More Than S'mores

A blog from the Kennolyn campfire

Key benefits of Horseback Riding summer camp for kids

March 30, 2018 9:16 am

 

  • The frequency of lessons at summer camp allows for faster skill development.
  • The best camps can help your camper gain barn skills as well as develop their riding, experience sometimes unavailable at a weekly lesson.
  • Building a daily rapport with a counselor can help a child work through specific issues that have been hard for them to overcome.
  • All the other fun of camp life puts your child’s body and brain in optimum learning mode, ready to absorb new lessons more easily.

If you have a kid that loves to ride, you are most likely able to coordinate 1 or 2 lessons a week on a regular basis.  And you have watched how your child has developed skills over the weeks and months they have been working with a trainer or coach.  Attending one the best equestrian camps can help your child develop skills more rapidly given the quantity and frequency of the lessons.  And, the other aspects of camp life that make camp fun can further a child’s overall skill development.  The rhythm of camp life may also allow your child to absorb more of the learning opportunities offered.

It is undoubtedly true that weekly or even less frequent lessons will allow a child to develop skills and for considerations of time and/or money, this may be all that is possible. But it is important to remember that a child is learning all the time. They are sponges for information and with long periods between lessons, other things they have learned are competing for memory space. That’s why, with infrequent lessons, you may notice a child has forgotten some or most of what they learned last time. This can be termed learning overload. At summer camp with a focus on riding, campers ride more frequently, with less time to forget basic skills learned previously. At Kennolyn Camps in Santa Cruz, CA campers who sign up for the Equestrian specialty will have 2 mounted riding lessons each day as well as vaulting and horse care classes. This immersion into riding and barn life with allow for accelerated skill development.

When you are on a tight schedule and your local trainer is accommodating as many eager riders as possible, a riding lesson may be limited to exactly that; a 30-60 minute lesson on horseback. But your child needs to learn safety, horse care, barn etiquette and learn how much work it takes to feed and clean the stalls. That is one of the distinct advantages of a horseback riding overnight or day camp. They may spend a half or full day in and around the barn so there is so much more than just riding lessons. Some camps may also include a trip to an equestrian estate or a horse show. More exposure to the culture of the equestrian world beyond the skills needed for riding. Ask prospective camps for their daily or weekly schedule and make sure it has a sufficient amount of time to familiarize campers with life around a barn. After all, when you get the inevitable request for “a pony of my very own” you will have a good idea of whether they understand the hard work involved.

Counselors are a special breed of caregiver. Usually in or just out of college, kids feel a very close connection to their counselor right away. Plus equestrian counselors tend to be slightly older versions for the horse crazy kids they are now caring for. Add this this the fact that even very serious camp riding programs will normally be built on a foundation of fun, you have the makings of a great learning environment. Children can love their horse trainer. The trainer is the person that seems to hold the key of knowledge and can help the child achieve his or her equestrian goals. But how often will a child eat  meals with their trainer? Or share s’mores around a campfire? These non-horse related activities help build a strong relationship that pays off in the ring. The rapport between counselor and camper allows for a relaxed teaching environment. Taking away some of the stress of scary lessons can be the boost a camper needs to reach the next level.

Camp is fun! Let’s face it, even the most enthusiastic rider has weeks when they just don’t want to go to riding lessons. But the mix of camp life and horseback riding can put campers in such a relaxed frame of mind they are more open to learning.  Lessons during the school year have to compete with homework, chores at home, other sports and activities. What if all those barriers were removed?  Wouldn’t you learn better in more relaxed conditions with a focus on fun and learning? Of course you would and your kids will too. There is abundant research that suggests that over worked and over stressed kids learn poorly. Kennolyn Camps and other top equestrian camps make sure the learning environment is balanced with a wide variety of other life enhancing activities to ensure that campers look forward eagerly to every riding lesson.

Equestrian activities can bring a lifetime of joy and pleasure. But early learning is critical.  A Horseback Riding summer camp can be the boost your young rider needs to reach the next level and become a well rounded equestrian.

Feel free to contact Kennolyn Camps to ask about their resident and day camps and especially the equestrian specialty program offering in depth immersion in equestrian activities.


Kennolyn Camps

Kennolyn Camps