Summer riding camps give participants the chance to learn about horses and life in general.
“We teach them how to groom the horses, saddle the horses, the whole bit,” says Sharon Isner, one of the co-owners of Isner Stables Limited, located 20 minutes outside of Halifax in Harrietsfield.
At Isner Stables, kids also learn what it’s like to live on a farm and come into contact with farm animals on a daily basis, including sheep, cattle and goats.
No riding experience is necessary for the camps.
“We teach them right from the ground up,” says Isner.
She says one of the benefits of a riding camp is children learn about “how much work it takes to take care of an animal.”
Ann Wootton is the co-owner of Boulderwood Stables, located 40 minutes away from Halifax in Ardoise.
Children learn “the animal has to come first,” which is an important lesson in today’s “me society,” she says.
“We find it’s very good for some children to realize it’s not always about them (and) that somebody else has to come first,” says Wootton.
Other important benefits include the social integration amongst the participants and the horses.
All of the necessary riding equipment is included, but campers should think about what they are going to wear. Wootton suggests wearing comfortable jeans or slacks and sneakers or riding boots. Bringing along a change of clothes and some sunscreen are also wise ideas.
For the nervous rider, Wootton says horses are kind and gentle and ride differently depending on who the rider is. In other words, they’re easier on a nervous person than an experienced one.
Isner says it can be helpful to walk around with the horse using a lead rope until riders are more comfortable.
“They’ll eventually come around,” she says. “If they don’t, it’s probably not for them.”