A schooling show for the parents is a must. If there aren't enough kids for that, do a drill team type exercise in front of the parents. The kids are so proud of themselves and the parents feel like their money was well spent.
Another thing the kids really liked when I directed a camp riding program was a day when we dressed up and took glamour shots on the horses. These were girls, and we luckily also had a theater program at a camp to borrow fancy costumes from, but it could be modified for everyone. At the very least, let each kid sit on his or her favorite horse and take a digital picture you can print out and send home with them. They make really special mementos. My sister and I still have ours from a camp 15 years ago!
Oh I forgot the underwear race. Go buy the biggest underwear you can find. The kids one at a time will go at what gait they please to the end of the ring, get off put on the huge underwear get back on and head back to the finish, this is also timed.
Team clothes race-Teams of 2's usually works best. Have a kid dressed in an oversized shirt and shorts, maybe a tie or jacket etc... on the horse they have to race down and get off change clothes with teammate and teammate has to get on and race back, also timed.
Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole
I could probably go on and on and on and on . . if I can remember all from way back when.
Typically, it's the time they are not ON the horse that becomes the challenge
- Parts of the horse with sticky notes (you label note, they stick it on right part)
- Bridle build race
- arts & crafts- get one (or more) of those tubes with 10 or so little plastic horses in them, scrap cardboard, and have them build a barn/stall and paddock for horsey with sugar cubes, glue and popsicle sticks
- I had a work book done up with all the necessary lessons, (parts of the horse, saddle, normal vital signs, etc) there were worksheets for them to complete and some coloring pages
- arts & crafts - get those unpainted ceramic thingys that used to be so popular and plop them down with those and some paint.
- arts & crafts - decorate old horse shoes so they can make their own "Good Luck" shoe, glitter, ribbon, paint etc
- absolutely host a show and pizza lunch for the parents on last day. I had all the kids bring stuff from home to dress their horses up with, that was pretty cute. we did a very basic mounted drill (mostly dead beginners)
- get the Pony Club's mounted games book and pick those most suitable for your level of kids
- we had tee-shirts done too, helps distinguish the camp rug rats from all the regular ones
- types of bits, stall cleaning , bathing, watch the farrier, watch a big kids lesson, teeth floating's always a hoot if that's going on
- PROPER leading around obstacle course
I may remember some others and there are pictures around here somewhere . . .
teaching camp (if you have a good group of kids) is SO fun!
-if you have a very patient grey or light palomino horse, have the kids draw on them with sidewalk chalk. super fun, and the chalk washes right out!
-make labels/sticky notes with the parts of the horse on them, and have the kids stick them on the appropriate body parts of a patient horse. this can be a competitive game/contest if you want!
-for more advanced campers, split them into two (or more) teams and take apart one bridle per team, mixing the pieces up into a pile. see which team can put the bridle back together the fastest.
-if you have a digital camera/printer, take pictures of each camper with 'their' horse, print them out, then have them paint and decorate old horse shoes, and glue the picture to the back so it makes a picture frame.
-another fun activity is to take pictures during the week, then on the last day of camp print them out and have campers make a giant posterboard collage of all the pictures, funny things, drawings, and messages from the week.
-a game our kids LOVED was 'student-instructor reverse.' the other instructor and i got on our horses, and the kids got to give us a 'lesson.' usually it ended with 'drop your stirrups! now canter! now jump!'
-if you have all girls, they might like giving the horses soapy baths and show-sheening their tails, putting on hoof oil, and making the ponies pretty.
-we also always gave 'awards' at the end of the week, for things like 'most improved' 'best helper' 'funniest' 'bravest' etc. and had a little 'awards ceremony'. the kids loved it and it helped everyone to appreciate each other's strengths.
Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique