Western Riders Day Camp
For the horse lover! This program offers the chance to “just get out and ride.” Western Riders learn and grow in their riding skills, knowledge, and appreciation of horses.
Rising 6th-12th Graders
5-day weeks Monday-Friday, June 7–August 13, 2021
4-day weeks Tuesday-Friday, June 1–4 & July 6–9, 2021
HOW TO GET TO CAMP
Transportation provided to and from the Ranch from our
Morning Drop Off: 8:00–8:15am
Afternoon Pick Up: 4:45–5:00pm
$745 Weekly Tuition for 5-day week
$596 Weekly Tuition for 4-day week
Includes transportation to and from Foothills Community Park in Boulder, all activities, supervision, instruction, a light snack on the bus ride down in the afternoon, and 12–15 hours of horseback riding per week. Ride times are 3 hours each, in either the morning or afternoon, four or five days a week. (Learning and helping with tacking and untacking may be part of this ride time.)
THE CAMP DAY
Western Riders spend most of their time at the Barn and with the horses. Mostly, they ride. This is the horse lover's dream—Riders spend more than a double-long activity time (3 hours) as ride time 4–5 days per week. (Learning and helping with tacking and untacking may be part of this ride time.) The day is filled with other horse experiences and learning more about horses, building relationships with all the animals, caring for them and their living spaces, and working with them from the ground up.
All Western Riders are assessed on Mondays to determine the best fit for ride groups. When friends wish to be together, they are usually both placed in the Level 1 ride group, unless both are ready for Level 2. For Level 2, a rider needs to be skilled in loose-rein partnering with their horse and already be very comfortable in a Western saddle at the walk, trot, and lope or canter.
Riding is casual and comfortable for riders who then find that treating the horses gently readies them for partnership. Ride time consists of group and individualized instruction and usually includes a walking and trotting "open-range free ride" off trails through the meadows and forests of the Ranch premises, with loping or cantering at the end of rides. Expect coaching on individual skill development, games on horses, obstacle courses, trail rides, and practice riding at various gates and speeds.
For Western Riders, horseback ride times are generally three hours long, four or five days a week. When rides are scheduled for a Western Rider group, those campers do not participate in the daily morning or afternoon gatherings for flag-raising and flag-lowering, songs, and sharing. Instead, they head on over to the Barn in the morning and stay out longer for their afternoon ride.
RIDE LIKE THE WIND!
Riders gain confidence with riding each gate progressively, starting with the walk, then the trot, then the lope or canter. Each rider lopes or canters their horse on a designated stretch of trail or road one at a time for safety and to receive individualized pointers.
ANIMAL CARE & GROUNDWORK
First, Western Riders get comfortable with horses from the ground, exploring personal fears and respect for all the animals – the riding horses, our draft mule Tommy, our mini horse Tina, and nanny goats with kids. Groundwork includes relating with all the animals, hands-on grooming, tacking and untacking, routine health care, feeding, watering, mucking, and daily maintenance of the animals and their corrals. Become competent in catching, leading, bridling, and saddling horses.
WESTERN ART & ROPING
Learn to draw and paint horses and how to spin and throw the rope to catch "cattle" (horse troughs with horns) with names like Bertha and Tofu.
(Means "Horse" in Latin) Sit around at the barn area and share interesting facts about horses. Learn about breeds, colors, conformation, and the history of horses, as well as various riding styles and events.
When there is time for other Camp Activities, the Western riders will get a chance to try some of the favorites: ACTIVITIES PAGE
Please see our FAQ update for instructions on what to bring every day.
THE CMR HORSES
The Colorado Mountain Ranch horses are well-trained and treated with kindness. Therefore, they generally have good dispositions and a liking for people. They are strong and steady, come in all colors and sizes, and are kept shod for our rocky terrain. Our horses belong to us, so each horse is like family. They are old friends with us and the campers year after year. The local mountain country is wide open for exploring the pine and aspen forests and wildflower meadows in "Old West" style. At the Colorado Mountain Ranch, folks can still just "get out and ride" with excellent wranglers to supervise the experience.
GENTLE APPROACH AND MIKE WALKER
Mike has directed the Western Riding programs at The Colorado Mountain Ranch for over 35 years. His gentle, natural approach emphasizes communication, respect, trust, balance, and enjoyment for both horse and human. Mike has developed his own eclectic "horse-whisperer" approach to training and riding, through practice and study with famous trainers beginning with originals Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt. He builds a partnership rather than dominates, works with horses rather than breaks them, and fosters unity of mind, body, and spirit with the horse. His ways with horses are similar to those popularized by the "natural horsemanship" approach of Pat Parelli and Buck Branaman. Many horse people today refer to Mike as "the best horseman" they know. One of Mike's special gifts is sharing his horsemanship knowledge and abilities with others, especially children.
THE ROUND PEN
Western Riders may get a chance to observe Mike working in the round pen with a horse that is just starting out or could use a "tune-up." Mike's often humorous ongoing commentary introduces the Riders to Mike's and CMR's way of respectfully communicating with horses and people of all ages, children included, of course!
THE WRANGLERS AND WESTERN RIDING INSTRUCTORS
2021 boasts a high returnee rate among our riding staff who are familiar and practiced in Mike's way with horses. All wranglers arrive early for special training.
Horse Focus Camp is the only program of its kind in the Boulder area. Take advantage of this fantastic opportunity. Register early as sessions do fill up!
THE SAFETY OF THE CHILDREN AND THE HORSES IS THE HIGHEST PRIORITY
“Some horses will test you, some will teach you, and some will bring out the best in you!”
“Miller, in his 4th year at CMR and the first time in House Focus, declared, ‘it just keeps getting better and better!’ Thank you so much for providing such a wonderful and safe space for our children to have an authentic and real camp experience. We love you all!”
Brooke Davison, Parents of Miller & Chase