Vermont Horseback Riding Camp for Girls
You won't find many "push button" horses at Brown Ledge Camp. That's because we firmly believe in order to ride you have to do much more than just sit there. From its beginning over 80 years ago, Brown Ledge set for itself the task of really teaching horsemanship, refusing to be satisfied with the ordinary policy of merely providing an opportunity to ride. It is for this reason that its string of approximately 32 horses includes both the safe type for beginners, and the challenging type of mount that requires the best efforts of more experienced riders. It is for this reason, too, that its instructors, during all this time, have been men and women skilled in teaching; thorough–going, avid advocates of the science and art of horsemanship. Those who look to Brown Ledge for leadership in riding may expect to have a high standard of horsemanship maintained.
Since Brown Ledge girls ride each weekday of the camp season, they are bound to show more progress than in a year of casual or "one lesson a week" kind of riding. Brown Ledge girls make progress that is genuine and measurable.
On the first day of the camp season every girl is given a brief, screening test to determine her relative ability. If she is a beginner, with no experience, she is placed in beginners' class, regardless of age. If she has ridden before, but has had no instruction worthy of note, she will find herself in the next highest group, and so on–up to the classes containing the most experienced campers.
From then on each class within the Brown Ledge riding program is given instruction daily, Monday through Friday. The progress of each rider is followed and discussed by the riding staff. Periodically, new class groupings are made to allow for changes in skill. Thus a girl who makes unusually rapid progress may move up quickly. Importantly, all riding classes are strictly limited in size.
A series of inter–camp horse shows, and a full in–camp horseshow, provide the opportunity each summer for Brown Ledge riders to demonstrate newly acquired skills and gain experience riding in a competitive environment. More advanced students may also learn how to set–up and run such shows and events.
Twice during each summer the junior counselors in riding conduct a series of try–outs to select members for the famous Brown Ledge Mounted Drill Team. This marvelously coordinated horse drill, designed and led by campers, is performed without command and to music, with the riders in uniform (furnished). Parents may see it each year at our own horseshow. Every girl who has ever seen the drill perform would give almost anything to "make the team."
Due to the absence of special riding fees, the camp is able to control the entire policy of this department, thus making riding a solid part of the whole program – not a side issue – nor a special privilege for a chosen few.
The camp owns enough of the extensive string of horses and equipment to insure continuity of quality. While we cannot guarantee there will be no changes in our instructional staff nor in the individual horses from year to year, we do guarantee the general quality of our program.
We are very proud of the 2012 renovation of our Brown Ledge Stables. Each horse has his own box stall, and each stall has cross ties creating a safe environment for grooming, and tacking up.
Riding: Two Distinct Lines of Interest
There are, in our experience, two very distinct lines of interest among girls who ride: those who eagerly absorb all of the instruction they can get; who want to show and event; who hope to someday be owners and trainers. And those, equally important, who think of riding as pure recreation, who want instruction aimed at giving them the skill necessary to enjoy – with safety – the pleasure of being able to handle a horse with confidence. The Brown Ledge horsemanship program answers the aims of both groups.
We believe that no girl can learn to ride safely and well without proper riding clothes. Inexpensive breeches or jodhpurs with either full or jodhpur boots are required. Protective headgear must be worn at all times while riding. Our horsemanship staff decides when a girl is ready for jumping class.