The day camp at Ashford Farm in suburban Philadelphia is for children ages 7 to 14 who are interested in learning the correct basics of horsemanship and riding in an atmosphere designed for both safety and fun.
What do they do at camp?
In addition to daily riding and horse care instruction, camp activities include arts and crafts, swimming and outdoor games. The program also features a camp picnic, field trips, a sleepover, a camp horse show and Parents Day.
How many campers are there?
Our enrollment is limited to 40. Beginner, intermediate and advanced groups are formed according to riding ability.
What should my child bring to camp?
- play clothes
- a sweatshirt for chilly days
- a bathing suit, towel and flip flops
Campers may leave their helmets, boots and crops at camp. Please be sure that your child’s name is on all of her/his belongings.
Is there anything she/he shouldn’t bring?
Campers are asked not to bring cell phones, portable music players or jewelry. The office phone is checked regularly for messages from parents and can be used by campers to make necessary calls.
What riding equipment will my child need?
Campers are asked to have the following items for riding:
- jeans or riding pants
- hard-soled shoes with a small heel or English riding boots
- an ASTM/SEI-certified helmet that has been fitted to your child
- an inexpensive crop
- a shirt that covers the skin to the waist (no midriff tops)
What about eating and drinking at camp?
Your child’s lunch should be packed in a lunch bag not a lunch box. All lunches are refrigerated. It is easy to become dehydrated while riding in the ring on hot summer days and access to water is important to your child’s comfort and health. The barn has a soda machine that dispenses bottled water ($1.25) and a water keg for everyone’s use is kept near the picnic tables, but your child is encouraged to bring a filled water bottle each day.
What happens during the camp day?
Campers arrive by 9:30 a.m., place their lunches in the refrigerator and take their belongings to the changing room. The campers then assemble at the picnic tables behind the barn to hear announcements and meet with their partners. Each team then grooms and tacks their horse and leaves with their group for the ring. While one partner rides, the other takes part in arts and crafts, and after an hour they switch. The partners meet again when riding is over to cool off and put away their their horse. After lunch each group participates in an afternoon activity that helps them learn more about horsemanship and horse care, followed by swimming at the Miquon School.
How are horses matched with riders?
Every week your child will be assigned a new horse and partner. A great deal of thought goes into
choosing the appropriate horses for the campers and their particular needs. To become a skilled rider, it is essential to be accomplished on many different horses. If the instructor feels that your child is over mounted or in any danger, be assured that your child will be remounted immediately. Campers are encouraged to express their feelings to their instructor if they feel nervous or tentative in any way — this enables us to help them deal with their fears first hand.
Are there any special events during camp?
A field trip takes place during each session of camp. Traditionally our trip to Dorney Park, followed by a sleepover at the barn, takes place during the first session. Second session field trips have included seeing horses in other settings such as a racetrack or a polo match. Permission slips are sent home a week in advance with detailed information about the trip. Campers are transported by a bus driven by a licensed driver and are accompanied by the Ashford staff as well as parent chaperones. Spending money and admission fees for field trips are additional costs that are not covered in camp tuition.
How does camp transportation work?
Campers may provide their own transportation to and from camp or choose to take transportation provided by Ashford. This service is available in the Chestnut Hill area and the eastern Main Line from Bala Cynwyd to Villanova. There is no morning bus on the day following the Dorney Park trip and sleepover. And there is no afternoon transportation on Parents Day.
If your child is signed up for transportation, we will call you with a pickup schedule one week before camp begins. Campers will be picked up and dropped off at the end of your driveway. The first few days may be off schedule as everyone adjusts to the new routine, but we will try our best to be on time. If your child is sick or not riding the bus on a given day, please notify the driver ahead of time.
Parents who provide their own transportation or car pool are asked to drop their children off no earlier than 9:15 a.m. in front of the stable. Pickup is at 3:45 in the same location. There will be a charge of $15 per day for children who arrive before 9:15 a.m. or stay later than 4 p.m. as part of our Before & After Camp plan.
What if my child takes medication?
It is a fact of life that some children take medications to help them focus and enjoy life. If your child takes medication for school, she/he also needs it for camp. We need the campers’ complete attention while they ride and handle the horses. Therefore, we ask you to keep your child on her/his prescribed dosage.
Are there any days off from camp?
There is no camp on July 4 and camp is a half day on the day after the Hershey Park trip and Parents Day.
Do you have a program for more advanced riders?
Yes! Ashford can take riders of all levels, but those who are looking for an overnight summer camp experience can attend New Meadow Farm. Our other farm located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia offers an experience second to none, with riding multiple times per day and opportunities to compete in horse shows and clinics.