New Horseback Riding Video!

Horse TeenagerYou 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!

Big (Horse) Hug!

Horse Riding Girl Summer CampHug 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!

Why do Kids Love Horseback Riding?

Kids Riding HorsesWhy 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 and fuels their confidence, perhaps because it’s 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?

A Camp of Horses

horses riding summer campLet’s talk horses! Every summer at camp we have a herd of easy-going ponies as well as excellent, schooled horses for our riding program. Some of these are owned by Rockbrook and others by St. Andrews University Equine Program, but all of them work year-round staying in shape for their 12 weeks of summer riding in the mountains of North Carolina. Rockbrook is definitely a camp of horses!

So without further ado, here are some of the horses returning to Rockbrook this summer. Most of them were at camp last summer too. Do you recognize any of them?

Annie — black mare, 13.2
Danny — bay gelding, 14
Buddy — grey gelding, 14
Lacy — strawberry roan mare, 13.1
Moe — chestnut gelding, 16.2
Oliver — chestnut gelding, 16.2
Woody — bay gelding, 16
Special — chestnut gelding, 15
Louie — brown gelding, 15.3
Robbie — brown gelding, 15.3
Bruce Leigh — bay gelding, 15
Fritz — bay gelding, 16.2
Deacon — brown gelding, 15.2
Emma — bay mare, 14.3
Watson — chestnut gelding, 15.2
Bailey — bay gelding, 15.3
Quincey — chestnut gelding, 15.2
Gilmore — bay gelding, 16
Nikita — bay mare, 16
Gordon — grey gelding, 16.2
Profound — chestnut gelding, 16
Katie — grey mare, 15.3
Naxos — bay gelding, 16.1
Pepi — bay gelding, 14.2
Reagan — chestnut gelding, 15.2

Isn’t that exciting!!? So, which horse do you want to ride?

Let’s Canter!

Riding Horses CanterAfter you feel comfortable controlling your horse in a walk, and learning to post while trotting your horse, the next step is to learn how to canter. The canter is a 3-beat riding movement of a horse that is faster than a trot but slower than a gallop. It’s a very natural gait where the first beat you hear is either the left or right hind leg. The second beat is the opposite hind leg and its opposite fore leg together, and the final beat is the fore leg opposite the first beat. Riding the canter involves the hips moving forward and backward slightly while keeping the rider in the saddle. It’s kind of a back and forth sweeping motion rather than an up and down motion like when you post. One important tip is to not pull on the reins for balance; this makes it more difficult for your horse to more forward as he needs. There are lots of types of canter to learn as well (“working,” “collected,” and “extended” for example), but in any case its great fun to learn this technique as you develop your horse riding skills at camp.

Girls Riding

girls riding horses at Rockbrook horseback summer camp

Girls riding horses— it’s a daily thing at Rockbrook. Our horseback riding program is easily one of the most popular, if not the most popular, activity at camp. It certainly is the most elaborate with all the horses (26 in all!), instructors (6 or more), facilities (two barns, 6 different pastures, miles of fence, jumps, rails, standards, etc.) and equipment (tack – saddles, pads, girths, stirrups, bridles, etc.). It’s a big operation! All of this allows us to have simultaneous classes and therefore a lot of riders participating at once. It lets Rockbrook offer riding at different skill levels with the right mount, class and instructor. No matter how much experience you have riding, you’ll be able to grow more comfortable and skilled in your riding.

Recognize this big guy?  It’s our 17.1 hand thoroughbred gelding, Gordon!

Horseback Riding Lessons at Camp

horseback riding girl camp lessonThe horseback riding activity at camp is a nice combination of learning, riding, and fun with all things horse and riding related.

With the great instructors and amazing horses down at the Rockbrook Riding Center, you learn so much about taking care of the horses and the operation of the barn (which is no small thing for 26 horses!). In the horseback riding lessons, you ride of course, but you also learn how to improve your riding skills and to become more comfortable on the horse. All of this is great fun, if you’re a little “horse crazy.” But even if horseback riding isn’t your number one thing to do, you’ll still enjoy being down at the barn with your friends, and you’ll learn a bunch too.

Advanced Riders at Rockbrook Camp

Horse Riding Girl at Summer Camp

“Can I learn more advanced riding skills at Rockbrook Camp?”

The director of our riding program, places each camper who wants to ride at camp in a class with girls of similar ability, and assigns each camper an appropriate mount. This could be a gentle pony for a younger beginner, or a schooled hunt-seat horse.

With outstanding horses from St. Andrews College and Sweet Briar College, as well as the camp’s own horses, and with skilled instructors who work with horses and teach riding year-round, Rockbrook horseback riders are set to learn. It’s so great to ride an excellently schooled horse, and have fresh, appropriate instruction for your riding. Advanced riders can learn to post the trot, canter and jump. No matter what your level, the horse riding program at RBC is ready.

Advanced riders are always excited to ride at Rockbrook!