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Horsing Around

By Katy Burbank  ::  Photography by Kelsey Grudle

As a kid, not much can beat a summer day full of riding horses, playing games and spending time with friends. Going home exhausted after a day jam-packed with fun and sunshine is one of the best feelings in the world. The Equestrian Center’s horse camps will give your little rider that sense of freedom found only in summertime and in riding horses.

Our horse camps cater to all ages and experience levels. Whether we have beginners or “been-there-done-that” riders, we always teach and remind our campers of the fundamentals of horsemanship and safety. Your camper will learn how to safely approach, groom and tack a horse. Throughout camp, each cowboy and cowgirl will learn how to ask the horse to walk, stop, turn each direction and navigate through a pre-set obstacle course. Our instructors have spent countless hours working with children and horses, so they know when a rider needs to be led or when to let them completely take the reins and trot off alone. We strive to safely push our riders to new limits every day. 

In addition to hours spent in the saddle, campers will learn about what it takes to properly care for a horse. They will learn all kinds of fun facts about horses and their behavior that will make them feel like equine experts. To cool off, our campers will spend time making theme-related crafts or playing water games. Often, a pony will appear that wants to be painted from mane to hoof by the kiddos. 

On the last day, campers take all of the horsemanship skills they have acquired throughout the week and hit the trail. It is always a huge favorite! Campers love our trail rides because they are both exciting and relaxing. They get to see new terrain out in the woods, and it is a place for their imaginations to run wild. 

Our campers typically end up with two major things by the end of our week: first, a better knowledge of horses and riding, and second, new buddies. We have seen many friendships come out of our camps. We split our campers into groups to maximize riding time, and these smaller groups allow children to get to know each other better as they work together throughout camp. 

Not only are camps offered during the summer, but we host camps when the kids are out of school for Spring Break, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Camps are a great way to decide if your camper really loves riding. If you have a child with that inevitable love of horses running through their veins, we highly recommend lessons. The Equestrian Center offers both English and western horseback riding lessons by some of the best instructors around. We also have a new show team, so if your child is looking for a competitive activity that will teach them responsibility, perseverance and poise while having fun, come talk to us! All of our current show team members started out with camps and lessons. 

If you have never been out, come visit us at the Equestrian Center. We provide a peaceful and quiet atmosphere on the west end of the Ranch. In addition to children’s programming, we also offer adult lessons and trail rides for our members and their guests. We have full boarding and pasture boarding with access to our arena, round pen and trails. We also offer training services for our members’ horses and will assist you with finding the right horse for your family if you ever consider buying or leasing your own horse. Ride on!

Susie Phillips is the Equestrian Manager at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. She can be reached at sphillips@cordilleraranch.com or 919.422.2256.

Katy Burbank is the Equestrian Event Coordinator at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. She can be reached at kburbank@cordilleraranch.com.