Everything Your Child Will Need for Horse Camp
As horse camp is quickly approaching I have gotten a few questions on what to actually pack for your child when they are going to horse camp. Horse camp is a big deal for parents, not only are you sending your children away for the whole day but you know they will be around and riding 1000 pound animals, you want them as prepared as possible.
Below are my must haves for horse camp. My credentials you ask? I started attending horse camp when I was 6. By 8 I talked my mom into letting me go the whole summer. By 11 I worked as an unpaid counselor (and loved every minute). At 14 I officially became a counselor and worked as one every summer until I turned 20. Ive seen it all.
Horse Camp Must Haves
- WATER – this is the only one ill put in all caps and is clearly the most important. One water bottle won’t do it, especially on those really hot days. Some barn/camps may have water fountains or provide water bottles but more often than not they won’t. Best practice – freeze a water bottle and put it in your child’s lunchbox (see lunch further down). By lunch time it should be mostly melted but still very cold and refreshing. I also suggest purchasing one of these water bottles for the whole day. Even if your child is not riding all day, horse camp still involves a lot of walking and other physical exertion.
- Hat – Also top of the list. While your child is riding they will be wearing a helmet but otherwise I suggest a hat. This will keep sun off their face and out of their eyes, but also keep them a little cooler. Trust me, it works.
- Boots – Footwear can be tricky. Paddock boots are any easy go to, theyre comfortable so your child can wear them all day and not get blisters and they also provide the correct protection needed when working with horses. When I worked horse camp I saw a ton of kids come in sneakers. Understandably, parents don’t want to spend money on horse gear if this is just going to be a phase. Sneakers are okay, but really don’t provide the correct protection, some camps might not even allow them. If paddock boots are not an option just yet consider some other boots. Kids rain boots, cowboy boots and hiking boots would work also.
- Pants – Yes its summer and sometimes blistering hot but pants are still going to be the best choice for a few reasons. One, they will help you avoid painful rubs from the saddle or stirrups. Two, it will lessen annoying fly bites. Three, your child is going to be around all types of allergens, they may not be totally allergic but hay can cause a mean rash. Full riding pants aren’t necessary, stretchy jeans or thick leggings are fine. If your child insists on wearing shorts then make sure they pack some type of pants for riding or look into chaps (might not be worth it unless they are serious riders).
- Lunch – Most camps will require you to pack a lunch. Like I mentioned above a frozen water bottle is a good idea, it doubles as an extra freezer pack and a refreshing beverage. Otherwise anything easy is a good idea – a sandwich, some snacks, the usual.
- Sunscreen and Bug Spray – The travel size sunscreens and bug sprays are perfect. You never know when the kids will be going swimming or on a trail and just to be safe it’s best to give them their own.
- Address Book – Okay, I don’t know if this is relevant anymore. I see some six year olds with iphones and almost everyone older than 10 years has some sort of cell phone. But back in the day (aka 5 years ago) parents would send their kids to summer camp without a phone. If that is still the case then a small book with names and phone numbers of parents, older siblings, aunts/ uncles, ect. is good to have. The barn manager will probably have a number or two in case of emergency but it’s not a bad idea for your child to have backups.
- Cash/Change – Not a ton, a few singles and some quarters will do. Most barns now have drink vending machines and in case your kid drinks all their
- Treats – Fine, these aren’t a necessity but those ponies and horses work hard for your child and they deserve some apples and carrots. Plus most of the time every child’s favorite part of the day is when they can show off who they rode that day or
ho their favorite horse is and how they feed them. *Warning your childs favorite horse will change with whatever horse they ride that week so don’t get attached*
Barn Might Provide
Check with the barn manager before buying these items.
- Helmet –Your barn might have a bunch of helmets that children can use while at camp, however they may not be the best fit or the most clean. If your child is only going for a week then a bicycle helmet or a barn helmet will do. However if this seems like a long term passion (uh oh) then id suggest investing in their own helmet. Here some budget friendly options – Troxel, Basics, Dovewell
- Grooming Supplies – The stable will probably provide grooming tools but it doesn’t hurt to double check. If needed, this grooming kit is pretty cheap and has everything you’ll need.
Horse camp can be an awesome experience and being prepared makes all the difference in your child’s experience. When in doubt don’t be afraid to ask the barn owner or manager, they want your child to have good time as much as you do.