Certified Horsemanship Association Experts Offer 11 Tips on Developing an Equestrian Camp Program

Two Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) Certified Instructors and equestrian camp experts share tips with professionals wishing to start a camp program. Teddy Franke, a CHA Master Instructor and Clinician, currently manages Morrow Ranch Camp in Wamic, Oregon. Corinne Lettau, a CHA Level 4 English and Level 2 Western Certified Instructor, owns Denver Equestrians, LLC in Littleton. In addition to the following tips from Lettau and Franke, CHA has multiple programs and certifications that can help camp managers develop and run their programs.

  1. Always use safe horses. CHA has a variety of educational materials, including its CHA Standards for Equestrian Programs, its CHA Composite Horsemanship Manual, and The Equine Professional Manual: The Art of Teaching Riding, along with articles published in The Instructor magazine and the blog post, “Finding a Great Lesson Horse: What to Look for and Consider Before You Shop.” Any of these resources can help educate professionals find a safe horse and develop a safe facility, since safety is paramount for campers. Camp managers will need to determine if their current horses should be used in a camp program or if they need to purchase or lease new horses and what qualities a camp horse should have.
  2. Use CHA Certified Instructors. One of CHA’s first blog posts looked into “Why You Should Find a Certified Riding Instructor,” many of the reason also apply to why a certified instructor should be employed for a camp program. CHA riding instructors have been thoroughly tested at a certification clinic to ensure they can teach safely, effectively, and while providing a fun lesson. CHA certified instructors are tested on five important areas needed for a good instructor: safety, horsemanship knowledge and ability, teaching techniques, group control, and responsibility and professionalism. In addition, having instructors with a certification shows the professionalism of your camp program and that you value hiring knowledgeable staff.
  3. Develop organized lesson plans. Camp instructors and managers can learn how to develop quality lesson plans through CHA’s continuing education opportunities. Sessions at the CHA International Conference, Regional Conferences and at a Certification Clinic often showcase how to plan lessons and organize lesson plans.
  4. Develop fun games and horse-related educational activities for the kids. The key to this is to make sure the activities are safe, and since a camp is already using safe horses and has a CHA instructor, then this is a good start. It’s just a matter of letting creativity fly.
  5. Provide an outline for the parents so they know what to expect. Good communication is always important between staff, parents, and campers.
  6. Develop leaders. One great way to empower staff and to help them succeed is to send staff to CHA skills workshops, regional conferences, the CHA International Conference, and other continuing education events within the horse industry. This allows staff to learn the latest in horsemanship, horse care, horse training, riding, and teaching students.
  7. Follow standards. CHA provides a set of industry standards for group riding programs. The standards provide the solid foundation for instructors and for your facility. If not CHA, find an organization that clearly defines your operational practices. This will help you ensure that your program is up to par. For all of CHA’s standards, read the “CHA Standards for Equestrian Programs” manual.

For all 11 tips, and a list of questions that camp managers can use to evaluate their needs and determine what needs to be done before those first campers arrive, please visit the complete blog post at http://cha-ahse.org/store/blog/developing_a_horse_camp.html.

CHA Instructors Change Lives Through Safe Experiences with Horses. The purpose of CHA is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the horse industry. CHA certifies instructors and trail guides, accredits equestrian facilities, publishes educational manuals, produces educational horsemanship DVDs and YouTube Safety shorts, and hosts regional and international conferences. For more information on the largest certifying body of riding instructors and barn managers in North America, Certified Horsemanship Association, please visit www.CHA.horse or call 859-259-3399.  To find a certified horseback riding instructor or accredited equine facility near you, visit www.CHAinstructors.com.

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