New Horseback Riding Video!

February 13, 2012
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You can learn a lot about the Rockbrook horseback riding program by reading through the many resources on our Web site. We’ve written about being an advanced rider and a complete beginner. We’ve talked about our horses, our staff, even some of the games we play in addition to our mounted lessons.

Now we have a new video to show you! It’s a great way to see our horses and riding program in action. Cara, our Equestrian Director, explains the philosophy and main goals of the Rockbrook program. Go ahead an check it out… And share it with your friends!

Riding English

October 14, 2011
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English Equestrian Horse and Saddle

At Rockbrook, our camp Equestrian Program teaches “English Riding” as opposed to “Western Riding.” But what is the difference between these two forms of horseback riding?

One difference you’ll notice right away, even before mounting your horse, is in the saddles. Western saddles are wider and deeper, with a very prominent horn toward the front. These are stable, comfortable seats designed for the cowboy (or girl!) who needs to spend a long time in the saddle. English saddles are smaller and lighter to allow the horse the greater freedom of movement required for the different hunter jumper gaits. And again, they don’t have a horn.

Other parts of the tack are different too. The reins are closed (left and right sides connected), the stirrups are shorter, and the bit is softer in the horse’s mouth in English Riding.

With these differences, naturally how you ride English is different from Western riding. As opposed to Western riding’s use of the reins, English horseback riding relies much more on balance and the rider’s legs to control the horse. In English riding, the rider is often up and out of the seat (two point, posting and jumping for example), as opposed to the seated position in Western riding.

Add to that learning to walk, trot, canter, dressage and jumping techniques, and you can see that learning English horseback riding is a wonderful sport.

Meet Snowflake

April 8, 2011
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Camp Pony SnowflakeCamp Horse Snowflake

Do you remember Cool Beans from last summer? He was the white Welsh Pony who quickly became a star of the barn, well-loved particularly by the horseback riding juniors. Such a wonderful horse! Well, we have great news to pass along. Beans is coming back to Rockbrook this summer! And even more exciting, he’s bringing along his friend Snowflake, another sweet Welsh Pony.

Here’s Snowflake, who is also known as Cloud Nine, at a horse show where he was the Leadline champion (see that blue ribbon?). A “Leadline” competition is where children ride (usually walk or trot) while an adult leads their horse in-hand. The judging varies, but usually focuses on the child’s overall position— seat, leg and hand. Of course appearance is important too! :-)

We can’t wait for you all to meet Snowflake and to say Hi to Cool Beans again this summer. Who do you want to ride?

Horse Girls of all Ages

February 28, 2011
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Teen Horse Girls

One common question about our horseback riding program is whether all the girls at camp, from the smallest kindergartners to the oldest teenagers, can ride while attending Rockbrook. The answer is yes! We are very careful to tailor our riding lessons to accommodate both absolute beginners as well as those teen horse girls who want to spend as much time as possible at the equestrian center.

For those girls who are brand new to riding, camp is a perfect place to develop their interest and take their very first ride. They will learn important safety rules, how to mount, riding positions, how to communicate with their horse, and so much more. They will get to know some of the experienced, gentle ponies Rockbrook has especially suited for beginning horseback riders.

For older, and more advanced horse girls, there are special mounted lessons to match their ability as well. The Rockbrook horseback riding program is ready to teach more difficult riding techniques and likewise has great, well-schooled horses for skilled riders.

There’s horseback riding for everyone at Rockbrook!

Riding Lessons at RBC

November 16, 2010
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Girls Camp Riding Class

The typical lesson at Rockbrook’s riding camps match up girls with similar horseback riding experience and skills. This allows the equestrian instructors to tailor each lesson to the right level for the young girls in that class. Even though our youth riding camp lessons happen every day except Sunday, and even though campers tend to have the same 2-4 other girls in their class, it’s also possible for each rider’s assigned horse to change over the course of their camp riding lessons. The instructors make those changes based on how a young rider is doing in the lessons.

Each lesson also focuses on a specific forward seat (English Hunter Jumper) riding skill, generally. Everyone in the class might work on learning to post at a trot, to canter, or even jump their horse, for example. This is great because the riding instructors can coach each girl individually but also make suggestions that may benefits all of the riders in the class. It’s an ideal way to teach youth riding.

Like for all the activities at Rockbrook, when girls take horseback riding they learn a lot and improve their skills, but they have tons of fun doing it.

Horseback Riding Videos

September 6, 2010

Girl Horseback Riding Horse

Let’s say you love horseback riding, and you spent just about everyday at the Rockbrook Stables when you were at camp this summer. Certifiably “horse crazy” —that’s you! OK, but now that you’re back at home and not riding as much (if at all), what can you do to keep up with what you learned over the summer? Horseback riding at Rockbrook is great, but what can you do now that you’re back at school?

One thing you can do is watch the instructional horseback riding videos over on There are several really cool short videos about English horse riding with titles like How to Improve Your Classical Seat, How to Canter, and How to Tack a Horse. Several were filmed at Wimbleton Village Stables in London, and are very well done. Click on over and have a look at a few of these videos. You’ll really enjoy it!

P.S. Have you seen our Rockbrook Horseback Riding Video?

Ready to Ride!

June 4, 2010
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Girls Summer Riding Camp

Everything is coming together down at the Rockbrook equestrian center in preparation for this summer. Here’s a quick note from Cara, the Equestrian Director.

Many of the most popular horses are back like Gordon, Annie, Woody, Reagan, Buddy and Fritz. We have some new horses that we think you’ll love. Happy is a 16 hand Warmblood mare that has been a successful show hunter. Tobie is a Halflinger pony that does therapeutic riding during the school year. He is so fat and adorable! We can’t wait to show him off to everyone!

The Barn Staff has many surprises for riders this summer and is ready for campers to arrive!

Campers arrive at camp this weekend and we’re ready to ride!

Big Hug!

April 16, 2010

Horse Riding Girl Summer Camp

Hug your horse!

Why would you do that? Well, it’s because you love your horse. He or she becomes a really good friend of yours at camp. Like all good friends, you’ll grow closer with good communication, trust, and consistency. Horse riding requires all of these, and over time riders and their horses become more and more responsive to each other. A real emotional bond begins to form, a real feeling of care.

That’s what we mean when we say at camp you can “befriend a special horse.” Riding, you’ll develop a special relationship with someone wonderful. It won’t take long; soon you’ll be hugging your horse too!

Love Horseback Riding

March 4, 2010

Kids Riding Horses

Why do kids love horses so much? Certainly they enjoy the fun of riding. They like the freedom of being up high, the challenges of learning how to work with such a large powerful animal, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from perfecting different gaits. It’s easy to understand how being able to ride is a big part of being “horse crazy,” but don’t you think it’s a lot more than that?

And let’s not forget the physical exercise that goes along with horseback riding, and the bugs, and the stable chores. Some of the things about horses are definitely “work” too. So what is it that gets kids, and perhaps girls in particular, so excited about horses?

One way to think about it is to focus on the friendship that forms between a horse and a rider. It’s a big part of riding— communicating sincerely, trusting, respecting, sympathizing, really feeling the horse. Horseback riding creates a very intimate and powerful relationship that kids really appreciate, perhaps because its so different from most of their other daily human relationships. Beings friends with a horse, in this special way, is a big part of what makes riding so important to kids.

What do you think? Do you love riding because you love your horse?