Young Rider Horse Camp

~connect with horses, maybe for the first time!~

This small-group session is designed for our younger campers looking for an introduction to horsemanship and ranch life.

2022 Young Rider Camp details

July 26-31

Ages: 8-11 years

Capacity: 16 campers

Tuition: $1,000 (base rate), $1,300 (restoration rate)

Session Info

This session was created in 2016 as an answer to the high demand for very limited spaces for beginner riders in our All-Level Horse Camps. Campers will learn basic horse handling and riding skills, plus we'll do lots of crafting, music and fun ranch projects.

Our approach to horsemanship emphasizes the special relationship between children and horses. Everyone spends time grooming and caring for the horses and learning 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 more empathetic relationship and better communication with the horse, and are actually safer without the trappings of tack to get tangled in and distracted by.

This year, Young Rider camp will run parallel to Music Camp. The two groups will share most meals, but riding sessions, sleeping quarters, and almost all activities will be separate (with the possibility of guest star opportunities if campers are interested!).

If you haven’t already, please visit our main About Camp  page

to get a feel for our camp philosophy, history and the scope the Ekone Summer Camp program

Please contact us with any questions! summercamp@ekone.org509.773.4536

Please visit our Apply Here! page for information about applying for a space in summer camp and a link to our registration system.

Lead Staff for Young Rider Camp

Caitlin Jones, Program Director

​Caitlin is excellent at making lists, keeping everyone organized, and nurturing Ekone Magic at camp.

Now our Camp Director, Caitlin has been coming to Ekone summer camps since she was 8 years old, and has grown into a strong and compassionate leader.  She has ridden horses most of her life, and believes them to be some of the most wise and loving of all animals (especially Ekone horses).  One of the things she loves most about Ekone is being able to ‘get back to basics’ and work with nature rather than against it.  She is holds a degree in Social Work from New York University in New York City.

Caitlin says Ekone is a second home for her, somewhere she always feels welcome.  Some of her favorite summer Ekone activities?  “Helping campers improve their riding, throwing bales of hay, and seeing billions of stars every night!”

pronouns: she/her

Julia Hess

Julia first arrived at Ekone in 2010 as a camper with a fascination and love for horses.

She came for the horses and stayed for the incredible people that make up the Ekone community. Julia is excited to be part of the horse staff and to learn from the other staff, horses and campers. She has ten years of riding experience in western and english riding that compliments her knowledge of Ekone horsemanship. She loves how Ekone’s horse program is focused on developing communication and trust with the horses and enjoys getting to know all of their unique personalities. Julia also loves leading chore crews, helping with bedtime and doing service projects.

When she isn’t at camp, she can be found running, cooking, backcountry skiing or backpacking. She is from Whidbey Island and will be attending Whitman College this fall as a freshman.

Her favorite Ekone activity is coming up with fun, creative challenges for campers to do on horseback!

pronouns: she/her

Lilly Schlotzhauer

Lilly is a lover of all things beautiful and fun and loves to laugh. 

Lilly first came to Ekone as a 12-year-old in 2008 to visit her big sister, Shonie. Most of her visits were in the off season but she made it to camp twice and loved every moment of it. She started her journey as Summer camp staff in 2013 and hasn't been able to stay away since. As camp staff, Lilly brings all of her enthusiasm and 'I LOVE SUMMER CAMP' attitude to everything she does. She spends most of her time adventuring in the woods and helping the campers find magic in the most unexpected places.

When she is not at camp she lives in Upcountry Maui where she is pursuing a degree in early childhood education. She spends most of her time gardening, teaching at a preschool, and going to the beach. Her favorite summer camp activities are burrito night and wonder wanders through the forest. 

pronouns: she/her

Jo Schimpfoessl Cornejo

Ekone has been a second home for Jo since she was eight; her energy, playfulness and hard work aim to create that home for today's campers.

Jo was born in Germany and moved to the United States when she was three; she speaks four languages, (German, Spanish, English, ASL). She started coming to camp when she was eight and has been coming back ever since.
After graduating high school in 2019, Jo moved to Ekone for the year to further connect with the land, the creatures, and the community. Her favorite activities during camp are going on Supreme Adventures and connecting children with the horses and wild creatures of the land. When not working at summer camp, Jo likes to go on horse adventures, explore new places, hang out with her snake, Houdini and other creatures, snowboard, and go bouldering.

pronouns: she/her

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For a taste of Young Rider Camp, check out this 2018 slideshow:

Coming up!


So much fun and community and meaningful service!