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Twelve Tips For Choosing A Horse Camp

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12 Tips On How To Choose A Horsemanship Camp

1. Does the camp maintain all or most of its horses the year around, or does it lease horses just for the summer camp program?
A facility that keeps its own horses has a deeper commitment to those animals. With a stronger commitment to the horses, it follows the camp will have a greater commitment to teaching the campers horsemanship skills. Camps and trail ride facilities that keep horses only for the summer season often do not give the animals the same level of care as a facility or horse farm that keeps a permanent string of horses.

2. Does the camp have a full-time trainer to work with the horses?
Horses, especially performance horses, require maintenance training. A full-time trainer, or staff members who are experienced trainers, will be able to keep the animals in shape to give campers the best learning and riding experiences. These horses will also be much safer than even well-trained horses that are not worked regularly before campers arrive.

3. What are the qualifications of the camp staff to teach riding and horsemanship skills?
You need the assurance that the camp staff is qualified to provide quality instruction about horsemanship. Most of the camps use college students or recent college graduates as counselors. These counselors are usually members of college equestrian teams or are preparing themselves for careers in the equestrian industry. Further, the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) or similar body should certify each of these counselors as instructors.

4. Will the camp allow you and your child to visit beforehand?
Many horsemanship camps will allow prospective students and their parents to visit before committing to enrollment in the camp. This trip may include a tour of the entire facility, the opportunity to stay in a guest cottage, and a pleasure ride. Visitors will see the stables and ring areas to view the condition of the facility and the animals kept.

5. What is the campís safety record?
Safety is an utmost concern for most camps. Horses are big animals. No matter how well-trained an animal may be there is always a degree of risk associated with riding and showing horses. Is the camp doing everything possible to minimize this risk? Is the camp prepared to deal with emergency situations? Ask about the campís safety record in recent years.

6. What riding attire does the camp require?
This is related also to the safety issue in the previous question. A camp should require that each camper bring both an approved riding helmet and also riding boots. Both are designed to minimize the possibility of serious injury in the event of the rare mishap. Is other riding clothing required or recommended?

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