Camp Middlesex has partnered with Contry Hill Farm in Mason, NH to offer campers beginning horseback riding lessons (www.contryhillfarm.com). For an additional fee, campers will be transported to Contry Hill Farm Monday – Friday and have a 30-minute mounted lesson and a 30-minute horsemanship lesson. Horsemanship topics include: safety, horse breeds, stall cleaning and feeding, and parts of the saddle and bridle. Mounted topics include: mounting/dismounting, control and steering, and how to post at the walk.
Campers will get to ride almost every day! If the weather doesn’t permit and it’s deemed unsafe to ride (i.e. high winds, thunder storm, etc.), campers will do an unmounted stable management lesson.
Campers that sign up for this program will be required to wear long comfortable pants and a closed-toe shoe or boot with a flat sole and a heel of 1-1.5.” All campers will be required to wear ASTM/SEI approved riding helmets and is provided to each camper by Contry Hill Farm.
All beginners will have a helper or assistant with them at all times while mounted or around horses. Riders are properly matched with a horse or pony, based on size and level. Only experienced riders will be allowed to ride on the rail or jump, and they must be evaluated by the the head instructor. In the incident of injury, the head instructor is notified and take action.
Two Camp Middlesex counselors will accompany horse riders to Contry Hill Farm and will help staff provide lessons to campers. All campers will go over a safety orientation at the beginning of the week.
All campers will be required to have a signed liability waiver on file before participating in the horse riding program.
Country Hill farm is located in the highlands of Mason, NH, a 10 minute drive from Camp Middlesex. The facility boasts of scenic hilltop views.
The farm contains the following:
- 22 stalls with 16 lesson horses
- 30 acres with beautiful hilltop views, next to a scenic apple orchard
- Two beautiful New England barns
- Four riding arenas, 3 outdoor and 1 indoor
- Round pen
- 12X10ft matted stalls bedded with clean shavings daily
- 20 acres of pastures
- Miles of trails
Emily Sumner – Head Riding Instructor and Supervisor
Emily Sumner is 31 and has over 20 years of riding experience and 10 years of teaching experience. She formerly worked for a small animal veterinary practice. Emily has her bachelors of science in Equine Management from Cazenovia College (2008). She also participated on the intercollegiate dressage team. In college, she was a national competitor and won many awards at the College’s highest levels. Emily has owned Contry Hill Farm for 3 years and has been active in teaching and caring for the horses for the last 10 years.
Emily has coached multiple students to achieve their “C” ratings with the USPC (United State’s Pony Club) a national ranking program for juniors. She also has had students participate in local 4-H shows/clubs and they’ve even qualified for hippology nationals in KY. One of her students went on to work for the Olympic three day event rider Stephen Bradley.
Her main focus for her students is working towards a balance seat to improve one’s riding for any discipline. She puts a strong emphasis on horsemanship and stable management. Emily provides excellent systematic instruction to all levels of riders on the lunge line, flat or over fences. Her positive instruction always emphasizes horse care and kind soft riding methods. Emily enjoys bringing students to shows, trail riding, eventing, jumping, and dressage.
Other Staff Members
Many of these helpers are our advanced riders that ride and handle horses year round. All handlers and staff members at our facility are required to do a 3-day training course that informs them of their responsibilities and emphasizes safety and horse care. During this training, we cover the farm procedures for handling emergencies, managing horses and any quirks, or any conflicts (other staff or campers). All handlers or assistants are supervised by the head riding instructor. All handlers are required to be experienced with handling horses.
Horse Lover's Camp
Offered during Animal Week (July 23-27), for an additional fee, campers can take part of Horse Camp! Each morning, campers that participate in this program will be transported to Contry Hill Farm to receive 3 hours of lessons, include 1 full hour of riding time.
Campers will get to ride for an hour, groom and tack, and get an hour do learn about horse care each day. More advanced riders would ride on the trail, learn about dressage, jump, and participate in mounted games. A sample of the daily schedule is:
- 9:00 – 9:30 Campers Arrive, Groom and Tack horses up
- 9:30 – 10:30 Riding Lesson (Riders are placed in groups of 3-4 riders according to experience)
- 10:30 – 11:00 Cool out horses and untack
- 11:00 -12:00 Un-mounted horsemanship lesson
Note: For an experienced rider, Contry Hill Farm would want the riders to send a short video riding or a letter from an instructor verifying their riding ability.