I don’t know about you, but growing up, I went to sleepaway horse camp in the summer. It was something I looked forward to every year. And even now, as an adult in my 30s, it’s the first thing that comes to mind when I take a stroll down memory lane and revisit the summer months I spent out of school and away from home.
The opportunities to ride all day and lounge in tents and campers at night with my fellow weird horse girls faded the older I got. By the time college came around, summer camp was something I got paid to do as an instructor. It wasn’t nearly as fun.
There are some interesting programs out there for adult amateurs to learn and to reach serious riding goals (though not enough, in my opinion). And there are even fewer opportunities for something that resembles an adult horse camp experience, which would offer fun things to do in and out of the saddle.
Well, I’m here to make the case for adult ammie horse camps. Hear me out.
Imagine a week spent at a beautiful farm or horse park with your horse and your best riding friends. The riding would be serious, hosted by acclaimed clinicians and professionals. But when you’re out of the tack, that’s when the fun begins.
Instead of taping the anatomy of a horse with Post-It notes on some sad lesson pony or learning how to do a proper standing wrap, we’d do a hardcore yoga sesh to open our hips and strengthen our core. Maybe we’d even do a SoulCycle class in the morning to get our juices flowing.
I dream of mimosas by the pool after a morning cross-country school, that maybe slides into an evening round of unashamed karaoke.
On an off afternoon, we’d take an Uber “back to civilization” to tour some local breweries or wineries.
But it’s not all about drinking. We’d visit the local tack stores too, to get our shopping fix.
Our “out of the saddle” learning time might be spent with a vet, or a bodywork professional, learning the ins and outs of beneficial stretches and new gadgets we could be using with our own horses. Who knows, maybe we could get human massages, too.
Maybe we’d have our own version of a “Horsemanship Quiz Challenge” because horsemanship is important no matter your age, or when you first got into riding.
In the evenings, we would confide in each other about our doubts, failures and our fears in this sport while sitting around a campfire. We’d lift each other up by squashing misconceptions and helping to instill confidence in one another. We’d revel in our similar battles to find more work-life balance, and thus, more time to spend at the barn. At the end of the night, we’d feel like we’re not alone.
I don’t know about you, but that’s something I’d be willing to fork over some of my hard-saved show budget dollars, and burn some of vacation days, for.