What is included in the Equestrian Program at Coppercreek?


Riding Lessons:

Interested campers can take a one hour lesson each day with other campers of the same ability. Campers are matched with an appropriate horse and ride 6 days a week. The levels of lessons range from kids who have never touched a horse to kids that are experienced competitors.


Barn Rats:

As Barn Rats, campers help out all morning at the barn. Their duties may include getting horses out and tacked up, assisting instructors in their lessons, grooming, vetting, lunging horses, or even helping beginner riders. IMG_2662

Miniature Horse Fun:

Campers can learn how to drive our miniature horses and take hour long rides around the beautiful camp property. We also just have afternoons of miniature horse fun where campers can take the miniature horses through obstacle courses and over jumps and dazzle them up with braids and bows.



We like to describe vaulting as “gymnastics on horseback.” The campers learn the basic vaulting moves and then get to let our their creativity to create their own moves. During the talent show at the end of the session, the vaulters always give us a fabulous performance to their favorite music on Hatch, our seasoned vaulting horse. _MG_8866_MG_3507

CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association):

Our campers follow the same CHA certification as our staff to earn their “levels.” Campers work on their levels during their riding lessons and during the afternoons with our riding instructors. There are four levels with many steps in each level. Campers who participate in CHA take home ribbons to represent the levels they accomplished while at Coppercreek. _MG_8984


In the afternoons, our riding instructors will put on short clinics to teach campers something new about horses. Clinics range from learning the different parts of the horse, to learning “ground work” techniques, to properly setting jump courses and learning horse strides.


Most importantly, at the heart of our equestrian center, are great horses who amaze us summer after summer.  Look on our YouTube channel for a video of our equestrian program.


What is CHA- Certified Horsemanship Association



All of our riding staff, at Coppercreek Camp, are required to complete a 5 day CHA clinic which we host here at camp. CHA’s mission statement is, “To promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the entire horse industry. This is accomplished by certifying instructors, accrediting equine facilities and publishing educational resources.”

A camper practicing pole work under, CHA instructor, Dani's watchful eye.
A camper practicing pole work under, CHA instructor, Dani’s watchful eye.

During CHA, our instructors, along with people from other camps and equestrian facilities, “practice” teaching riding lessons to each other. Under the careful supervision and instruction of two experienced CHA clinicians, each instructor must teach at least 3 mounted lessons and one unmounted lesson. After their lesson, they are given constructive feedback on what went well, what needs improvement, and any safety issues.

MJ- one of our wonderful clinicians.
MJ- one of our wonderful clinicians.

Each candidate is evaluated on two different criteria: their riding ability and their teaching ability. CHA is divided up into 4 levels with Level 1 being the most basic and appropriate for beginner riders. Level 4 would be for advanced riders who are capable of riding with an independent seat, leg and hands at all gaits and can jump. Candidates can only be certified to teach up to one level below their riding ability.


It is an intense 5 days filled with valuable information and experience. Each certified instructor leaves with a heightened sense of safety and competence. When you see a camp with certified CHA instructors, you know those instructors have been carefully “vetted” by the clinicians and you can feel more confident your child will be in capable hands, learning age appropriate equestrian instruction at the level of their riding ability.

Unmounted lesson on tying a horse.
Unmounted lesson on tying a horse.

In the horse world today, any person can hang a sign and call themselves a “riding instructor” and you have no idea if they actually know what they are doing. CHA creates a quality standard for instructors to follow. Instructors have to meet or exceed the criteria required during the clinic and then have to continue their equestrian education  to maintain their certification.




Lesson Horse of Summer 2013- LUCKY!


Lucky is an older gentleman we “luckily” acquired many years ago from a local boarding stable. Lucky’s owner had abandoned him and the boarding facility called us wanting to know if we might want a nice children’s horse. Our Riding Director, at the time, Kalli Bowles, took him for a test ride and immediately approved. Lucky has been a cornerstone in our lesson program ever since.


He patiently allows campers to learn the beginnings of horsemanship. He is happy teaching a camper how to “whoa” and “go” or “two-point”.


He even will trot happily through cavalettis and pop over a cross rail for the more intermediate riders.


He is getting older now and has earned a reduction in his hours but we will probably see him still cruising around the arena with a camper or two on his back, next summer.


His best buddy is Hank, who has won this title in the past. The two older gentlemen love their Equine Senior, carrots, and turn out with their other buddies.


Meet Carianne!



Hello, friends! My name is Carianne and this summer will be my first summer as a horseback riding instructor at Coppercreek Camp! I was born and raised in Elk Grove, CA which is a town just south of Sacramento. In 2011, I moved to Fresno, CA to attend Fresno State. I am majoring in Liberal Studies (for elementary education.) I am a full-time student and it’s been a blast!


I have a pretty wide variety of hobbies, and I will try anything at least once! I am a life-long animal lover, and when I lived at home I showed horses, goats, and rabbits. My passion, and primary focus before going to college, was horseback riding and everything horse related. If I wasn’t at school or asleep, I was at the stables cleaning stalls, riding, and trying to make friends with barn cats.


Aside from horses, I love all sorts of outdoor activities including but not limited to: hiking, biking, camping, and just enjoying the sunshine! Although I’m very active, I also love reading, fluffy blankets, and hot tea. I’m pretty random, I love to laugh and make others laugh! I am famous for making a fool of myself, but all in good fun.


I love being busy, and outside of being a student, I work at my church as a children’s ministry coordinator. I also teach a class of second graders and my favorite thing ever is hanging out with those kiddos and watching them grow and learn!


I am super excited for this summer! See you soon!