Camp Horse Assignments

ADK WildHorse Camp horse assignment process for resident campers involves determining an appropriate mount for the right camper. It takes an average of two to three days to determine what fits a child best at camp. The staff at camp looks at body structure, personality, experience and athletics to see which horses are best suited for your child's abilities. If the girls are beginners, they may share an assigned horse.  In the past, we had experienced that some of the camp's girls were assigned the same horse due to similar ability levels. When this happens, the girls still get one-on-one lesson time with the instructor, while being part of a small group either in the morning or in the afternoon, or both. Lesson frequency is dictated by the willingness of each participant as the goal is to form a class.
Lake Clear, NY 12945 Phone: 518.302.6227 © Copyright 2016 ADK WildHorse Ranch. All Rights Reserved
5 Point Assignment Process:
The camp staff refers to the riding questionnaires that were originally submitted by parents and campers. After gathering horses, the campers are grouped together and take turns riding each test horse in either the indoor or outdoor arenas. The first set of horses are mellow and calm in temperament to determine each rider's abilities. The second set of horses are selected for the purposes of permanent mount assignments and can vary in spirit. Most of our riders are trained in English, however, we always have a few that are western. The camp has a variety of western and english horses to choose from. From the answers and riding tests, the staff determines if the child is ready for a schooling horse or for a more spirited mount such as a Thoroughbred.
A rider has to have good balance before attempting to learn how to jump. This is an imperative part of horsemanship, as we take safety seriously. At WildHorse Camp, we do not have schooling jumpers that are generally older horses who are trained to jump over obstacles at a slower pace. The camp jumpers are usually higher spirited horses with a personality - thus we would like to teach our students how to work with an experienced Thoroughbred, step by step. In most cases, the girls that do enroll into our programs are well versed in jumping between 2" to 3'6 and can handle spirited horses. Our methods of riding English encourages the rider to concentrate more on balance and "staying off the horse's mouth" by conditioning the rider's leg. To put it simply, the riding staff rides the horses with a gentle touch, promoting a more advanced relationship with the horse, rather than using force.
Once the girls have been assigned their horses, they are shown how to catch them in the field, fit the proper bit and saddle, groom, review any personality quirks, tack them up in the stables, take them up into the outdoor arena or the indoor arena, and learn how to mount them without assistance. On the first day, the riders learn how to safely dismount their horses by practicing emergency dismounts and then continuing into their first lesson of camp. In addition, most of our horses require wraps on their legs, therefore assistants teach how to wrap without causing the horse issues with proper movement. 
The instructors start off with leads at the canter or lope, progress into involved transitions, more complex rein, leg and seat aids, backing, improving the seat at the trot and canter, riding bareback, ring figures. Western riders begin turn backs on the rail (a training movement, preparing for roll backs) English riders work on basic dressage movements, riding on contact, lines of fences, new types of jumps, and simple courses up to two feet. Trail riding includes considerations for longer rides, securing horses on the trail, cook out or picnic rides, trail courtesy, environmental issues, and cantering on trail

Once the riding ability of the campers has been determined and they are ready, English riders progress to work on dressage movements requiring flexion and bending, lengthening and shortening, half halts, leg yielding, turns on the forehand and haunches, and lead changes. The girls who jump will practice gymnastic jumping,  jumping combinations, cross country, more complex courses, and rating the horse for better take off point and control. The camp's Western riders work includes perfecting transitions, balanced stops from the lope, pivots, side passing, lead changes, roll backs, head set and collection. In that segment, trail riding includes conditioning for long rides, with each trail having different levels of difficulty. This is also the time when advanced girls can practice jump obstacles.
One Horse per Camper : 70% of of ADK campers have their own exclusive horse assignments. Approximately 30% of campers have dual horse assignments. We find that some beginner riders or girls that have never ridden before, benefit from having a horse assigned to two individuals instead of one. One of the most important benefits is that the campers learn from each other's skills. When horse personalities vary, it is important that all of ADK campers understand their horses' language first. Campers gain knowledge from their peers voluntarily which improves their riding skills and communication inside as well as outside of the riding ring. Friendships between resident campers are of great value and are nourished and encouraged throughout the duration of summer camp. For more information on horse assignments, please go to: 1 Horse per Camper