All-Level Horse Camp
If you haven’t already, please visit our main Summer Camp Page
to get a feel for the scope of our camp program
The All-Level Horse Camp sessions have a maximum group size of 25 and a minimum staff:camper ratio of 1:5.
The emphasis during Horse Camp is, of course, horses! With our small camp sizes, awesome horse staff and wonderful herd of horses, some of whom were born and raised at Ekone, campers get in lots of riding time.
Our approach to horsemanship is unique, emphasizing the special relationship between children and horses. Everyone spends time grooming and caring for the horses from the ground, and learn safe ground habits. We ride primarily bareback, especially with beginning riders. This may seem counter-intuitive, but 30 years of experience have taught us that children learn to ride much faster bareback, gain their balance more quickly, develop a closer relationship and better communication with the horse, and are actually safer without the trappings of tack to get tangled in and distracted by.
With all beginning riders and those we haven’t seen ride before, our first lesson is in a large roundpen. In this contained environment, campers gain their balance, learn to move their body with the horse’s motion, and begin to learn to communicate with their horse. From there, we progress to our open arena, where obstacles create different patterns each day to hone the skills we’re practicing. Riders get lots of one-on-one coaching. And of course, we also go on trail rides through our beautiful woods and along Rock Creek Canyon. Having a mixed-level group works very well for our program, since we have mixed-level horses. All campers get to ride many different horses, depending on their skill level.
While we ask campers not to expect high speeds, most campers will progress to a trot, and a few will lope during the week, but we can only get so far in one week together! We find plenty of adventure each week, always seeking a good balance between safety and FUN. Campers are typically with the horses for either a morning or an afternoon session, with an occasional before-breakfast or twilight ride thrown in. (Even with small group sizes, not everyone can ride at the same time!) Returning campers looking for more challenge and adventure should consider Wrangler Camp.
Other activities vary widely each session, depending on the skills and talents of the staff and volunteers, and the interests of the campers. On the first day of each session, we all circle up and create our “Possibilities List” for the week—all the things we hope to do together. All the campers are invited to share their ideas, and then we try to do as many of those things as possible! Hiking, nature crafts, games, campfires, ranch projects, “secret pals,” garden and cooking projects, salve-making and herbal medicines, swimming in the pond, mask-making, and art of all kinds are typical. We work hard, play hard, eat well, take a siesta after lunch, and sleep under the stars many nights.
2018 All-Level Horse Camp sessions
ONE WEEK SESSIONS for ages 8-18, tuition $999:
Session 1: June 16 - 22, co-ed, 25 campers
Session 4A: July 7 - 13, co-ed, limit 18 campers (runs concurrent to Homestead Camp)
Session 7A: August 4 - 10, co-ed, limit 18 campers (run concurrent to Craft Camp)
Session 8: August 11 - 17, all-girls, 25 campers
*We also offer a Two-Week Camp (click for details)
Debating between one-week and two-week session? One week can be a good introduction for kids who have never been to camp before or are nervous about being away from home. But we have also noticed that children don’t fully “arrive” and settle into ranch life until Wednesday! A second week allows us to go much more than twice as far into a life-changing experience—and get much further with their riding skills, too. We have also noticed that any homesickness is generally over in the first couple of days.
Please visit our Registration Page for information about applying for a space in summer camp and a link to our registration system.
For a taste of Horse Camp, check out this 2018 slideshow: