ideas for horse camps? young and older kids/teens
I am working at the horse camp that our barn has each year again. The past 2 years have had a bad turnout because, well, it has just become lame. We used to have 2 camps, one for young kids and one for older, but now we only have one because we get few people. I was wondering if anyone had ideas for either of these camps, riding or crafts. I'll give you the basic agenda- half the group rides for their shift while the others do a craft. Then we have lunch time and swimming. The crafts she has been doing are lame, so if you have any ideas for the non-horse time that would be great. Thanks!
I've worked horseback riding summer camps for several years.
Your best bet is to first get all the kids up and see what level they're at, then you can tailor the rest of their schedule and the things they'll be doing based on that. Check to see how well they ride walk and trot, as well as watch their transitions up, down, and to a halt. If they handle those well ask them to canter, and see how well they ride that. Don't forget steering as well. Set up cones and have them weave at different gaits (if they're skilled enough for faster than a walk). Will they be riding in western saddles or english saddles? You can put together games that involve obstacle courses, relay races (which include mounting and dismounting by themselves), etc. Pretty much any game you can do without a horse there's a way to play it on horseback. A fun one that the kids I worked with enjoyed was red light-green light, and whoever got to one side first had to bob for an apple in a bucket of water, mount back up (with said apple in mouth), and make it all the way back while still playing red light green light.
As for off the horses...I can't help as much. :/ Give them beads, get thread and teach them to weave bracelets (that's usually pretty popular).
I don't know if this still helps with summer being almost over (maybe next year) but at the camp I volunteer at there are still kids in the barn, doing horse related things like ground lessons, which includes learning parts of the horse, breeds, coloring etc. And for the younger kids pool noodle trail rides (we have a bunch of pool noodles cut and glued to look like they have heads and googley eyes and yarn glues on) for the older kids we do bareback, on a lead rope of course.
The kids camp that I took my dd to has 4 "stations". One group grooms, one learns about tack, one leads and one rides. It keeps the groups small & manageable & they switch off at regular intervals. They have a craft period that all groups participate in when too many kids start getting amped up & wild. It's geared for first time exposure, but many kids come back over & over again.
One good idea for arts and crafts that the kids at our camps loved was painting horseshoes. We have racehorses and we take some used shoes, clip the nails, soak them, scrub them all off, and then spraypait them gold. We have the kids paint (using the sqeezy paint) the shoes and add glitter.
You can also get some horse-safe glitter paint (you can get it from horse.com or other horse supply websites/places) or spray on glitter so they can 'decorate' the horses.
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