As a parent, you must start to be thinking about what activities to put your children in for summer camp as this school year winds down. It has been a long winter and you want your children to venture outside now that the best time to be a New Yorker is upon us. One of the best things you can do for your child’s summer enjoyment is enrolling them in a summer horseback riding camp. After you have decided you want to enroll your child in a horseback riding camp, you need to figure out the best summer camps in the Hamptons. We wanted to give you a checklist of what to look for so your child has the best possible experience while attending a horseback riding summer camp that is COVID safe!!
It is important that you enroll your child in a camp that has been around the block, so to speak. A long-time established barn will have a better understanding of horses and ponies and what it takes to run a successful boarding barn and summer camp program. At Stony Hill Stables, we have been around running summer camps since 1970 and we pride ourselves in our ability to create a magical summer experience for our campers.
Experience Level Options:
One of the biggest issues we see when it comes to horseback riding summer camps is that the camps are split up into different experience groups and riders do not always get placed in their appropriate level. For instance, putting a beginner with more advanced riders can cause confidence or even safety issues for the beginner riders while putting a more experienced rider in a less experienced group will cause them to be bored. At Stony Hill, we have summer camp levels for each level of rider and our staff are perfectionists at figuring out which level to place your child.
· Dapples Pony Camp: Dapples is our beginner camp level and riders must be at least four years old to participate. Campers don’t need any prior riding experience, and our goal is for all riders to begin to learn to ride independently through practice, strengthening muscles, and proper technique.
· Snowman Camp: Snowman is our intermediate camp level. Riders should be independent at the walk and trot. Riders with strong enough skills at walk and trot can learn to canter.
· Secretariat Camp: Secretariat is designed for riders with more experience. Campers work toward mastering the canter and are introduced to jumping, along with more detailed horse care and management.
· Show Riders Advanced Clinic: This clinic is designed for riders who are skilled at jumping courses in Short Stirrup, Children’s, Division Hunter, Equitation, and Jumpers. These riders have reached a point where they need to gain in-depth knowledge about riding techniques, detailed horse care, mounted and unmounted training exercises for their horse or pony, and more.
Time of Day Options: Depending on your schedule, a lot of our parents need flexibility in the time of day when the horseback riding summer camps take place. At Stony Hill, we have our morning camps that are from 9:00 am to 12:30pm and then we have our very popular extended day camp that is from 12:30-3:00 pm. Our Extended Day Camp is our afternoon session that extends after your child partakes in one of our morning camps, and it’s one of Stony Hill's most popular programs. This year, along with a lesson, we're inaugurating exciting new programs and events to introduce campers to horse care and management, and to expand their equestrian skills. The backbone of Extended Day Camp is a badge program that encourages campers to learn new skills and celebrate their achievements! With a different theme for each day and week of Extended Day, campers will spend their summer afternoons becoming well-rounded equestrians!
Ability to Move Up: In the horse world there is something called the horseback riding bug. If you child gets this bug, be ready for the wild ride of daily visits to the barn and horse shows! At many summer camp facilities, the ability for your child to move past summer camp into horse showing is limited. However, at Stony Hill, we offer the ability for your child to get control of their horseback riding bug with half leases, full leases, and horse shows!
Many campers, as they become more confident riders, would like to fine-tune their skills and participate in local horse shows. Stony Hill's excellent school horses and ponies are available for half-lease to campers who'd like to ride the same horse or pony in their camp lessons. In 2021, we are planning a busy schedule of showing, and another exciting Stony Hill Schooling show as well. We’ll be happy to discuss the perfect half lease for your camper!
At Stony Hill Stables, we pride ourselves on our ability to cater to many different riding levels and allow children to have a summer they will never forget by attending a horseback riding summer camp! Throughout the years, SHS has carefully designed its summer camp program to offer fun and educational activities on and off horseback to make the most of campers' days on the farm. This year, our Camp Director Annie Beeson has developed a curriculum that allows all levels of campers ample riding time in addition to games, unmounted activities, and creative art projects. They'll increase their skills by working together with both horses and each other. Learn more about Stony Hill's Summer Camps here.