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Adult horse camp? Ideas and feedback?

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  • Original Poster

    Originally posted by Bluey View Post

    Why don't you start with one day first and see what you get, poll participants for feedback, then to to two days and a few longer, several day long camps later, once you see what your area will support?

    So many people are wanting entertainment and if you can provide that around horses, there is a large market out there today.
    I am so glad I started this thread as there are tons of great ideas here. Bluey you are right in that starting with a few small options like 1-2 day clinics/trail riding ventures might be the way to go. I am hoping to invite local horse friends out to utilize the place this spring and get some feedback on potential programming for adults.

    Eventually we would like to do groups for all women, groups for riders plus non-riding spouses, and family camp also.

    The property is conveniently located in western new york, but very much an oasis, and I think that in itself is going to be a draw.... It is like escaping from reality. Add in the riding facilities and miles of trails and I think horsey adults will really appreciate the place. It is rustic in some ways and has a "camp" feel to it, but enough modern amenities to make it comfortable.

    Having quality school horses is really important to me. We are purchasing 11 of her current string and will add some more. I think where a lot of camps lack is in their horses.... So that is one place where we are willing to make an investment in terms of what we purchase and also in their care and maintenance. Like I said, not necessarily fancy horses, but well schooled, safe, with good basics that will hack out quietly.
    Sarah no worries, there are multiple campfire pits as well as a massive stone fireplace in the lodge, so plenty of potential for chilling near the fire!

    Anyway thanks all for the feedback, it has been really valuable and I am definitely taking notes! We are in the process of revamping the website and marketing materials... Will pass the info along to anyone interested once we have the stuff updated.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


    • #22
      are you near otter creek then? love the trails there and am planning another trip in may 2013.


      • #23
        Flash, I no longer ride so neither option appeals. Now with that said, I think both options are great ones and, if you could do both it would be super. I would even come to visit for a few hrs and bring you a bottle of champagne to christen the place.

        On a totally off topic, I did the same (bottle of champagne) when a friend's hubby opened up a tractor and Catapiller dealership with sales and rentals. I ended up being his first customer when I saw a cute little tractor with an enclosed cab and snowblower. Bought it on the spot and ordered a bucket. Best purchase I made for the farm!

        I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.


        • #24
          I would love to do horse camp! I say every summer that I wish I could still go (At 40, I am convinced that I would still be attending my old camp if it hadn't been sold & I still think about it every day)

          Different discipline is appealing, on lesson horses or your own, as would be a live-in long weekend clinic. Lecture in the am, ride in the pm. Or lessons in the am, trail ride in the pm.

          please tell us when your up & running!


          • #25
            For the clinic option, would you allow people to BRING their horses? Or just in general, bring horses and camp?! I had a friend in GA who loved to do that!
            "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


            • #26
              How exciting this sounds.

              I have been to adult horse camp - in VT - Vershire Riding School.
              I feel that they are very successful at what they do.

              I feel there will be certain things you will need to do:
              match rider to your horse, if needed,
              be able to deal w/liar of skills! LOL
              and be able to deal w/rider who brings own horse which is ill-matched to program and/or to rider.

              good luck!


              • #27
                I would love this!!! Don't have any clue where you are located though. Different top clinicians would be awesome. Especially if you could mix it up. Trail rides, dressage, hunter/jumper.... I am not so into the western thing, but probably because I've been there done that.

                Love the idea of pilates/yoga. Horse management, nutrition, lameness. Even a visit/ lecture by an excellent farrier.

                No idea what the cost should be. Depends on what exactly it includes and amnenities, probably need different rates for the trailering in vs. using onsite horses. There are so many different, excellent ways you could work this. I'm excited just thinking about it!
                Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
                Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
                "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
                I love my Dublin-ator


                • #28
                  I think if you're going to do the yoga/pilates, you might also make a massage therapist available for bookings. Maybe if the campers pay for it themselves. I know you're not trying for a spa, but if you have people who haven't been riding much (or at all), they're going to be sore. And face it - most adults aren't used to a lot of physical activity and they aren't as spry as they were when they were 12.



                  • #29
                    I think it's great! We have adult camp near me annually. It's all of us ex-pony clubbers who didn't want to give up learning after we aged out. They have pony club camps for 2-3 weeks, then us. Thurs - Sun. We bring our own horses. We can sign up for 1-2 lessons a day - jumping or dressage or one of each. Dinner is catered (yum!) and we handle our own breakfasts and lunches. We camp in tents, or trailers or campers...whatever we bring. Everyone has a fabulous time and learns a lot. Fees are based on what you sign up for, so it can range from $500 - 700ish.


                    • #30
                      Think its a very cool idea, my dad always said camp was "much too good for children" when he dropped us off...haha!

                      I would go to some already set up adult riding camps and figure out what works and what doesn't.

                      I definitely agree with bluey's point of starting off small. Don't bite off more than you can chew, and doing a 2 or 3 day weekend of trail riding will give you something to build on. Always always always get feedback - good or bad it is all relevant & helpful.

                      Maybe consider upgrading the mattresses on the beds if they are those typical thin springy camp ones - adult bones are sore after a day in the saddle especially if they are not used to it!
                      "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                      "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


                      • #31
                        I would say, don't go overboard trying to be attractive to spouses. If they want to come and learn to ride, great! If they want to hike, great! But for them to come up and watch the game.. not so much.
                        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by msj View Post
                          Flash, I no longer ride so neither option appeals. Now with that said, I think both options are great ones and, if you could do both it would be super. I would even come to visit for a few hrs and bring you a bottle of champagne to christen the place.

                          On a totally off topic, I did the same (bottle of champagne) when a friend's hubby opened up a tractor and Catapiller dealership with sales and rentals. I ended up being his first customer when I saw a cute little tractor with an enclosed cab and snowblower. Bought it on the spot and ordered a bucket. Best purchase I made for the farm!
                          Hey I will totally take you up on that! Then we can finally meet in real life! We should definitely wait till spring-- I have a feeling if we do in fact close on time and move in come January, it's gonna be pretty bleak out there... LOL!

                          Anyway sounds like fun and I am looking forward to christening the place with some bubbly!!
                          We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                          • #33
                            This excites me a great deal!!! WEEEEE!!!

                            I would like it more for the social aspect of it. The opportunity to meet new people and make new friends who share a common interest. Because I have to be so serious and professional in my every day life, I'd probably be more interested in something a bit more casual - a time to relax and enjoy myself - instead of getting frustrated riding in a more formal setting and coming up short of my hopes or expectations. Granted, this might be different if I had skills or a horse worthy of showing off, but alas, I do not.


                            • #34
                              As an older rider who has a touch of fear issues, confidence building exercises are welcome. I love trying new things, so being able to do in a "clinic" situation is helpful. In the last year, I have tried TREC(orienteering, obstacle riding), team penning, a hunter pace, a confidence clinic and an ACTHA ride. Maybe even an exercise clinic with exercises that would pertain to riding.


                              • #35
                                If you need a test rider/camper I am nearby and would love to come up for a day or weekend.



                                • #36
                                  I have been trying to talk BIL (who primarily runs the ranch) into doing this for years! I think it is a great idea, but he is always hesitant to change what already works for us. I know what we struggle with is having enough horses that are capable of doing something like what everyone has described with beginners.

                                  For instance, all of our horses are phenominal trail horses; however, most of them do not know what to do in the arena (of course there are a few exceptions and we use those horses for lessons). If we were to do a summer camp we would have to require people to bring their own horses and maybe have a handfull of our own horses that we could use.

                                  Anyway I'm interested in hearing how it goes for you! I know I'd be there in a heartbeat with my own horse


                                  • #37
                                    Sounds like a tremendous amount of fun!


                                    • #38
                                      "Ladies Camp"

                                      My regular instructor puts on very sucessfull ladies camps in the spring and fall.

                                      They are 3-4 days in duration, and in the past few years the camp weekends have had an instruction theme or focus such as "Woah and Go" (i.e. making the driving and stopping aids more clear). There are two group lessons a day. She is a jumper herself, but offers jumping groups as well as flat lesson groups that have people riding in english and western tack.

                                      The morning lessons work on specific exercises that go along with the camp theme, the flat groups might work on improving the leg yeild, and the jumping groups would have a gymastic or simple course exercise, and the leg yeild would be incorporated into the exercise, leg yeilding on the landing side of the jump to improve the corner etc. and the afternoon rides are shorter and less intense for the horse - we call them "Balance Rides" where the rider's position is worked on - she uses a lot of the Sally Swift type exercises e.g. backpedalling the stirrups to loosen the hips. The Balanced rides are very popular with all levels and disciplines from adult beginners /western trail riders/ endurance / dressage/ advanced jumpers. In fact we have found that the more advanced riders struggle the most with giving up control of the horse to work on positional balance exercises

                                      There is one theory session per day too. Her sister is a vet, so there is always one "vet" talk per camp - we've had lectures on leg lamenesses, deworming, wound care etc. Other theory sessions have included basic massage techniques for horses, TTouch horse personality (based on facial features), groundwork techniques, dressage training pyramid etc.

                                      Evening social activites have included things like yoga, "Zumba" (dance fitness, which was hilarious by the way, most women had drank a few already, and were still in jeans and muck boots trying to follow along the steps!), potluck supper one night, silent auction fundraisers for charity, air band competitions, social nights where husbands are invited (we are all fairly local) etc.


                                      • #39
                                        Skimmed but this is an amazing idea! Did I miss the location?

                                        I would be most interested in 2x day riding with a skill focused ride in the morning and a "leisure ride" in the afternoon, whether it be trails, x/c, trying a new discipline, etc. The quality of clinicians would be the #1 selling factor for me... something I can't get at home.

                                        Offering massages and having hot tubs available will be a huge bonus! Riders will be SORE after all that fun! I also think sports psychology demos/clinics with a riding focus would be really interesting if offered in small groups. It would give the rider a chance to get away and work on a particular fear/nervousness issue outside of their normal setting.


                                        • #40
                                          What a great idea. I actually have a friend in Florida who was thinking of doing something like this but has a beautiful farm but no funds to start something like this. I wonder If you would be interested in talking with her about having a winter time location. Send me a message if you would like her contact info.