It is about that time of year again and I will be assisting at a summer camp for kids ages 5-13ish. I was wondering if anyone had some really unique/cool ideas for things for the kids to do. It would be really awesome for the younger ones to learn more about horse care and other things they don't get to learn during the rest of the year during their lessons(most don't own their own ponies, they just take lessons). Anyone have good ideas for activites?
Taking apart bridles and learning how to put them back together. Parts of the horse. Learning bits. Horseless horse show. Designing courses (with maybe the best one being made into a crossrail/ground pole course for a lesson?) Painting horse shoes. Making arts and crafts for the horses stalls. Grooming contests.
Thanks! They already paint horse shoes and do toooonnsss of arts and crafts so I was thinking the other ideas might be better. When I did summer horse camps we learned all aspects of riding, from how to clean a stall to how to determine what type/how much feed the horse needs. Now there are grooms to do these things and I feel like it is harder for them to be put in a situation where they learn this aspect of horsemanship that is so neccesary.
When I was younger, my barn had a summer camp that was pretty cool. Some of the non-riding parts were the best parts. They taught us things like how to take a horse's temperature and how to check for gut sounds, respiratory rates, and heart rate. Obviously younger kids aren't going to be able to acurately count the rates and determine if they're normal or not, but it's fun for them to learn and hear the sounds. They also had for us the amount of blood a horse has in their body(fruit punch in gallons) and had a really long rope that showed how long a horses intestines are. We also did some show stuff if they don't already show, like etiquette rules of showing, the difference between the divisions that apply to them, and how to navigate a course (like what a long approach is, courtesy and ending circle, getting consistent strides, etc.) Hope this helps a little!
You could go over the 'gaits' of the horse on a lunge line, and for each gait have the legs wrapped to show the different beats. Ex: for left lead, RH would be one color, RF & LH another, LF another... im sure you get the point
You could also incorporate course setting into a 'horseless horse show'
*We tolerate behaviors in human beings that would horrify us if we saw them in a horse.*
R.I.P El Salvador*
I just posted another reply about horse camp activities, but will help you out too
Like you said, now it is often hard to get that horsemanship experience with grooms around. Well, the groom at our barn LOVED the camp kids and offered to help. We had him show the kids how to clean/bed stalls, for example.
Kids learned parts of the horse, then using finger paint, painted the parts on the pony, then learned to give a bath.
Visit from the vet/farrier.
Cleaning tack/parts of tack.
Jumping courses on foot!! Most of our campers are not jumping yet, but they sure get a kick out of running around the arena and us giving them "courses". We teach them about strides, take off/landing, etc.
Our Spring Break camp was a group of beginners, so the first day we did a grooming contest.. 2-3 kids per pony.. they LOVED it. Kids love to groom. We taught clipping, mane pulling, painting feet, etc.
Good luck! Let me know if you have any more questions
We've scheduled the teeth floatings during summer camp time so the kids could see the equine dentist at work, and he talked to them a bit and showed them the tools, even passed out a brochure on teeth. We've utilized hay deliveries, where the grower/ owner stopped and talked to the kids a bit about growing hay, baling it, weights, quality, etc. Or ask the farm foreman or manager to talk about what it takes to run a stable. It just takes a few minutes, but we do tip the people for their time, maybe a gift card for Subway Sandwiches or something. Painting jumps, jump poles, even picking up rocks in the arena or a turnout can be fun (and helpful) if it's made into a contest or you paint the biggest, weirdest rocks afterward. Maybe braiding lessons and a braiding contest. Demonstrations of loading horses into trailers. Almost any horse-related thing presented well can be fun at horse camp.
Let me share something to not do from my own horse camp experience (which I loved, but...):
Don't geld your colts in front of the kids. At 11, I was not quite ready for this and I wasn't the youngest one. Also, don't feed the remains to the dogs in front of the kids. Was even less ready for this and it still kind of disturbs me to this day. Yes yes it's life and it's horse care, but... really?
On a happier note, I loved learning to muck a stall (had never done this until camp), wrap legs, and the basics of feeding. And of course, an entire week spent with horses can never be bad, despite any reproductive medical procedures witnessed at a tender age.
I have been doing camp for years amd here are something on top of something already mentioned that we do .
Make a barn out of popsicle sicks
Make T-shirts with the barn name and pony names (takes a while)
Make beaded necklaces with the letters so they can make their favorite ponies name on it.
Melty beads (make a design and use an iron to melt them adult only with the iron)
scavenger hunter of all horse equipment.
guess that horse - describe one of the lesson ponies only by breed, color, gender, and markings and see who can guess correctly
Horse Bingo - made myself asked questions about horses and horse care. Answers are on the board. Used treats to cover the answers
Rock picking game. Being from CT we have lots of rocks. Kids go into teams and each get a small bucket. who ever gets the most buckets of rock under a certain time out of the paddock wins. for some reason they love this game!
Bath horses and graze them
design their own brush.
I know there is more we do but that is just off the top of my head. We do camp for 11 weeks during the summer so we need lots of ideas. Hope this helps!
I can add to that:
At a "camp" I went to, we had to:
1. Clean out the dirty gooseneck trailer after it had been to several shows
2. We were dropped off and left unsupervised at someone else's pool so the trainer could get her hair done
3. Ride the barely broke green ponies, with minimal supervision
Most of the camp memories are great, but some of these memories were less than fond...and now I realize my parents paid for this!
I've been running a barn at a wilderness camp this summer. For non-mounted days the girls loved:
-Mucking stalls (we had so many volunteers who wanted to stay for extra class periods just so they could muck....I forgot what a novelty it can be and how fun they can have with it...more power to them! )
-Lessons on various saddle/bridle/bit types/purposes
-Jumping their own courses of jumps on foot
-Splitting into "teams" of trained horses vs. wild horses and herding each other (tied that one in with the jumping day)
-Setting up a jump chute and free jumping some of our horses (they LOVED this....had lots of fun cheering them on and some of them got to wield the lunge whip)
-"Painting" the horses with sidewalk chalk (just soak it in water for a few minutes...works like a charm)
-Bathing the chalk off the horses
-Learning about feed and getting to feed the horses
the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique
[QUOTE=Nski32;5568624]You could go over the 'gaits' of the horse on a lunge line, and for each gait have the legs wrapped to show the different beats. Ex: for left lead, RH would be one color, RF & LH another, LF another... im sure you get the point
That is an awesome idea! I am going to use that for my parents! The kids get it but every time we go to a show and I say "they missed a lead" I get a puzzled look.
Summer camps are fun and I love the photos my friends are sending out of their kids and grandkids. Ahhh, memories of camp as a child.....
How about lunging, riding, etc. and then taking Pulse and Respiration? Know what the resting P&R's are with a stethoscope, watch-clock, and maybe take their temp with a rectal thermometer? A chart for each horse?! Like a pre-vet thing? You never know which future vet you will inspire!