Every summer, we moms are faced with the same stress-inducing dilemma…what are we going to do with our kids all summer, and how are we going to keep them happy and busy? Many of us Akron area moms scour the local papers and websites for camps that might appeal to our kiddos. My girls had been bugging me for horseback riding lessons for some time now, so summer seemed like a good time to give it a go. We were thrilled for them to have the opportunity to attend horseback riding “Ranch Camp” at Larry’s Stables in Kent, OH, in exchange for my honest review of my daughters’ horseback riding camp experience.
Horseback Riding Ranch Camp at Larry’s Stables in Kent, OH
Each summer, Larry and his staff offer sessions of Ranch Camp. Camp is for 3 hours a day for 5 consecutive days. Campers ages 6 and up spend time grooming, tacking and riding the horses in a small group setting. Larry’s Stables prides themselves on keeping each Ranch Camp session small (about 15 kids) so campers get a lot of time actually riding, and also get a generous amount of assistance from counselors and trainers. The week my girls were there in June, campers were from ages 6-13, with a total of 12 campers.
Larry Hannum, the owner of Larry’s Stables and a retired school teacher, started each morning by sharing some horse facts with the kids. They talked about different breeds of horses, names for different types of horses, basic facts about what they eat, how much they eat, and how much it costs to buy, board and maintain a horse. My girls (and I!) found his conversations with the kids very informative. Did you know that Arabian horses have one less rib than the other horse breeds? Me neither, but my girls, the other campers, and I all learned that from Larry. 🙂
While other kids are taking their turns riding, campers have a chance to do some cool crafts. I have to say I was impressed with the quality of the daily crafts too – these weren’t the typical foamy picture frames from discount stores, but rather, items that kids young and old would want to hold onto. During craft time my girls made: Muck boot painted planters, hand-stamped leather bracelets, tie-dyed t-shirts, and painted horseshoe picture frames to name a few. Campers also had a chance to see the blacksmith shoeing horses, visit other farm animals, and play unstructured games with each other. Both of my girls came back from their week of camp with new friends – how cool is that?!
What Makes Larry’s Stable A Great Choice For Horseback Riding Camp?
My older daughter had been to another local farm for horseback riding camp a few years back. She had a good time, but as a parent, I wasn’t all that impressed. It certainly was not as well organized as Larry’s Stables Ranch Camp. By day two at Larry’s Stables, my girls were riding in the outdoor arena without a counselor holding onto the reigns. They were in heaven! Staff were always close by, but they also gave the campers the experience of riding solo as soon as they could see the campers were ready.
One child was very tentative on the first day. He wasn’t sure he wanted to ride at all. The staff spent time getting him comfortable with his horse, and before you knew it, he was up and riding, grinning from ear to ear. Another little girl there that week was incredibly shy and quiet. She blossomed on the back of the horse, seemingly unaware that she was allowing herself to be in the spotlight by answering questions during one of the games they played while on horseback. It was so neat to watch these kids gain confidence not only with the horses, but with themselves. My own Lila, who will be in first grade, was beside-herself happy while on horseback.
As a mom, it was so neat to see how wonderfully both of my girls connected with their horses, “Minute to Win It” and “Julius.”
Ranch Camp at Larry’s Stables has ignited a love for horses in both of my girls, and I see some further riding lessons in our future!
More Information on Horseback Riding Ranch Camp at Larry’s Stables in Kent, OH
There is one remaining Ranch Camp for Summer 2013. It takes place August 5th-9th, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Call 330.696.9286 for information and registration. Larry’s Riding Stables also offers private horseback riding lessons, and Birthday Parties! See the website for further details.
Larry’s Riding Stables
315 Johnson Rd
Kent, OH 44240
This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience. Thank you to Larry’s Stables who supplied the camp for review .