoe Muskoka   

Orillia; Midland

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight, family

A variety of values based camp programs offered through our day, family, leadership and overnight camps throughout the Simcoe Muskoka region

  • Ages 6 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $175/week
Day, Overnight, family Coed1756-1721Orillia, Ontario, Midland,

Bayview Glen Camp  

Don Mills, Toronto; York Mills, Toronto

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day

Located centrally in Toronto, this summer camp offers air conditioned buildings, robotics, sports and arts camps, heated swimming pools and more.

  • Ages 4 to 14
  • Coed
  • from $500/week
Day Coed5004-1422Don Mills, Toronto, Ontario, York Mills, Toronto, Ontario

Camp North Star  

Maine

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

A co-ed overnight camp on 200 acres in Poland, Maine. Campers enjoy an elective program with 100+ choices that focuses on instruction and skill development in Arts, Athletics, Enrichment, Outdoors and Waterfront.

  • Ages 7 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $3,100/session
Overnight Coed31007-1723Maine, Maine

Camp Frenda  

Port Carling

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight, family

Summer camp in the heart of Muskoka. Activities include horseback riding, rock climbing, water skiing, rocketry, archery, and many others.

  • Ages 8 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $540/week
Overnight, family Coed5408-1624Port Carling, Ontario
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

Summer Camps for local and foreign students. Wide variety of camps offered such as Language, STEM, Cultural, Hockey Specific and much more!

  • Ages 11 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $700/session
Day, Overnight Coed70011-1725Stanstead, Quebec

Academic Camp Canada  

Mill Bay; International; Saint John

  • Education (multi)
  • Day, Overnight

A challenging academic Summer camp with 30 hours of learning per week, including 14 different subjects of sciences, maths and even robotics, with exciting activities and trips on a spectacular Canadian campus'!

  • Ages 12 to 18
  • Coed
  • from $6,000/3 weeks
Day, Overnight Coed600012-1826Mill Bay, British Columbia, International, , Saint John, New Brunswick

Frontier Trails ESL Camp  

Eganville; Ottawa

  • ESL
  • Day, Overnight

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.

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $680/week
Day, Overnight Coed6806-1627Eganville, Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario

The Hollows Camp  

Bradford

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

A traditional overnight and day camp located 1 hour north of Toronto. Activities include: canoeing & kayaking, archery, paintball, tennis, trampoline/circus, horseback riding, bushcraft, drama, arts, and swimming.

  • Ages 7 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $400/week
Day, Overnight Coed4007-1528Bradford, Ontario

TV Casting Ranch  

Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts

  • Art : Visual arts (multi)
  • Overnight

A Hollywood style camp where teens step into the shoes of their dream industry job. Uniquely filled with many fun challenges in majestic surroundings where nature and luxury co-habit for the Ultimate Teen Challenge

  • Ages 9 to 19
  • Coed
  • from $495/session
Overnight Coed4959-1929Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec

1-UP Leadership Programs at Ernescliff College  

Quebec City; South Annex, Toronto; Bancroft

  • Reading: Leadership training
  • Overnight, Program

Leadership program and summer camps for boys 9-13 years-old, focused on character formation, service and friendship.

  • Ages 9 to 18
  • Boys
  • from $150/week
Overnight, Program Boys1509-1830Quebec City, , South Annex, Toronto, Ontario, Bancroft,

Kidz Kamp Inc.  

Mississauga; Halton Hills

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

A traditional outdoor day camp, with fun activities, friends, exciting field trips and outstanding memories! Now offering March Break, Summer & Winter Break Equestrian Camp at our new second location in Georgetown!

  • Ages 5 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $95/week
Day, Overnight Coed955-1631Mississauga, Ontario, Halton Hills, Ontario
  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight

Choose active and fun Neighbourhood day camps close to home, with themed weeks and out trips, OR a traditional outdoor day (or overnight) experience at Camp Otonabee with ropes, paddling, nature hikes, swimming and more

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $190/week
Day, Overnight Coed1904-1632Ottawa, Ontario

Cedar Ridge Camp  

Bancroft

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

Cedar Ridge Camp is a wonderful place where campers have the opportunity to get outside and active

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $900/week
Overnight Coed9006-1633Bancroft, Ontario

Camp Claret Du Lac Elgin  

Stratford

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

4 Unique Programs! Well thought-out for the needs of youngsters of all ages! A thrilling experience! Fun, Friends, Excitement... The most rewarding experience Adventure - Teamwork - Challenge

  • Ages 7 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $730/week
Overnight Coed7307-1534Stratford, Quebec

Radiant Girls  

Burlington; Hamilton; Milton

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Day, Overnight, Program, family

A unique Girls Wellness Camp in a retreat setting. Featuring Yoga and Pilates, Outdoor Excursions, Hands-On Cooking, Coaching for Confidence & Emotional Intelligence, Meaningful Expressive Art, Fun & lots of giggling.

  • Ages 7 to 15
  • Girls
  • from $300/week
Day, Overnight, Program, family Girls3007-1535Burlington, Ontario, Hamilton, Ontario, Milton, Ontario

Camp Kodiak  

Parry Sound

  • Traditional (multi activity)
  • Overnight

Fun! Friends! Success! An integrated overnight summer camp for children & teens with and without ADHD, LD, and high-functioning ASD. We provide a SOCIAL SKILLS program, ACADEMIC program and 50+ activities.

  • Ages 6 to 18
  • Coed
  • from $1,386/week
Overnight Coed13866-1836Parry Sound, Ontario

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.

Horseback riding camps

What to look for in equestrian programs and camps

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

Facilities at these horseback 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?

“Equestrian summer camps can be quite different from each other, 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 between different horseback riding summer camps,” 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.

Good horseback riding camps 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 at equestrian summer camps

If your child is going horseback 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. “

Each equestrian camp may also have its own 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.

Learn more about horse camps in Alberta.



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