You may be knee deep in all things winter right now, but before you know it, summer will be here, the kids will be out of school, and you will be responsible for filling their endless days. Can you think of a better way for you kid to spend the day than learning how to not only ride, but also take care of 600-pound animal, while also bonding with other like-minded children and learning their way around a barn? The Bay area offers multiple opportunities, both camps and training programs, that will inspire your child and help them flourish within the sport of horseback riding.
Tayside Sport Horses: There are a number of barns located in Woodside that offer comprehensive and fun programs for kids of all ages. Tayside Sport Horses has an extensive training program supporting a variety of disciplines: Eventing, Jumping, and Dressage. In addition, they teach horsemanship, grooming, and conditioning techniques to the riders at their facilities. This is a terrific environment for your children to start riding at. Although they do not have a summer camp, their lesson program is extensive, and they can be contacted for further information. New clients receive their first 4 lessons for $80 each, and there are schoolmasters, which are expertly trained horses, available for lessons. In addition, they have both half and full leasing programs that students can graduate to once they feel ready.
Emerald Hills Training: Similarly, Emerald Hills does not have a camp promoted on their site, but they have a great program set up. With a classical training style, Emerald Hills Training is focused on the Hunter/Jumper disciplines. In addition to offering a full training program, which includes 5 days a week of training, they offer a lesson program to fit everyone’s needs. From 45-minute privates lessons to 1-hour group lessons, both $85, the program allows riders to build their own schedule.
JP Training at Portola Farm: As a full service Hunter/Jumper barn, JP Training offers a comprehensive training program, clinic program, and Summer Horsemanship Camp. The Horsemanship Camp is for children ages 7 and up and teaches children the proper technique, position, fitness, and care of horses. In addition to teaching the basics of riding, this camp program features lectures from vets, farriers, grooms, and more, giving students a well rounded riding education. There are 8 riders per session, and it is offered on select weeks in July and August. The cost per session is $550 for students on horses provided, $400 for students ½ leasing a horse, and $300 for students involved in a full lease or own their own horse. Beyond camp, JP training offers private and semi-private lessons ranging from $80 to $85.
B.O.K Ranch: If you are looking for a therapeutic riding program for your child, B.O.K Ranch may be exactly what you are looking for. PATH certified, B.O.K takes the times to build lesson programs for each of their riders individually. Lessons are filled with creative games and sport activities, in addition to the typical horse care, grooming, and equipment use training.
Seven Oaks Farm: Although Seven Oaks does not have a camp displayed on their website, they have a wonderful dressage training program. With school horses available, including horses, ponies, and schoolmasters, their training program offers children and adults of all ages an opportunity to learn and perfect dressage. In addition to individual lessons, they offer partial and full training programs when the next step is needed. The lessons vary in price from $35-$85 and consist of private, semi-private, and group lessons.
Webb Ranch: As a multi-discipline barn, serving English and Western riders, Webb Ranch offers programs for beginner and intermediate riders in dressage, western riding, hunt seat, and even trail riding. Lessons, which include group, semi-private, and private options, range in price from $58-$78. An amazing feature of this farm is that they hold camps during Holiday and Spring Break periods, in addition to summertime. The summer sessions are limited to 24 students and they split them up into groups of 8.
Spring Down: With over 50 show quality horses available, Spring Down is a great place for your kid to begin their riding. In addition to basic riding instruction, students are able to pursue Jumping, Dressage, Horsemanship, and Western here. They offer spring, winter, and summer camps for children ages 6 and up. Their camp program not only teaches the basics, but also provides kids with live demos for further, real-life education. The winter camp costs $425, and the intermediate summer camp costs $395. In March, the farm even offers a $125 mini-camp for interested students.
Isola Stables: Offering Show Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing, Isola Stables has everything a rider could want. From private and small group lessons, to shows, to trail rides, every rider’s needs are addressed in this program. To get started, camp sessions are offered for 6 weeks throughout the summer. Riders ages 6-14 are welcome to attend the camp, which includes a minimum of 1 hour of riding, horsemanship activities, and arts and crafts. The cost for a session is $550 per camper.
California Riding Academy: California Riding Academy offers a comprehensive program for all levels of students, from beginners to advanced riders. They have well school horses and ponies available for riders to advance and grow on. They offer private, semi-private, and group lessons ranging from $75-$100 in price. Additionally, they offer both ½ day and full day Summer Horsemanship Camp options. There are beginner, intermediate, and even some advanced classes available. Children ages 5-15 are welcome. In addition to riding, kids are taught horse management skills, given horse breed knowledge, and participate in games and crafts. ½ day of camp cost $589 and a full day is $825, each for one week. They also offer Spring Break camps!
Page Mill Pastures: At Page Mill Pastures, riders will learn the basic techniques on lesson horses available at the barn. Both English and Western lessons are taught and private and group lessons are provided. A private lesson costs $60 for 1 hour of riding and a group lesson for 3 or more kids for 1 hour costs $45. They also offer partial and full leases for students to take over when they are looking for more consistency in their training program.
Riding during a camp is a great way for your kid to spend the summer and finding a farm that has a good training program to continue your child’s training is key. These are just a few options available in the Bay Area, so check them out and see if any of them fit what you are looking for. You can also ask around for referrals from friends and family to find your perfect fit, in addition to doing further internet research.