Are You Ready for Summer Horse Camp?

Summer horse camp season can be intense, but you’ll enjoy it more when you’re prepared with proven camp schedules, lesson plans, horsey crafts and fun unmounted activities.

As spring heats up, so does the planning for summer day camp!

This time of year may have you searching for fresh ideas for beginner riding camps or unmounted group activities. You might even be feeling a bit overwhelmed, juggling camp prep with all of the other activities you have going on in your lesson program.

We’ve been there. It’s a lot of work, and there isn’t much time to do it.

That’s why we’ve compiled our favorite resources for horse camps, right here in one single post

The materials linked below have all been used extensively over 14 years of running horse camps, from beginner to advanced, with every kind of specialty camp in between.

Some resource PDF files are free to download, while others require an LLPro membership.

If you don’t yet have a membership, you can still help yourself to all of the free materials – and if you like them, consider sharing them with another instructor, browsing the Resource Center for additional teaching tools, signing up for our e-newsletter or following us on social media!

Start with our basic beginner curriculum

Our Red Horsemanship and Red HorseSense Levels are designed to teach introductory riding and horse care lessons, so we’ve used them as the backbone of beginner day camps for years.

Students begin Day 1 with a lesson in horse safety and work up to riding independently at the walk, trotting with assistance, and teaming up on stable management tasks such as rebedding a stall and feeding horses.

Ready For Horse Camp With Mountain Trail Game

Every lesson, mounted or unmounted, includes plenty of hands-on action, challenges and games.

We’ve even had a few highly motivated campers complete one or both Levels in their first week of summer camp and earn Red Level ribbons!

Add some fun unmounted and mounted camp games

Summer camps give you the ability to organize fun group activities that may not work in a regular lesson schedule…


Horsey games are great icebreakers and can be used to fill unmounted hours while your horses have some downtime.

These two blogs contain an overview of our 10 most popular camp activities for groups, with links to printable materials:


Of course, you can also have plenty of fun and games in the saddle! Here are a few of our horse camp favorites from our Facebook page:

Weathering the weather at horse camp with unmounted activities

One of the goals of summer camp is to for kids to enjoy the great outdoors — but maybe not during a thunderstorm, or when the heat index is dangerously high!

We’ve learned the importance of having LOTS of indoor activities to choose from, so that campers can still have a good time even if the weather keeps them out of the arena.

Create a list of portable unmounted activities that are suitable for the age and experience level of each camp. Best case scenario, you won’t have to use this list at all, but you’ll be prepared if your schedule falls apart!

Unmounted Games Horse Camp

We like to fill rainy days with educational activities such as pony pictionary, scavenger hunts, Level Up BINGO, model horse farm design and shopping sprees.

You can pair quiet time with Stuff Happens Cards or online Quizlet games.

Or you can get students moving by having them act out equine body language and practicing training skills on each other.

You’ll find downloads for ALL of these educational activities in our Resource Center.

And more ideas for flexible unmounted activities:

Get crafty: it just wouldn’t be summer camp without a few horsey crafts!

Beside classic camp crafts such as horseshoe painting, tie-dye and pool noodle ponies, here are a few artsy activities our students have enjoyed:


Decorating browbands or nosebands with colorful ribbon is an easy way for students to “dress up” their favorite camp horse.

Schedule this activity right after a tack cleaning lesson, when bridles are already disassembled and clean.

bridles with colorful ribbon browbands hanging in tack room

Provide an assortment of ribbon colors and our printable bridle wrapping instructions, then demonstrate the wrapping process.

Once students have finished their wraps,  follow it up with a team bridle assembly game!


Let campers create a collage of their horsey hopes and dreams — or if you have the ability to print photos, a scrapbook page immortalizing their camp experience.

For years, our campers created pages for a special scrapbook we kept at the front of our barn. New and old campers, students and parents loved looking through this “Memory Book” and seeing all of the images of previous camps!


We went the extra mile and clicker trained one of our lesson ponies to wield a paintbrush… but if even if your horses aren’t yet THAT talented, they can still collaborate with campers on a piece of equine art.

Have your campers apply stickers and vinyl letters to a canvas, add generous dollops of paint, then cover with plastic wrap.

Sprinkle some grain or grass pellets over the top of the wrapped canvas and the horses will smear the paint around with their muzzles.

Painting With Ponies At Horse Camp

Remove the plastic to allow the paintings to dry. Peel off the stickers to produce the finished work of art.

Just make sure to use nontoxic poster paint – the kind used by toddlers – in case your plastic coating malfunctions!

Add some Pony Play Time to your horse camp schedule

Camp is only possible because of our patient, hard-working horses, so create opportunities for your campers to show them some love.

This could include incorporating some of the relationship-based activities from the HorseCentered Curriculum. We’ve found that campers at all ages and levels of ability particularly appreciate the Collaborative Grooming and Equine Enrichment lessons.

Your horses might also like some freshly-baked horse treats made with love!

It’s horse camp show time!

One of our favorite camp traditions is the end-of-camp showcase.

Students give their horses an extra-special grooming and put on their tie-dyed camp T-shirts before saddling up for a final ride in front of family and friends.

This informal show format allows each camper a chance to perform solo and accommodates horse sharing.

Camp shows are not competitive; instead, students ride through an obstacle course to music. Each obstacle on the course represents a skill they’ve learned during their week of camp.

At the end of the show, campers take a final parade around the arena, look after their horses, and gather for popsicles and awards!

End Of Camp Show Obstacle Course

Niche down with specialty horse camps

Don’t forget about camps for your current students!

Advanced and speciality camps can be equally valuable moneymakers and allow your loyal lesson students to experience a camp geared toward their skill level and interests.

You can find sample schedules for our most popular horse camps in these blog posts:

How can you make horse camps fun for instructors, too?

Summer horse camp season can be intense, but you’ll enjoy it more when you’re prepared with proven camp schedules, lesson plans, and fun group activities.

And adding variety to your lineup of activities will help you, your horses and your helpers stay fresh… and create lots of happy campers!

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We’ve been blessed with many talented photographers over the years: students who voluntarily stood in sweltering/ freezing arenas, capturing lifelong memories of lessons, camps and shows. We’re grateful to all of them!

One former student, Delaney Witbrod, is now a professional photographer with a gift for animal portraits – see more of her fine work here. We’re also grateful for photos of Western riding donated by LLPro instructors – particularly Bit of Pleasure Horse School and Joyful Hearts Photography!

You’ll find illustrations throughout our online courses and printed materials graciously donated by our friend Rhonda Hagy. Evan Surrusco contributes additional illustrations and handles most of our photo processing. Contact us for information about their work.

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