Thank you to our campers for sending in their photos! Enjoy a few candids from the week. Videos to come!
Very rarely do we adults get to return to the simpler times of childhood summers: no school, free time to ride our pony, swimming in the hot hours of the day, attending summer camp – which is why Copper Meadows in Ramona, Ca. created Adult Summer Camp! It’s possible that summer camp as an adult is even better than Summer Camp as a kid, because wine. But seriously, take a week off of work and come to Copper to get lessons, meet new horsey friends, and learn a ton.
Here’s a recap of our 2021 Adult Summer Camp!
Campers arrived bright and early Tuesday, June 8 for the first lesson of the day: Getting to Know You Poles and Cavaletti. Taren Hoffos, trainer at Copper Meadows, taught all four camp groups through a lengthening and shortening exercise of three poles laid out in a straight line, each set at different distances. Campers cantered down the line in their working canter, counting strides in between poles, then worked on adding strides and leaving strides out. Deceptively simple, this exercise gave Taren a chance to get to know the campers and their horses, and definitely pointed out strengths and weaknesses of each rider and horse pair. The takeaway from the morning lesson: poles are hard!
Each group had a one hour lesson, then met with Dr. Daniel Oman of East County Large and Small Animal Practice for a talk about drugs and dosage. Dr. Oman brought with him a very handy Essential First Aid Kit for horses, complete with everything from bute paste to dexamethasone, gauze pads to ulcer guard, and instructions for administration on a laminated card. He explained all the items in the bag, what each is commonly used for, and the dosage of each. The First Aid Kits are for sale through ECLAP, and are a great addition to your barn and/or trailer!
After the afternoon talk, groups met again for a show jump lesson with Taren, putting their morning lesson to good use down related lines of jumps. Following the fun show jumping lesson, campers met for a welcome dinner of Mexican food and wine.
Day two brought in Olivia Loiacono-Putrino for cross-country lessons. Each group met on course and had 1 1/2 hours with Olivia schooling over Copper’s cross-country course. Olivia has taught at summer camp three years in a row, and is a crowd favorite for her positive and encouraging style of teaching.
Cross-country day is typically a tiring day for horses and riders, so the campers were rewarded with a yoga class taught by Lindsay Abbott of ADMA Elite Training. Lindsay led the class through stretches and balancing poses on the grass beneath the eucalyptus trees; a rider herself, Lindsay always tailors the session to equestrian athletes, focussing on the typically tight areas of hips and lower back. The one hour yoga session was relaxing and soothing, and most campers stayed on the grass after class to enjoy the mood.
After the restful yoga class, campers met in the evening with Tina Fitch, owner of Tina Fitch Photography to learn how to take better horse photos. Tina talked to campers about lighting, time of day, how to position your horse, and so much more about photography – mostly based on the cell phones we all use to capture our horses. She came prepared with examples of good and bad photos, and campers learned to recognize how background can affect pictures, and what to look for in terms of timing for dressage and jumping photos.
Day three and camp is flying by! Thursday at camp was focused on Dressage and Fun and Games. Half of camp began their morning with half hour dressage lessons with Grand Prix rider Robin Garrett, while the remaining half of campers met for Fun and Games – a throwback to old Pony Club games with egg on a spoon and sit-a-buck. Campers participating in the games vied for Dreamers and Schemers socks donated by Equestrian Habits. Each group did flatwork with an egg on a spoon, then completed a timed obstacle course all while balancing their precious egg! After the balance work, each rider sat with a dollar bill between their saddle and upper thigh, and worked to keep it there doing basic flatwork and then cavaletti. It was so fun to see campers enjoy these retro games – this was definitely a hit of camp!
Lunchtime Thursday brought Grand Prix dressage rider and L judge Terri Rocovich in for a talk called “From the Judge’s Perspective”. Terri talked through what judges are looking for in a dressage test, and campers watched two demo riders run through a Novice and Training test while Terri pointed out what she saw as a judge, where to improve, and what she liked. Campers had the opportunity to ask questions and go through some comments they had received on past tests.
Thursday afternoon the half of campers who had dressage lessons in the morning participated in Fun and Games, and the other campers had their lessons with Robin Garrett. After a long day of dressage and precision, campers met for Wine and Paint night, with paint and canvases donated by Ken Heskestad and Coronado High School. Campers expressed their artistic talents, which arguably improved with more wine and pizza.
Friday morning was another jumping day for campers, with hour group lessons focussing on jumping through a course at each group’s level of competition.
Lunchtime activities included Retro Crafts, donated by Carey Goodwin; campers made friendship bracelets and/or sewn boot-trees, all while sitting around the pool. For those not interested in crafts, a few hours by the pool were well spent.
Friday afternoon had campers scheduled to ride a dressage test for Terri Rocovich – hopefully they all paid attention to Thursday’s talk! Each camper rode their test and got feedback from Terri.
Friday night’s dinner was catered by Nutmeg, and titled You Made It! To close out the week of hard work, campers were treated to delicious food served poolside.
But wait! There’s more! Included in camp was Saturday’s Look B4 You Leap XC Clinic, taught by Taren. Copper Meadows hosts these clinics each month before their Sun Series one-day shows; each clinic is a two hour group jumping around the cross-country course in preparation for the show the next day. Campers joined groups and got in a second cross country schooling for the week, as some riders were planning to ride in the show the following day.
Adult Summer Camp is such a fun week at Copper, it is so great to see the improvement in each horse and rider combo, and watch their confidence grow. Check out the calendar for Copper’s upcoming events, and be sure to block off your week next summer for Camp!