Horseback riding camps

Find camps that specialize in horseback riding listed below

For girls and boys who love horses, there’s no better way to indulge this passion than a horseback riding camp like those listed below. Underneath the list of top horse camps, there are many other camps that offer riding activities as part of other typical programming. Further down the page, we offer professional advice on finding camps in your area, what to look for, and how your daughter or son can get prepared. Read more




List of horseback riding camps and programs

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Programs specializing in Horseback Riding/Equestrian (3 results)

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.

  • Burlington, ON
  • Age 10 to 16 (Girls)
  • From $599

There is just nothing like the bond that develops between girls and horses. Read more

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  • Caledon, ON
  • Age 10 to 18+ (Coed)
  • From $55

Horseback riding through the beautiful Headwaters region in Caledon, Ontario. Read more

horsebackridingequestriansportssportshorsebackridingequestrianprogramclasscoed5510-19CaledonOntario2021-05-012021-06-012021-07-012021-08-012021-09-012021-10-012021-11-012021-12-012022-01-012022-02-012022-03-012022-04-01
  • Rocky Mountain House, AB
  • Age 11 to 18+ (Coed)
  • From $100

Horse Experiences let guests learn different ways to communicate with horses and nature. Trail rides to encourage friendships Read more

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Programs offering Horseback Riding/Equestrian as an activity (9 results)

Camps and programs below will offer horseback riding among other camp activities.

  • North-York, Toronto
  • Age 7 to 13 (Coed)
  • From $600

Campers will create their very own ROBLOX video game with the help of our Coding Specialists! Read more

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  • North-York, Toronto
  • Age 7 to 13 (Coed)
  • From $600

Bayview Glen offers both traditional day camp experiences and more specialized skill-building camp experiences! Read more

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  • North-York, Toronto
  • Age 7 to 13 (Coed)
  • From $600

Program and control your very own robot to accomplish a number of challenges with the help of our Robotics Specialist! Read more

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  • North-York, Toronto
  • Age 7 to 13 (Coed)
  • From $600

Our Basketball Camp provides campers ages 7-13 an opportunity to build their skills on a full-sized indoor basketball court! Read more

ropescoursewildernessskillsbakingdecoratingcookingmagicperformingartsmultimusicaltheatretheatreartsartscraftsvisualartsmulticomicartdrawingpaintingpapiermachephotographypotterywoodworkingroboticstechnologycitlitprogramleadershipmultileadershiptraininglegonatureenvironmentarcherybaseballsoftballballsportsmultibasketballgagagolflacrosserugbysoccertennisvolleyballcyclingmountainbikingextremesportsmultiskateboardingfootballgymnasticshikinghockeyhorsebackridingequestriankaratemartialartspingpongrockclimbingsportsinstructionalandtrainingtrampolineultimatefrisbeeswimmingwatersportsmultisportssportsbasketballballsportsmultidaycampcoed6007-132022-07-012022-08-01
DAY CAMP
FOCUS: Magic
Magic Camp
Jul 05 - Aug 19, 2022

  • North-York, Toronto
  • Age 7 to 13 (Coed)
  • From $600

In Magic Camp, campers will learn how to perform mind-boggling magic tricks that they can take home to their families! Read more

ropescoursewildernessskillsbakingdecoratingcookingmagicperformingartsmultimusicaltheatretheatreartsartscraftsvisualartsmulticomicartdrawingpaintingpapiermachephotographypotterywoodworkingroboticstechnologycitlitprogramleadershipmultileadershiptraininglegonatureenvironmentarcherybaseballsoftballballsportsmultibasketballgagagolflacrosserugbysoccertennisvolleyballcyclingmountainbikingextremesportsmultiskateboardingfootballgymnasticshikinghockeyhorsebackridingequestriankaratemartialartspingpongrockclimbingsportsinstructionalandtrainingtrampolineultimatefrisbeeswimmingwatersportsmultiartsartsmagicperformingartsmultidaycampcoed6007-132022-07-012022-08-01
  • North-York, Toronto
  • Age 7 to 13 (Coed)
  • From $600

Our Soccer Camp provides campers ages 7-13 an opportunity to build their soccer skills on a full-sized turf Soccer Field! Read more

ropescoursewildernessskillsbakingdecoratingcookingmagicperformingartsmultimusicaltheatretheatreartsartscraftsvisualartsmulticomicartdrawingpaintingpapiermachephotographypotterywoodworkingroboticstechnologycitlitprogramleadershipmultileadershiptraininglegonatureenvironmentarcherybaseballsoftballballsportsmultibasketballgagagolflacrosserugbysoccertennisvolleyballcyclingmountainbikingextremesportsmultiskateboardingfootballgymnasticshikinghockeyhorsebackridingequestriankaratemartialartspingpongrockclimbingsportsinstructionalandtrainingtrampolineultimatefrisbeeswimmingwatersportsmultisportssportssoccerballsportsmultidaycampcoed6007-132022-07-012022-08-01
  • Barrie; Red Deer
  • Age 13 to 18 (Coed)
  • From $1

A traditional camp where a variety of outdoor activities are re-introduced to our campers to promote a healthy lifestyle. Read more

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  • Barrie, ON
  • Age 11 to 18 (Coed)
  • From $1

A traditional camp where a variety of outdoor activities are re-introduced to our campers to promote a healthy lifestyle. Read more

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  • North-York, Toronto
  • Age 7 to 13 (Coed)
  • From $600

Visual Art Camp provides campers with the opportunity to create a unique work of art each week while building art skills! Read more

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Organizations with Horseback Riding/Equestrian programs (TBD)


FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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 50 years. Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $660
Class/league/program, Day Camp, Overnight Camp Coed4508-1712Traditional (multi activity) Rocky Ridge RanchThis 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 50 years. Class/league/program, Day Camp, Overnight Camp Coed
FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)

Boost your camper's self-confidence in a fun, safe & supportive community. Great staff, delicious food, comfy modern lodging and a choose your own adventure programming style offering with over 50 activities every day! Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $1,195
Overnight Camp openCamp Coed269514-1612Traditional (multi activity) Camp MuskokaBoost your camper's self-confidence in a fun, safe & supportive community. Great staff, delicious food, comfy modern lodging and a choose your own adventure programming style offering with over 50 activities every day! Overnight Camp Coed
FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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! Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 19
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $79
Overnight Camp Coed, Girls, Boys5499-1112Traditional (multi activity) InterVarsity Pioneer Camp AlbertaPioneer 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! Overnight Camp Coed, Girls, Boys
FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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. Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Girls, Boys
  • from $950
Overnight Camp Girls, Boys65957-1612Traditional (multi activity) The Taylor Statten CampsCamp 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. Overnight Camp Girls, Boys
FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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. Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $2,100
Overnight Camp openCamp Coed12856-1612Traditional (multi activity) Camp Can-AquaA 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. Overnight Camp Coed
FEATURED
  • Horseback Riding/Equestrian

HORSES! HORSES! HORSES! Spend your Summer Days riding, grooming and learning to take care of happy, friendly Horses and all only minutes from the City! Read more...

  • Ages 8 to 80
  • Coed
  • from $250
Class/league/program openCamp Coed2508-8012Sport: Horseback Riding/EquestrianCreditview Farms Inc.HORSES! HORSES! HORSES! Spend your Summer Days riding, grooming and learning to take care of happy, friendly Horses and all only minutes from the City! Class/league/program Coed
FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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 and water sports. Your summer adventure with friends starts here! Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 17
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $499
Overnight Camp openCamp Coed, Girls, Boys44910-1412Traditional (multi activity) InterVarsity Circle Square Ranch Big Clear LakeCircle 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 and water sports. Your summer adventure with friends starts here! Overnight Camp Coed, Girls, Boys
FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)

A premium summer and winter camp for boys and girls 4 to 17 years old offering more than 15 different programs in their summer overnight and day camp, and a skiing/snowboarding program in the March break camp. Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $240
Overnight Camp openCamp Coed129510-1712Traditional (multi activity) Camp EcolartA premium summer and winter camp for boys and girls 4 to 17 years old offering more than 15 different programs in their summer overnight and day camp, and a skiing/snowboarding program in the March break camp. Overnight Camp Coed
FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Girls
  • from $1,325
Overnight Camp openCamp Girls39808-1612Traditional (multi activity) Glen Bernard CampA traditional overnight summer camp for girls offering wilderness adventure, horseback riding, sailing, swimming and lifesaving, arts and many other activities! Overnight Camp Girls
FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)

Overnight and day camps, with activities including horsemanship, swimming, high ropes, climbing wall, archery, campfires, tomahawks, and much more. Leadership and horse specialty camps also offered. Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 16
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $240
Day Camp, Overnight Camp openCamp Coed, Girls, Boys2906-1012Traditional (multi activity) InterVarsity Circle Square Ranch Grand RiverOvernight and day camps, with activities including horsemanship, swimming, high ropes, climbing wall, archery, campfires, tomahawks, and much more. Leadership and horse specialty camps also offered. Day Camp, Overnight Camp Coed, Girls, Boys
FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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! Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $1,500
Overnight Camp openCamp Coed55006-1612Traditional (multi activity) Onondaga CampFor 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! Overnight Camp Coed
FEATURED
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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

  • Ages 6 to 17
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $496
Overnight Camp Coed, Girls, Boys4968-1012Traditional (multi activity) InterVarsity Circle Square Ranch HalkirkCircle Square Ranch is a children's summer camp providing adventure filled camp experiences. One of nine InterVarsity Camps across Canada, our programs include horsemanship, climbing, archery, swimming and so much more! Overnight Camp Coed, Girls, Boys
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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. Read more...

  • Ages 7 to 18
  • Coed, Girls
  • from $299
Day Camp openCamp Coed, Girls2999-1412Traditional (multi activity) Timberline RanchKnown 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. Day Camp Coed, Girls
  • Horseback Riding/Equestrian

Teaching English riding (beginner to advanced) for 40 years, we promote a positive, hands-on horsemanship experience. Email us for information regarding daily busing, camper ages, and tours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more...

  • Ages 9 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $539
Class/league/program, Day Camp openCamp Coed5399-1512Sport: Horseback Riding/EquestrianWhitchurch Riding AcademyTeaching English riding (beginner to advanced) for 40 years, we promote a positive, hands-on horsemanship experience. Email us for information regarding daily busing, camper ages, and tours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Class/league/program, Day Camp Coed
  • Traditional (multi activity)

Ponacka has been a "home away from home" for hundreds of boys since 1947. A traditional summer camp where boys gain confidence through independence, find lifelong friends and have so much fun - and it's tech free. Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 15
  • Boys
  • from $2,600
Overnight Camp openCamp Boys26007-1012Traditional (multi activity) Camp PonackaPonacka has been a "home away from home" for hundreds of boys since 1947. A traditional summer camp where boys gain confidence through independence, find lifelong friends and have so much fun - and it's tech free. Overnight Camp Boys
  • Traditional (multi activity)

A traditional day camp with superb camper-to-staff ratios, a variety of activities, outstanding spirit and well-trained staff! Daily swim instruction, a dedicated Sports Academy and optional bus transportation available. Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 15
  • Coed
  • from $1,295
Day Camp openCamp Coed12954-1312Traditional (multi activity) Camp Robin HoodA traditional day camp with superb camper-to-staff ratios, a variety of activities, outstanding spirit and well-trained staff! Daily swim instruction, a dedicated Sports Academy and optional bus transportation available. Day Camp Coed
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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 families to keep them coming back year after year. Read more...

  • Ages 1 to 85
  • Coed
  • from $630
Overnight Camp openCamp Coed65013-1512Traditional (multi activity) Camp CrossroadsA traditional camp experience in a fresh and dynamic way. Our core Christian teaching, creative staff, excellent food and exciting recreational programs inspire kids and families to keep them coming back year after year. Overnight Camp Coed
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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

  • Ages 6 to 18
  • Coed
  • from $1,527
Overnight Camp Coed52396-1812Traditional (multi activity) Camp KodiakFun! Friends! Success! An integrated overnight summer camp for children & teens with and without LD, ADHD, and high-functioning ASD. We provide a SOCIAL SKILLS program, ACADEMIC program and 50+ activities. Overnight Camp Coed
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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! Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 16
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $475
Class/league/program, Overnight Camp openCamp Coed, Girls, Boys4845-1612Traditional (multi activity) Camp Mère ClaracLocated 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! Class/league/program, Overnight Camp Coed, Girls, Boys
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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!! Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed, Girls, Boys
  • from $390
Overnight Camp openCamp Coed, Girls, Boys3751-1912Traditional (multi activity) InterVarsity Circle Square Ranch Wolf CreekA 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!! Overnight Camp Coed, Girls, Boys
  • Traditional (multi activity)

Cedar Ridge Camp is a wonderful place where campers have the opportunity to get outside and develop friendships. Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $900
Overnight Camp openCamp Coed270015-1712Traditional (multi activity) Cedar Ridge CampCedar Ridge Camp is a wonderful place where campers have the opportunity to get outside and develop friendships. Overnight Camp Coed
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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! Read more...

  • Ages 5 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $95
Day Camp openCamp Coed2005-1312Traditional (multi activity) Kidz Kamp Inc.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! Day Camp Coed
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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. Read more...

  • Ages 7 to 17
  • Coed
  • from $3,100
Overnight Camp openCamp Coed32757-1712Traditional (multi activity) Camp North StarA 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. Overnight Camp Coed
  • Horseback Riding/Equestrian

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. Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $425
Class/league/program, Day Camp openCamp Coed4256-1612Sport: Horseback Riding/EquestrianStonewood Equestrian Riding AcademyA 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. Class/league/program, Day Camp Coed
  • Horseback Riding/Equestrian

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. Read more...

  • Ages 7 to 16
  • Girls
  • from $1,250
Day Camp, Overnight Camp openCamp Girls6007-1712Sport: Horseback Riding/EquestrianSaddlewood Riding CampA 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. Day Camp, Overnight Camp Girls
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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 5-16 . Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $900
Overnight Camp openCamp Coed6996-1612Traditional (multi activity) Frontier Trails Camp & Outdoor Education CentreAdventure 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 5-16 . Overnight Camp Coed
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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. Read more...

  • Ages 4 to 16
  • Girls
  • from $1,280
Overnight Camp openCamp Girls20356-1512Traditional (multi activity) Camp OcontoFounded 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. Overnight Camp Girls
  • Traditional (multi activity)

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. Read more...

  • Ages 6 to 16
  • Coed
  • from $519
Overnight Camp openCamp Coed5196-1712Traditional (multi activity) Camp Cherith - OntarioThis Christian camp includes focuses on theatre arts, horseback riding, canoe tripping and more, situated in the heart of Grey-Bruce in south central Ontario. Overnight Camp Coed

A glance at the benefits of horseback riding camp

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.

Read more about the benefits of the camp experience for any child.

Horseback riding camps

Find a horse camp near you

Horseback riding camps are found across the country, really, with rural areas more amenable to this kind of camp than cities. For families on the go or who simply want ot look further afield, here are select lists of horse riding kids' camps by province:

Search all HORSE CAMPS   

 

 

Here are some select popular rural regions where you’ll find a broad selection of horseback riding camps to choose from.

Search ALL HORSE CAMPS   

 

Broad types of horse camps

Some kids do better away from parents and home than others. Although there are ways of alleviating homesickness, some will simply not enjoy camp too far from home. Below, find links to lists that separate major camp categories.

Overnight horse camps offer an ideal outlet for more independent girls and boys who want to fully engage their love of horseback riding adventure. For example,  camps in this category may offer out-trips to the local countryside and other unique experiences. Overnight or residential camps are one of the healthiest ways to encourage your teen's or older child's independence, maturity and self-reliance. 

Day camps are ideal for younger girls and boys who wish to remain closer to home, and meet other girls and boys from the area who also love horses. 

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 ensure safety at camp, that everything is 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.

You might also like these camps

We always encourage campers and families to explore further the wide world of camps and the learning opportunities presented. Here are links to pages about other types of camps that should be of interest to kids and teens who love horseback riding and outdoor living.

Adventure camp is perfect for active-minded kids and teens who crave outdoor fun. Kids take risks here (guarded risks, of course), in activities like rock climbing, zip-lining and other experiences that spark thrills.

All girls camp is an ideal experience for any young woman who loves camp. You owe it to yourself to try it. Girls only camps allow young women to be themselves in ways they may not experience in any other setting.

Sports camp combines a variety of athletic activities that introduce kids to fun activities they might not have tried before. The exceptional thing about this kind of camp is the variety of fun physical activity you can engage in, both indoor and outdoor.

Zoo camp is an ideal destination for animal lovers, featuring wildlife from around the world. This can be a critical experience for budding veterinarians and offers a unique educational experience to any camper who gets in (enrollment is sometimes limited due to their popularity).

Nature camp is similar, though unlikely to feature encounters with exotic wildlife. At one of these camps, kids increase their knowledge of local wildlife, learn about nature conservation, and improve their understanding of some pertinent issues like environmental degradation and climate change. 

Notes, sources and further reading

Some material above 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.

Guide for new riders, from OEF contains some material from above, plus much more information for novice riders. 



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