Camp Fiver uses positive, challenging activities such as horseback-riding, as vehicles for cultivating character. Approximately three hundred children participate in Camp Fiver’s Equestrian Program every summer. The program involves equine education, riding lessons, animal care, barn chores, barn scavenger hunts and trail rides. Most of the children served by Fiver come from the inner-city and have had little experience with animals. High costs and unavailability of equine programs in New York City prohibit most students from riding before they arrive at Camp Fiver. Participation in the Equestrian Program is the highlight of the summer for many of our campers. They are immediately drawn to the barn and the beautiful horses when they arrive at camp.
The children learn the basics of horse care including how to approach a horse, groom a horse, tack-up, mount and dismount, and steer using the reins. Through the Equestrian Program, children develop an appreciation of the interdependency of humans and animals and an awareness of their responsibility towards all living things. The program fosters children’s patience, cooperation, compassion, trustworthiness, and self-esteem.
“Working at Fiver for five consecutive summers allowed me the wonderful opportunity to witness hundreds of children walk through our barn doors, most of who returned back summer after summer. For so many, it was the first time they had ever been on a horse or even near one. By the end of their two weeks they were not only riding around on their own but able to groom and lead the horses with complete independence. When children learn how to ride and take care of the horses, they also cultivate and enhance qualities like responsibility, compassion, and self-confidence which can stay with them for the rest of their lives. While many children begin their initial days at the barn nervous and hesitant, they soon transform into a group of highly dedicated learners who take pride in their new abilities as riders and caretakers for these massive animals.”
–Lucy Campbell, former Equine Director