Sounds like a great idea for us girls who never outgrew horses. I would definitely participate. And if you want to offer some type of pilates classes as part of a camp session.. I'm getting my official certification this weekend
Have trial runs, with a few guests and anonymous feedback cards. You never know what area guests will give feedback on. Do this early on, so you know where to focus your energies. You may find what people want is in areas you haven't thought about. For example summer camps are not usually designed for handling cold weather, so people might complain about it being too cold and wanting individual heating units. That kind of stuff you want to know about before opening.
Mr. FG and I are in the process of purchasing an equine property which has been operating primarily as a summer camp for the last 50+ years. We will be offering traditional camp sessions for kids, but I would like to institute some options for adults as well.
We would be targeting the average adult ammie. I was considering two options, one a more leisurely hacking/trail riding weekend, and one more intensive training featuring guest clinicians. Horses are primarily stock types some TBs, sane, sound, not fancy. Jump up to 2'6 and trail ride quietly. People could bring their own horses as well.
Accommodations are rustic cabins with electric. Amenities include an indoor, four riding rings, some basic cross country fences. There's a very cute town nearby with great shops and restaurants. Meals would be provided though alcohol would probably have to be BYO.
My thinking is to do it in the early fall, when the weather is still reasonable but the leaves are starting to turn, as there are miles of trails and the property is really pretty. I thought maybe a Thursday - Sunday, so adults wouldn't have to take too much time off work.
Is there a real interest in this type of program? Which weekend would folks be more interested in.... more intensive riding or leisurely hacking? What kind of instruction/clinicians would you be looking for if you choose the training weekend? What would you expect to pay for such a program?
I'm late to the conversation but for what it's worth...
I've attended a couple adult riding holiday camps and will share a few thoughts, as a middle aged adult amateur-- a member of what I imagine to be your target market.
First, I think there is PLENTY of room for a good camp/intensive residential program that actually caters to adults and takes their ambitions seriously by providing good horses, good instruction, and lots of time in the saddle and horsemanship training. Bravo for thinking about this and soliciting feedback as you develop your own!
...most responses to your post run counter to my own sentiments and recommendations, which I present for you to discard as indicated:
1. If you are running an adult horse camp, don't offer a holiday package including excursions to historical sites, or family programs with sleigh rides and golf.
It's the riding I want, and the opportunity to learn from experts, horses, and fellow participants. My ideal is a 10-hour day including 6+ hours in the saddle, lectures, grooming and other direct practical or theoretical engagement with the horses and principles of horsemanship and instruction in disciplines, along with...
...2. quiet, clean, and comfortable accommodations (good night's sleep!) and some seriously good food, wine, and conversation at lunch and in the evening. 'Rustic cabins' and 'meals provided' sound great, but I've learned that 2 places advertising similar values in both categories may deliver vastly different experiences (at a similar price point, I might add).
3. BYO is not a great idea. For one, you limit yourself to locals-- people arriving by car. Even drive-ins will need to consider weather for transport and storage of wine and beer. I'm sure you know that good food and drink is really important when you're working hard (and in my ideal version of your camp, participants would be working hard!!)-- and paying for the privilege.
4. Think about which discipline/s are your potential strengths based on your horses, interests, and regular available instructors etc. If you focus on one or two areas I am guessing you will be in a better position to build a reputation, a repeat clientele, and also to attract better clinicians. The more generic the program, the less advanced the rider, I would imagine. Of course, an adult beginners' camp is also an option, and with 4 riding rings and some xc, you might consider beginning eventing.
5. I agree with suggestion to do some well-planned trials, and would add recommendation for broader market research program. You may already be doing this. Soliciting feedback here is a great step.