A boy and his dog? Sure. But kids' fiction is also full of tales of the special relationships between children and horses, a bond that allows them to do wonderful things. For some kids, learning to ride and getting to know a horse is the most gratifying thing in the world. If learning to be in tune with an animal several times his or her size gets your child excited, then horsemanship camps are in order.
Many of the riding programs below have been in business for decades, and new partnerships with YMCAs or city recreation departments have combine the best of both worlds for full day-camps.
Patch's full list of summer camps, from language immersion to sports camps is on our 2013 Patch Guide to Summer Camps.
Patch hopes to add to this list, so please put your suggestions in the comments section.
Summer Riding Camp (Los Altos Hills) Los Altos Hills Recreation offers weeklong sessions for ages 6-60 at Westwind Community Barn from June 11 to Aug. 1. That’s right, it’s not just for kids. Each rider is assigned his or her own horse for the week to get the feel for the responsibility and fun of horse ownership, and the whole barn experience. Fee is $400 for residents, $430 for non-residents, and July 4th week is four days and pro-rated. Contact Jane Kawasaki at (650) 492-1620 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer Horsemanship Camp (Portola Valley/Los Altos Recreation) Los Altos Recreation, through Spring Down Equestrian Center offers two-week camps, available June 17 through Aug. 30, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. where students, 6 years old and up learn safety around horses, grooming, tacking up, exercising horses and riding. Students will be evaluated on the first day. Fridays is Game Day and a fun horse show. $750 for Los Altos residents, $768 for non-residents.
Equestrian Camp (El Camino YMCA, Mountain View) Through the YMCA, Webb Ranch in Portola Valley offers a one-week camp June 10-14, July 8-12 and July 29-Aug. 2. Students learn horse safety, care grooming, equipment and stall maintenance and riding. Children must wear closed-toe shoes, long pants and optional helmet. Campers are based at Bubb Kid’s Place at Bubb School in Mountain View and travel for the horse component. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., extended care available for the same cost, $406 to 487, for facility to program members. Webb Ranch has more dates.
Webb Ranch Riding School (Portola Valley) A family-owned farm since 1922, Webb Ranch offers weeklong summer program 9 a.m. to noon from June 10 to Aug. 30 that is immensely popular. How popular? All but the last two weeks in August are already filled, and waiting list is the only availability for June through Aug. 16. Fee is $295 and extended care 12 to 4 p.m. is available for $250 more. (650) 854-7755
Horsemanship Camp (Portola Valley) Spring Down Equestrian Center offers one- and two-week camps, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., teaching riding, horse care, barn safety. Minimum age is 6. Extended day care is available. Summer camps start June 17 and end Aug. 30. $425 per week.
Garrod Farms Summer Horse Camp (Saratoga) Garrod offers one- and two-week camps, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., for kids 8 to 15 in Western riding, with English style available only for campers who have taken classes before or have completed two Western day camps. Campers must wear clothing specified on a list. Camps begin June 10 and end Aug. 16, fees are $520 for one week, $969 for two. Spaces are rapidly disappearing in many of the weeks offered.
Camp Jumps For Joy (Menlo Park) At the California Riding Academy, there are ten weekly horsemanship camps available, half day, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($549) and full day, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ($799), English or Western style riding, beginning June 10 through Aug. 16. Campers can be ages 5 to 15, beginning through intermediate. Besides the usual barn skills, grooming, and tacking up, this camp has activities such as horse washing, kids-sized jump course, horseback games, and horsey crafts. 100 Ansel Lane, Barns 2 & 15, Menlo Park, CA 94028
Folger Stable Summer Horse Camps (Woodside) Perhaps one of the only places on the Peninsula where children 7 to 16 learn to ride next to a national historic district inside Wunderlich County Park, one of the most beautiful and scenic parks around. Few certainly are equipped with a stable that is on the National Register of Historic Places, as part of the Folger Estate Historic District. The one-week camps are run 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., June 17 to July 19 (The July 22-26 week is already sold out) and teach how to care for, saddle up and ride at a walk, and on the trail. More advanced camps are available for those who have mastered those skills. They are operated by the Bay Area Equestrian Connection, which handle several equestrian programs in the area. Cost is $100 a day or $400 per week. Call (650) 529-1028 today to reserve your spot.