Pony camp is offered to children who are proficient at the walk and trot and are ready to learn to canter. Pony camp meets daily Monday through Friday from 9 am to noon, during July and August. Each child is assigned a pony whom they groom and tack up. At least an hour is spent riding and learning new skills. Barn work follows the lesson during which ponies are bathed, put back in their stalls, and watered and hayed. The children learn how to care for the pony including visits with the blacksmith and veterinarian. During snack time, lively discussions are encouraged to understand why we care for the horses in the way we do, what farm maintenance entails, and how to protect the environment of the farm.
The riding school introduces equestrians to the sport. Our school ponies are primarily retired show ponies; however, a couple of the ponies have been specifically trained to safely teach the beginner. The youngest riders 3-5 years are taught in a morning pony camp where they are led on the pony, groom and handle the pony, and play in the farm environment. At six years and older, children are given private lessons until they are ready to ride in a group. We strongly believe in group lessons, as the riders are given more riding time and friendships among the riders develop. As the beginner rider is achieving riding skills, he/she also learns to handle the pony on the ground. We encourage horsemanship at every level of the riding experience.
Horse Show experience begins when the children demonstrate proficiency and we offer the lease of a short stirrup pony. At this point the rider is competent jumping cross rail courses and is ready to be tested in the competitive arena. Each child is an individual and requires gentle guidance to accept the rigors of a horse show day and the stress of the competition.
After a year or two in the short stirrup division, many riders advance to children hunter pony or children hunter horse division or the pony hunter division. As the riders advance to higher levels of competition, they will decide to pursue the equitation division, the jumper division, or the hunter division. Each level of competition requires a specific set of skills from both the rider and the instructors. Historically, Swan Creek has produced Hampton Classic Champions, Zone II Champions, and National Champions.