When a camper goes to an equestrian or horseback riding camp, they won’t just learn how to ride a horse and do fancy drills or jumps. Riding horses builds character and compassion.
Working with an animal teaches kids how to listen to non-verbal cues and show respect and empathy for animals. This, in turn, teaches them how to work better with people.
Taking care of horses teaches discipline. Riding a trail teaches presence of mind, awareness, and the ability to pay attention to details. And for some advanced courses like show jumping, your child will learn how to challenge themselves and master both the horse and themself.
Learn these values and more at some of the best horseback riding summer camps for kids.
Best Horseback Riding Camps
1. International Riding Camp
Set in the Catskill Mountains in New York State, this is considered one of the best overnight horseback riding camps for girls aged 7 to 17. They learn several different riding disciplines, including cross-country jumping, polo, and hunt seat equitation.
Campers get six hours of riding each day—whether in the ring or on trails—then spend the rest of their time doing fun outdoor activities like water skiing, jet skiing, and swimming.
This summer camp has one of the most comfortable facilities. Each dormitory room is air-conditioned, and the meals are organic and prepared by an award-winning chef. It also has a 1:2 counselor to camper ratio, and each counselor is certified in CPR and wilderness first aid.
They also offer winter horse riding camps held at the El Venado Polo School in Argentina and special activities like Mother-Daughter riding camps.
2. Valley View Equestrian Camp for Girls
Located in scenic Cloudland, Georgia, this horse camp is surrounded by over 10 miles of lush forest. Every day, campers go out on four guided trails, where they learn how to guide their horses over streams, jump over logs, or navigate rock formations.
Every two weeks, campers participate in competitive trail rides and scavenger hunts. The games they participate in not only test their new riding skills but also teach teamwork and problem-solving. The camp also holds regular horse shows where they compete in their own skill level. They also have rodeo day races and pony club demos with riding drills.
Apart from horse riding, campers can swim, canoe or kayak in the nearby lake. The counselors also organize fun group games like capture the flag, conduct dance and theater classes. The camp has sports facilities for basketball, archery and more, so there’s plenty else to do!
Special night events include talent shows, campfires and cookouts, costume bingo, auctions, and so much more. Children older than 12 can also sign up for a white water adventure on the Ocoee River or a day trip to the Chattanooga area.
3. Camp Friendship
This is a family-run Equestrian Camp for coed campers ages 9 to 16 in Palmyra, Virginia. The camp is open even to beginners—the only requirement to join is that your camper loves horses. Campers will learn not just basic riding skills but also how to take care of a horse and the safe way to navigate a trail.
Unlike other horse riding camps, Camp Friendship doesn’t really focus on training campers for competitions or climbing up “levels.” Instead, they try to give a well-rounded, balanced set of activities.
When they’re not taking horseback riding classes, the campers can pick from 35 other activities to personalize their schedule.
The activities include sports, arts and crafts, and water sports like canoeing, fishing, and aqua zumba. Their adventure sport include archery, mountain boarding, obstacle courses. They even have a wilderness survival experience, where they learn how to build a fire and make a shelter.
While this is not the best equestrian camp for serious riders, this is a wonderful way to introduce campers to horseback riding while learning other skills and enjoying traditional camp activities.
4. Camp Greystone
Camp Greystone is a North Carolina summer camp known for its animal-centered camp experiences. They have a dog camp where kids learn how to take care of puppies and a farm and garden camp where they learn how to take care of chickens, pigs, and bunnies. Plus, they also learn how to grow vegetables!
Their mission is to foster a deep love for animals, and they bring that into their unique horseback riding program. Campers are encouraged to form a connection with their horse and spend a lot of time with their favorite horses.
So even if their activities are very similar to what you’ll find in other equestrian camps like drills, trail riding, and introduction to different riding disciplines, their approach is firmly grounded in building trust and respect between rider and steed. For example, they learn to understand a horse’s cues and guide the horse without hurting it.
Camp Greystone also arranges fun bonding activities, such as tubing down the river or building teepees together. And, of course, they’ll have plenty of fun exploring the beautiful outdoors. Its around 4 hours away from Raleigh, NC.
5. Camp Tecumseh
Many parents worry about whether horseback riding camp is safe, especially if their child does not have prior riding experience. Well, set your fears aside—Camp Tecumseh puts extra attention to making sure your child has the proper gear, the right training, and close supervision by experienced trainers.
All children are provided with ASTM/SEI certified helmet that properly fits their head. There is a safety check before each ride. Instructors look at the horse and the tack and check if the rider is in the proper physical or mental condition to ride.
The summer camp also matches campers to the right training level and pairs them with the right horse — and for reference, they have over 60 horses in their stable. During the camp period, they are encouraged to build a bond with their horse by helping take care of it and spend a lot of time together.
The camp is certified by the Certified Horsemanship Association and the American Camping Association.
6. Stone Mountain Adventures
This Pennsylvania camp offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced riding programs. They have experienced instructors—all trained by respected equestrian professional Pam Hayes-Houldin.
The camp is held at Horsepower Farm, a 60-acre facility with formal riding rings, turnout paddocks, a cross country course, and several forest trails. These are all divided into different levels of difficulty. Each day, campers get a set of drills or activities that are safe for their skill level and prepare them to advance to more complex challenges.
But the most unique aspect of the Stone Mountain Adventures program is its therapeutic riding camp for people with disabilities. Pam Hayes-Houldin is a licensed equine therapist and wellness coach. Equine therapy uses horse riding to develop muscle strength and balance while providing a healing connection with the horse.
7. Camp Marshall
If you’re looking for a short summer equestrian camp, consider signing up at Camp Marshall In Massachusetts! The horse camp is only one week long and is open to kids ages 8 to 16 at any level of riding experience.
On the first day, campers are evaluated to find their skill level and then formed into groups. Each group gets a customized program, which includes daily riding lessons, games on horseback, and trails. They have over six different horse camps, including an overnight camp and day camps, for different ages and interests.
Campers are also taught how to groom and feed their horse and participate in barn chores. So even if it’s just one week long, Camp Marshall is packed with fun and opportunities to make friends. Whether your camper wants to focus on leadership or bring their own horse, the different programs offer a sense of flexibility.