MVA students interested in equestrian pursuits enjoyed summer camp activities at the MVA barn working with horses. Two different levels of camp were offered, Beginner Camp and Advanced Camp.
Beginner camp is for riders who are learning horse safety, basic horse information, how to ride, and basic care. These students are usually those who have never been on a horse, or if they have, it has only been for pony rides. Campers learn how to saddle up their horses and steer them on their own. By the end of the week, they start learning how to trot and keep their balance. The ground lessons teach things such as parts of the horse, parts of the saddle, basic horse care, and more.
Advanced camp is for riders who know how to walk and trot on their own already, and are starting to jump and canter. They learn jump techniques, proper body position, and how to rate the horse through a jump. Some of them also start to learn how to canter if they have learned to balance well. The advanced camp ground lessons are more in-depth than the beginner camp. Advanced campers go through an equestrian Masterclass on how to read horse body language, have “How-to Lessons” on subjects like clipping, round penning, measuring horse height and weight, and more.
According to Ms. Holly Roe, Equestrian Center Manager, the most challenging part is pairing the right horses with the campers, and campers learning how to ride that particular horse during camp. “All of the horses have different personalities, different quirks and a slightly different way of going so it can be a lot to manage through the week,” said Ms. Roe. “Each horse can teach its rider something new so it is always beneficial to try new horses. For our beginner campers, the biggest challenge is learning how to trot and steer their horses, while developing a new sense of balance and control over their body in order to help the horse go where they ask. Advanced campers tend to struggle with what we call the 2-point position or jump position. This has them standing slightly above the saddle, to get off of the horses back to allow it to jump, which requires a lot of core strength and balance. Throughout it all the goal is to have a fun and safe experience while gaining skills and confidence around these beautiful animals.”
Equestrian camp has concluded for the summer, but be on the lookout for an Open House in the fall to learn more about MVA’s equestrian program!