You know what the best thing about living in Victoria, BC is? The fact that you can play outdoors year-round without freezing or wearing snow boots . . . you just have to be comfortable with a lot of rain. Thankfully summer is on its way and with that even warmer weather, the end of the school season and summer camp! One of the best ways to spend summer break outside is at a horseback riding camp in Victoria. And you don’t have to be a cowboy to do it!
Horseback riding camps usually require that you have your own equipment (heeled boots and a helmet) so be sure to check with the camp prior to arriving. It’s also a good idea to pack sunscreen because your child will be spending a lot of time outdoors!
While horses are big, they’re certainly not scary. Experienced coaches will teach your child horse safety (like watch out for those hooves!) and proper horse handling. For the most part horses are really just gentle giants and horseback riding camps for kids have horses that are used to young riders and they know to behave themselves! Kathy Harrison, head instructor at Harrison School of Horsemanship confirms that their horses have been “specially selected for their quiet and calm natures so as to be as safe as possible for young, beginner riders”.
There are a number of horseback riding camps for kids in Victoria. The ones I recommend are as follows:
Located in North Saanich, Harrison School of Horsemanship offers summer horseback riding camps for beginner/intermediate riders. The daily camp schedule includes English riding lessons, trail rides, cart driving with their adorable miniature horse, Rio, and other fun activities like horse-themed games! Kathy says that children also learn horse psychology: “riding horses involves dealing with another living creature, and it takes a lot more than knowing which button to push to learn to do it well. Riding could be a lifelong interest for your child and along the way it will teach them patience, perseverance, confidence, poise, responsibility, problem solving and much more.” Their horseback riding camps are for kids 7 to 16 years and cost $300 for a four-day camp.
This beautiful farm in Central Saanich offers both half-day and full-day camps that are suitable for beginner to intermediate riders. The programs include riding lessons, horse care and safety around horses. Braes Mhor has camps in March and May, offered through Saanich Parks and Recreation. These camps are for kids aged 7 to 13 and cost $49 for a four hour day camp.
Valla Vista in Central Saanich does all kinds of horseback riding camps! They offer spring, summer, fall and three-day weekend camps for kids of all horseback riding ability levels. Terry Cardin of Valla Vista says that the advanced kids also learn how to coach younger kids while learning to ride dressage or hunter jumper. “A lot of our riders go to to the show ring and compete at their level of riding,” she adds. At Valla Vista kids learn grooming, how to clean tack (riding equipment like saddles), and how to clean stalls, and they also learn about the different types of horseback riding such as Western, English and side saddle. Their week-long camps are half-day for younger kids and full-day for older kids. The cost is $250 for the half-day and $400 for the full-day camps.
Cedar Vista, located on the border of Langford and Metchosin, offers basic riding camps for beginner and intermediate riders. Like other camps, kids learn not only how to ride a horse but how to look after and love it. Riding camps include riding lessons, fun rides, stable management and theory lessons. They get to practice bathing the horses, caring for equipment and even learn about feeding, shoeing and horse anatomy! The smaller camp sizes (max. 12 participants) and experienced coaches offer friendly and knowledgeable instruction.
Alpine Stables offers half day, full day and overnight horseback riding camps in Cobble Hill. These camps are all about horses and more! Along with grooming and safety, and riding lessons kids also get to try bareback riding (no saddle), swimming and participate in arts and crafts. On the Friday of camp family and friends are invited to grand finale, a horse show and games day where kids get to show off their improved riding skills! Half day camps are $300, full day camps are $425 and the overnight camps are $595.
Let your young rider experience true horsemanship with friends this year at a horseback riding camp in Victoria, BC! They’ll spend the time outside with friends and their favourite furry (and beautiful) beasts.
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