Monday October 22, 2018
Summer Camp

The highlight of the Cotswold Vale year is annual summer camp which caters for ALL ages and is held at Cheltenham Racecourse with fantastic facilities for children and ponies/horses.

Chief Instructor Sarah Hance is reponsible for all riding activities taking place during the week, and oversees a team of 12 instructors across Mini/Junior and Senior Camp.

It takes a large team of staff and volunteer helpers, and a huge amount of planning, to  look after children and ponies when they are not riding too !

Mini & Junior camp

Fancy Dress Rio 2016Camp over the rails 2016Mini and Junior camps are held day-time only and based in the field next to the Riding for the Disabled indoor school, with the children riding within Cheltenham Racecourse. Children enjoy a mixture of riding and fun activities – anything from egg throwing to swimming to quizzes to fancy dress to dismounted races.  The riding instruction takes place in the centre of the racecourse in small groups and the children enjoy jumping, mounted games and flatwork, all led by instructors who know how to make it FUN!


Senior camp

camp jumping chaserSenior camp is a residential 6-day camp (Sunday to Saturday) for members aged 11 plus, based at Cheltenham Racecourse and held during the last week of July: the children and the ponies sleep in comfort in the stables in the top yard, and riding takes place in the centre of the racecourse, overlooked by the spectacular surroundings of Cleeve Hill.

Camp up the gallops 2016On the Friday of camp, the children have the thrill of riding up the gallops – in controlled twos or threes! – and towards the end of the week the children will also be given the opportunity to jump a chase or hurdle, subject to the instructor knowing the child/pony to be competent and safe to do so.


Camp tug of warDuring the week, there is ‘Mufti’ day where riders, ponies and instructors get dressed up – themes have included Hollywood, Olympics, Neon and Rio, and everyone enters into the spirit of things. Other activities include swimming, rounders, water fights in the stable yard, a Wednesday evening social when parents join us – and, of course, there is the daily stable management routine and competition between stable sections to score the most points for presentation, helpfulness and riding performance.  On the last day of camp on Saturday, there is a friendly competition across showjumping, cross country and dressage, and also a hunt relay. Camp is cleared down on Saturday afternoon and ponies taken home, with the children staying on for final clearing up.  To round the week off, Saturday night is awards night, followed by BBQ and social.

Food at senior camp

The children have a fantastic choice of meals during their stay at camp, and all dietary needs are catered for by head chefs Mandy and Fo.  Children are discouraged from bringing large amounts of sweets in to camp, as this often means they do not eat properly at meal times. It’s an incredibly busy week for the children, and we place high priority on providing filling, nutritious and delicious meals throughout the week to keep them going!

Parents role during camp

Camp - laughing horseAll parents with children at Senior camp are expected to contribute in a number of ways: this includes bringing cakes in for the children to enjoy at afternoon tea, doing two rotas in the kitchen per child attending (some of our parents spend a lot of time in the kitchens if they have several children at senior camp!) and helping to set up and clear away jumps, roping equipment, towing a jump trailer back to its storage facility, and anything else required at the start and finish of camp.  Without a huge amount of goodwill and team effort, camp would not be the incredible experience for children that it is currently.

Parents with children at Mini and Junior camp are also expected to play a full part in setting up and clearing away all the equipment at the racecourse, and to be willing to help out if asked by Mini/Junior Camp organisers Jane Smart, Tracy Hayling and Erin Kemple. Children/parents are expected to bring their own snacks and picnic lunch each day.

Early booking for camp recommended

Places for Senior summer camp are usually booked up four or five months ahead, so it is essential to get your entries in as soon as the information is publicised. Parents are given the option to pay by Direct Debit from October of the preceding year, and this secures a place as well as spreading payments.

The dates for next year’s senior camp are 28 July to 3 August 2019.  Application forms and further information will be posted here in due course.

Please note that we will be limited to 56 spaces, so early reservation is advised if you wish your child to attend.

CVFH SENIOR Summer Camp 2019

Information on Mini and Junior Camps will be available at a later date, but they will be held in the same week as Senior Camp. 

Pre Camp Rallies – these are compulsory for all senior riders going to residential camp. Chief Instructor Sarah Hance expects to see each rider, on the pony they’re taking to camp, so that rides can be grouped appropriately.

Useful notes from 2017 below: 

** Essential reading ** VACCINATIONS CVFH Camp 2018 notes – vaccinations

** Essential reading ** Data Protection, Photography and Social Media