This article is part of our “Rookies Horsing Around” series, guest authored by Emily and Sarah Harris of Sisters Horsing Around. Feature photo also provided by the authors.
Pony Club Camp can be loads of fun! Looking forward to good times ahead, you want to ensure that you pack all of the essentials. Camp is the perfect way to meet new friends, improve your horsemanship skills, and have fun while you’re doing it.
That said, don’t feel badly if the though of packing for camp is a bit overwhelming. You will not only have to pack for yourself, but also for your horse. It’s easy to forget an item or two and not realize it until you’re unpacking the car…at camp.
In this article, we will be covering what to bring to Pony Club Camp for yourself. So LET’S DIG IN!
Packing for Yourself
When packing for yourself for Pony Club Camp, be sure that you know or at least have an idea of what activities will be planned so that you can be prepared no matter what.
It’s best to make a list with all the things you will need, because as the saying goes ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’
- Dental floss
- Nail clippers
- Body wash or soap
- Bath towel
- Hair products (leave-in conditioner, gel, mousse, etc.)
- Blow dryer
- Lotion/skin moisturizers
- Lip balm/chapstick
- Feminine hygiene products (if you are a female)
- Comforter with sheets or sleeping bag
- Pillow with pillowcase
- Extra blanket
Clothing and accessories
- Regular everyday casual outfits (clothes you can wear when you are not riding or working around horses like jeans, shorts, t-shirts, etc.)
- Underclothes (underwear, bra, tank top, etc)
- Regular comfortable shoes (tennis/sneakers, sandals, etc.)
- Nightclothes (sweats, PJs, etc.)
- Cap/hat/cowboy hat (for hot sunny days)
- Scrunchies and hair ties
- Swimsuit (if there is a pool or swimming lake)
- Beach towel
- Riding outfits* (breeches, riding tights, polos, quarter zip, sun shirts, jeans, button up shirts, etc.)
- ASTM/SEI approved helmet
- Chore boots or work boots (for working around the barn)
- Riding boots (paddock boots w/half chaps, field boots, dress boots, cowboy boots)
- Body protector (for cross country)
*All shirts must have a collar and sleeves when you are riding for any Pony Club mounted activity.
Important Pony Club items
- Pony Club pin
- Medical armband/bracelet
- Pony Club manuals
- Bike (for quick transportation)
- Backpack or tote bag
- Cell phone
- Water bottle (refillable one that you can use throughout to stay hydrated)
- Bonus item: we have seen some Pony Club members use a hydration backpack, so that is a bonus idea to consider.
That’s a lot of items and we haven’t even gotten to the horse list yet!
When in Doubt, More is Better
One thing we cannot stress enough is about packing extras. While it may be tempting to only pack what you “think” you may need and only pack the bare minimum, it is better to be slightly over-prepared than under-prepared.
Pony Club Camp usually lasts anywhere from 3 days to a week, and running short on clothing can be a big bummer.
Don’t just pack one set of clothes. Make sure you pack a riding outfit and an everyday outfit for every day of camp. Then pack an extra day’s worth of clothes in case of any mishaps, like if you fall in the mud or it rains and you get soaked.
When it comes to packing underclothes, always, always, ALWAYS pack extras!
Go ahead and pack a pair/set for everyday and then add at least two more sets for good measure. As for nightclothes, that is totally up to you. You might get by with only one set for the whole camp duration because you will only be sleeping in those clothes. Or you might decide to pack night clothes for every night just so that you can go to bed each night fresh.
We generally do 2-3 sets depending on the duration of the camp—two sets for four days or less and 3 sets for a week since we are already packing so many other clothing items for our camp stay.
Pack some regular shoes, just so that you have something comfortable for your feet for walking, playing, or for whenever you are not riding. No one wants to be walking around in heavy work boots or sweaty riding boots all the time, so these are quite essential.
Make sure to pack lots of body wash and/or soap so that you don’t run out. In the summer you can get quite stinky when working and riding, and no one wants to go to bed or hang out smelling like sweat.
You do not want to neglect your personal hygiene while you are at camp.
You will be in close proximity with others and you don’t want to give the impression that you don’t take care of yourself. Believe us, others will know when you bathe and when you don’t. Don’t forget to use a good deodorant that can handle the work/sweat load.
Other important items not to forget are your medical armband and your Pony Club pin. If need be, pre-pack a backpack that has everything you need for a Pony Club meeting or event and have it ready for whenever you need it. That way you can keep your medical armband and Pony Club pin in a place where you’ll always know where it is.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I pack food, snacks, and drinks?
Yes, yes, and YES! If you have a special diet or food allergies then this is a must. Outside of having a special diet or food allergies, when it comes to food, there are several ways that meals are dealt with for Pony Club Camp.
Food may be already provided and you may have to pay a meal fee. Or you may have to bring your own food for yourself. Or meals may be potluck style, where you may have to sign-up for a meal on a specific day that you will provide for the entire club.
However the meals are done, you will want to have drinks on hand to stay hydrated and you will want to bring enough snacks so that you can share them with at least a few of your Pony Club friends. We have many fond memories at Pony Club camp of us just sitting in the bunkhouse with our friends sharing and snacking on junk food and just talking about everything and nothing.
How often will I ride?
That really all depends on the Camp’s schedule, the season, the disciplines being ridden, and the number of participants to trainer ratio. Some camps might plan for 1 ride per day, while others might be 2 rides per day with one in the morning and the second in the evening.
We have participated in camps that had 2 rides per day and other camps that only 1 ride per day. Even though you have more fun with the multiple rides, those camps are more exhausting by the time you reach the end of the day.
You really want to make sure that the horse’s well-being is considered when multiple rides per day are being planned.
Can adults attend Pony Club Camp?
Absolutely! Adult or Senior members are encouraged to get as involved as the junior members! Adults probably won’t be allowed to sleep in the same bunkhouse as the younger members. But everyone will get the same amount of instruction and everyone should have an equally enjoyable Pony Club camp experience.
Pony Club Camp is fun and it is something to look forward to with excited anticipation. The packing process is one of the steps you will take in preparation so that you can enjoy your time at camp and make wonderful memories—without worrying about the things left behind.
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