Bad pony camp experience?
So I'm 16 years old, and during May I booked a week-long residential camp, to take place from the 12-16th August. For the following two months, I took an extra lesson each week and bought anything I might need for it. (As you can tell I was very excited about this!)
Now where I take my lessons is very relaxed, as it's a trekking/therapeutic centre- I took private lessons and hacks, it's a quiet and calm atmosphere. I'm a sensitive rider, and I benefit from positive reinforcement, which my instructor back home understands completely. After a fall six months ago, I'd even built up my confidence to re-learn how to canter in the last 4 or so hacks. I'd become extremely confident at this place, and could walk and trot with confidence and good balance. The pony camp owner had reassured me I would be put into a group with people of my ability, and since it was also a trekking centre, I figured it wouldn't be too intense.
So I arrived on the Sunday night, and everything was fine. There was about 7 other people from 10-16, including me, and 6 young children. The groups were separated by age at day 1. We groomed, tacked up and mounted our horses.
I was put on a pony with terrible sweet itch, who not only was constantly irritated by this, but would not listen to me at all, constantly stopping and not restarting, drifting into the arena centre or the likes. The other horses were also very fresh and excitable, and would stomp/kick out/lunge at the other horses. However, this was fine for the other members of my group, as many had been riding for years, (up to 10 years!) and were competent jumpers and could ride any horse at all gaits. I spent the first two lessons watching them jump and canter between my trots around the arena, although I must give credit to our instructor, she even led me over trotting poles and around the arena when my pony got stubborn.
Between rides, 4 of us older riders would have to help lead the children. I know this might sound snobby maybe, but in my opinion, spending an insane amount of money to take an hour out of your camp time do an instructor/volunteers job isn't something you expect to do.
On day 2, I was put in the children's group. We had a different instructor, who had constantly publicly announced every time I did something wrong when leading the day before(I helped a child unbridle their horse that day, and she rudely commented on it, as well as ask the other campers who were also leading to point out something she thought I did/which I didn't)
Anyway, she constantly shouted at me for doing things wrong, insulted and mocked us if we did something wrong, especially when I couldn't halt the new horse I rode for this lesson, and although I did quite like her, she would also "lock on" to a horse and follow them around the arena to try and kick or bite them.
Then lunch came. Our instructor (also yard owner) asked me to watch the children while she had a cup of tea. I don't like children very much, but I assumed it would only be 10-15 minutes, and they were quiet at this time, so I agreed, and our instructor said she'd find someone to watch them tomorrow (felt I couldn't really say no anyway).
Lunch lasted 30-60 minutes. During this time, the older group got annoyed with me for struggling to keep the children quiet during their cross-country schooling, and my first instructor's boyfriend, who works at the yard I'm sure, stopped by, asked how I was, saw how distressed I was, spoke to one child, and just wished me good luck and went back inside. I was alone for about 15 minutes at least before my instructor came back.
Then, our second ride went a bit better, despite my instructors constant comments. I switched to a different pony halfway through, who was a bit more lively, but I liked her. We did a few games, and she was being a bit unresponsive to my aids.
On the third(this) morning, I arranged with my mother to leave late-morning. I told the first instructor, she rang ahead with my current one. I got to ride one more time, with my instructor being extra nice and chirpy. We did posture work, no stirrups/hands etc., which went very well, but I knew it wouldn't work out if I stayed.
I said goodbye and left, on morning three instead of afternoon five, after paying full price.
I know it's kind of a long post, sorry! I wanted to get as much detail as possible. Basically just wondering if this was actually as bad as I think, and what you all think of it? I'm disappointed, but try to be thankful for the experience and insight it gave me for my short stay.