If you love horses, adventure, and fun, Camp Horizons Equestrian Camp is the perfect place for you. At our summer pony camp for kids, you’ll learn about these majestic animals and gain incredible skills as you create lasting friendships with both humans and horses alike.
There’s something magical about connecting with a beautiful horse and learning new things in the process. Horseback riding teaches kids confidence, self-discipline, and respect. While horse riding is part of the program at most summer camps, we offer a summer camp focused solely on horse riding at Camp Horizons. We are proud to offer an overnight horse camp experience like none other.
Equestrian Camp is an overnight horse summer camp in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a thrilling and unforgettable experience for anyone who loves horses. Offered as both a one- and two-week option, our youth horse camp focuses on all things related to horses, including English riding lessons, stable management, care and grooming of horses, methods of preparing for horse show, and even trail rides throughout camp!
Our summer horse riding camp for kids is for both beginners and advanced equestrians. All instruction is tailored to the skill level and specific needs of each camper. Beginners will learn steering, post-trotting, basic pole-work, and other fundamental skills. Those with more advanced knowledge will focus on seat and position in canter, jumping, and fine-tuning the skills they already possess.
Can’t wait until 2022 for equestrian camp?
Horizons Equestrian Center is offering a variety of horseback programming throughout the year. There is something for every rider regardless of age and experience level. We offer everything from trail rides and ring rides to private lessons. Please click “Additional Programs” for more information.Additional Programs Dates & Rates
Equestrian Campers participating in our horseback riding summer camp still experience everything camp has to offer when they’re not at the barn. Equestrian campers have the opportunity to enjoy other great camp activities such as swimming, the zip line, evening programs, campfires, arts and crafts, songs, skits, and more!
The Culminating Horse Shows
Equestrian Campers work towards an end-of-session horse show performance. This gives campers the opportunity to show what they have learned during their lessons.
Interview with the Director of Equestrian Camp
Jenny Nichols, our Equestrian Director, has been working with horses for 20 years and has been here at Horizons since 2012 and became Director in 2016!
1. How do you believe Equestrian helps kids?
I believe there are the physical advantages such as teaching balance, coordination, and stamina. It also teaches children a sense of grit and confidence that can help them be more aspirational, teach them about obstacles and also identify how to overcome those obstacles. Horseback riding teaches a different kind of team work which no other sport offers—working with their horse! This requires a certain kind of communication that helps kids become more compassionate as well.
2. Why did you choose to work with horses?
The education aspect was a huge draw for me. Horses possess a level of courage and eagerness to please that they pass on to every person they come in contact with. They also teach people the value of hard work and empathy.
3. What’s the best thing about working at a summer camp?
I love the kids who come back year after year and remember the name of every horse they rode. I also love to see the equestrian campers who memorize every fun fact about our horses; they go through the whole barn after the horse show to tell their parents about every single one. It’s always amazing to see the effect our horses and staff make on the kids.
4. What’s your favorite Equestrian Activity?
Man, I love me a good gallop across a wide open field. It’s so exhilarating! I also love the horse show we have at the end of each session of Equestrian Camp. It warms my heart to see happy kids and ponies, and proud parents.
5. Who is your favorite horse to ride?
I can’t pick a favorite! There are so many different amazing personalities and abilities in our herd here at camp. They all work so hard for me and are like my family. It would truly be like picking a favorite child!
True horseback riding is different than a pony ride or riding a trail. Camp Horizons is where many kids first discover the joy of riding. At our equine summer camp in Virginia, kids learn the basics of horsemanship, gain knowledge about horses, and build the confidence they need from the ground up.
One of the first lessons taught at our pony camp for children is how to respect horses. These amazing creatures inspire both awe and fear in young riders. However, through consistent practice and careful oversight from our staff, that fear quickly turns to a mutual feeling of love and respect. This allows campers to trust their horse and break through their comfort zones. Without even realizing it, our campers learn to trust themselves, communicate more effectively, and grow in confidence.
Lessons focus on approach, lead, and care for horses as well as having clear and correct communication with these animals. While horse camping in Virginia, kids will also learn these valuable skills:
- Horse behavior and senses
- Breeds, colors, and markings
- Basic management (types of feed, hay, supplements, watering)
- Stable management
- How to halter and lead
- Parts of the horse
- How to groom
- Parts of the tack and riding equipment
- How to tack your horse
- And many more topics!
We also do fun arts and crafts and play games to help reinforce knowledge and concepts. Equestrian campers participate in chores daily such as giving hay and filling water, as well as some stall cleaning.
Traditional Camp Activities
When you choose our Equestrian Summer Camp, kids do more than ride horses and take care of animals. Sleep-away horse camp includes all those fun-filled activities that contribute to an unforgettable summer. From making new friends to watery adventures, Equestrian Campers will get to enjoy many of the same experiences as our traditional camp groups, including:
- Large group games
- Swimming in the pool and lake
- Campfire and s’mores
- Talent Show
Benefits of Equestrian Summer Camp
There are many incredible advantages to horseback riding in a summer camp setting, including learning the skills needed for proper horsemanship. Here are just a few benefits your child will experience as they grow and change at Camp Horizons Equestrian Summer Camp:
- Physical fitness: Riding is a great form of exercise. From handling heavy equipment to working the core and other muscles, riding improves overall physical fitness, including coordination, balance, and joint mobility.
- Therapeutic relief: Horseback riding has long been recognized as one of the most therapeutic activities children can engage in. Horses have a gentle nature and strong intuition, making them great human companions. Our campers will love relating to our beautiful horses on an emotional level.
- Learning: Horse riding is not easy. As your child develops the skills needed to effectively ride and care for our horses, they’ll learn more than just horse care. Campers develop characteristics that extend well beyond Equestrian Camp, such as responsibility and leadership.
- Personal growth: Horse riding camp is an exciting journey of self-discovery. Through the level of commitment and time spent with the horses during the summer, campers discover that they are compassionate, caring, and confident individuals.
Learn More About Overnight Equestrian Summer Camp in Virginia
If you live in Virginia and are looking for equestrian camps near you, choose Camp Horizons. For over 40 years, we have helped campers learn to ride, connect with horses, and gain deeper insight into the people they’re becoming. Our summer riding camp can accommodate every level of rider, whether it’s your child’s first time in the saddle or they have advanced knowledge. We can’t wait to introduce new campers to the joys of horseback riding and provide them with experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
If you would like to learn more about our fun and affordable horse camp in the gorgeous foothills of Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, give us a call at 540-896-7600 or contact us online.