COMMUNE WITH NATURE. LEARN NEW SKILLS.
Camp Chief Ouray offers five levels of riding instruction. Campers will gain confidence and learn valuable horsemanship skills. Each Monday, riders are evaluated to ensure that they have been placed in the correct level of instruction. If our Barn Director determines that a rider belongs in a level different from the one they are registered for, they will be transferred to ensure that they will have a positive camp experience.
Campers spend either two hours in the morning or afternoon at the CCO Barn learning how to care for horses and improve their riding skills. The remainder of the day is spent participating in traditional camp activities.
Horseback riding instruction can be added to any of our Traditional/Challenger/Two-Week Camp Sessions for an extra fee. Don’t wait, these do fill up. If you sign your camper up for rafting as well, they will miss their Thursday instruction.
For those who wish to participate in the horseback riding program but find the price a deterrent, we have a fund to scholarship lessons. Click here for more information on the David Hooker Fund.
Horse Levels: Tenderfoot through High Rider
Level 1 Tenderfoot: Learn the Basics (Ages 7-13)
Beginning riders will learn how to handle a horse on the ground and in the saddle. This includes learning how to lead and tie a horse correctly, as well as hoof picking, grooming, and saddling a horse. They will also learn basic riding position and how to control and steer a horse at a walk.
Prerequisite: Desire to learn about horses.
Level 2 Cowpoke: Learn to Trot (Ages 9-13)
Cowpokes continue the training received in Tenderfoot, but this level adds the additional challenge of learning to control a horse at a trot. This gait is faster and bouncier than the walk. To advance to the next level, riders are expected to maintain their riding position and control the horse at this faster gait.
Prerequisite: Know how to lead, groom, bridle and saddle, and control the horse at a walk.
Level 3 Wrangler: Learn to Canter (Ages 10+)
Wranglers are expected to have mastered the basic ground skills (leading, grooming, and tacking) and be comfortable controlling the horse at a walk and trot while maintaining their riding position. In this level, riders learn how to control the horse at a canter which is a smoother, but much faster gait than the trot. To advance to the next level riders must be able to groom and tack their horse, have mastered control of the horse and be able to maintain basic riding position at all gaits.
Prerequisite: Know how to lead, groom, bridle, saddle, and control the horse at a walk and trot.
Level 4 Trail Blazer: Hit the Trail (Ages 11+)
Trail Blazers learn basic trail riding skills and are able to walk, trot and canter on trail. The first day, riders are evaluated in the ring. They are expected to groom and tack on their own and be completely comfortable at the walk, trot and canter. To advance to the next level riders must show exceptional control and maintain their riding position in the arena and on trail.
Prerequisite: Know how to groom, bridle, saddle, and control the horse at a walk, trot and canter. Previous trail riding experience.
Level 5 High Rider: (Ages 12+: By Invitation Only, Session 4 only)
This is the highest level in the CCO Riding Program. High Riders learn advanced horsemanship skills and perform in the Camp Rodeo. These riders are expected to be able to control horses at all gaits and maintain good riding position while doing events like barrel and pole racing.
High Riders do not sign up for additional camp activities.
For more information about High Rider please call the camp office 970-887-2648.
For our future Wranglers!
If your camper is 13 or older with riding experience, here are some other programs they might be interested in:
Our Diversity, Inclusion and Global Innovation Statement
The YMCA of the Rockies will reach out to and welcome all people and organizations of good will and ensure that the rich gifts of diversity are reflected and respected at all levels.
Our Commitment to All People:
We will serve a diverse population, inclusive of all people of good will. Reflecting our Christian Mission, we will be inclusive and welcoming of all people of good will. Our activities and facilities will be inclusive, accessible, and available to the diverse worldwide community we serve.
Mission: YMCA of the Rockies puts Christian principles into practice through programs, staff and facilities in an environment that builds a healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
Our goal is to offer challenging experiences to build leaders through life-long skill development in a safe, imaginative, natural setting. We instill confidence through independence and interpersonal skills. We challenge our campers to discover their true selves.
CARING | HONESTY | RESPECT | RESPONSIBILITY | FAITH