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10 Tips to Make the Most of Your Summer Camp Experience

Take advantage of all the great opportunities at horse camp, and you'll have an unforgettable summer!

If this is the first year that you’ll be going to riding camp, you’re probably feeling excited—and nervous! Staying away from home for the first time can be a bit scary, and you might feel a bit homesick the first day or two. But if you have a good attitude and really throw yourself into camp life and take advantage of all the fun riding activities, you’re bound to have a fab time this summer! What can be better than spending a week or two surrounded by horses and by people who love them as much as you do?

We’ve got 10 tips to help you make the most of your riding camp experience.

  1. Pick a camp that offers the kind of riding that you do at home. If you ride western, you might not want to go to an English riding camp—unless you’re in the mood to master a new skill.

  2. Take the correct riding clothes. You don’t want to get massive leg rubs after your first day in the saddle because you brought jeans, not breeches, to ride in. Leg rubs take a long time to heal! Bring gloves because you’ll probably be riding more than you do at home, and you don’t want to get blisters. And finally, bring your own helmet so you don’t have to share a smelly old camp helmet!

  3. Be honest about your riding experience so the trainer can put you in the correct class for your riding level. It’s more fun to ride with people who are learning at the same level as you. Don’t tell the trainer you’ve jumped four foot high when you’ve really only jumped two foot six!

  4. If you’re experienced around horses, offer to help the trainer with her lower level lessons. She might ask you to tack up a lesson horse or lead a new rider around the arena. You might even earn extra time in the saddle by helping out.

  5. Don’t get mad if you don’t get to ride the same horse in every lesson. You’ll become a better rider by riding lots of different horses.

  6. Listen to your trainer during a lesson. Don’t get caught yakking in a corner with a pony pal. You’re only at camp a short time, so you should learn all you can!

  7. If you fall in love with a camp horse, ask if you can spend extra time grooming him and taking care of him. Save your lunch apple to give it to your fave horse as a treat. Most lesson horses enjoy a bit of pampering.

  8. Take back issues of Young Rider with you to camp. Share them with your bunkmates so everyone has something horsey to read at night. You can decorate your cabin with the posters, too.

  9. If the camp has a library of horse books, check one out every few days and read it from cover to cover to you learn more about horse care and riding. Think up horsey quizzes and test the equine knowledge of your bunkmates each evening.

  10. Did you know that some camps let you take your favorite horse home for the winter? If you really like one of the camp horses, ask the trainer if he can be loaned out over the winter. Taking a camp horse loan is a great way to learn about horse ownership, and looking after him will be good practice for when you have a horse of your own. Just remember—the horse must go back to the camp in the spring, and it may be difficult to say goodbye to him.

 

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