As avid equestrians themselves, Fernwood’s directors have very carefully crafted a horseback riding program based first on safety and suitability, but also on fun. The horses in our camp riding program are owned by Fernwood and are trained year round by our experienced full-time equestrian staff. This is somewhat unique in the camp industry, and allows us to have a variety of horses and ponies chosen for their suitability to our camp lesson program that spans from beginner riders to advanced girls who take part in competitive riding programs year round.
Our riding facility at camp consists of 2 barns with 15 stalls and 2 large riding arenas. It is conveniently located right on our campus, avoiding travel time to a separate riding facility.
Lessons are based on a balanced seat approach. A balanced seat not only allows the rider to stay securely on the horse, but it allows the horse to move in a more happy balanced way. The balanced seat is characterized by sitting tall and straight in the saddle with your weight balanced directly over the stirrup.
Girls are grouped by skill level for lessons, allowing them to progress at a comfortable and safe pace in a small group setting. Beginner lessons start with communicating with the horse and becoming comfortable with a large animal. We focus on good body position and add new skills and challenges as riders become comfortable with the fundamentals. Our most advanced riders work on more complicated concepts – controlling the horse’s stride, work without stirrups, engaging the hind end, gymnastics and jumping.
To round out a camper’s riding experience, time is also spent on stable management. Campers are encouraged to assist with horse care, feeding, first aid, tacking and un-tacking, bathing, and grooming.