Lessons & Camps

Youth Horseback Riding Lessons

My Little Pony (Ages 3-6)

Enjoy quality time with one of our sweet ponies. For 45 minutes, participants are riding and grooming while two parents or caregivers (must be age 13 or older) are by their side. Children ride in the arena with assistance from one caregiver, while the other leads the pony. If the group is able, one lesson is a trail ride. Class limited to six participants.

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Level 1 Western–Saddle Up (Ages 7+)

Level One introduces the student to an enjoyable riding experience. Riders learn basic skills including leading, mounting, walking, stopping, steering, maintaining proper spacing, and dismounting. These basic skills are the foundation on which all upper level lessons will build.

Skill Focus:

  • Horse/barn safety rules and four natural aids
  • How to approach, lead, mount, walk, stop, steer, maintain spacing, and dismount
  • Proper body position
  • Master skills of leading, walking, stopping, and maintain spacing using check and release

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Level 2 Western–Bits and Reins (Ages 7+)

Level Two provides participants an opportunity to improve horsemanship skills with continued practice in Western style riding. Riders will master basic control and extended walk.

Skill Focus:

  • Improve basic skills of leading, walking, stopping, steering, spacing
  • Discover proper body position
  • Learn the half circle and reverse
  • Experience trotting with assistance

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Level 3 Western–Giddy Up and Go! (Ages 7+)

Level Three builds on the concept of independent body movement. Riders learn basic control at the trot, including proper position. Increased physical skill and concentration are necessary for this level.

Skill Focus:

  • Improve skills learned in Level Two
  • Trot independently
  • More control and confidence
  • Regulate speed using check and release

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Hit the Trails - Trail Rides (Ages 10+)

All lessons will be instructed on trail rides in the scenic woods of Lockwood Park. Topics covered include trail ride safety, etiquette, and dos and don'ts of riding. If you are ready to take your skills to the next level, this is the class for you.

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Private/Semi-Private Lessons

Western, English, and Natural Horsemanship!

For those who prefer one-on-one instruction, semi-private (one instructor, two students) or private (one instructor, one student) lessons are offered. These can follow the basic format of group lessons, or be geared to a particular skill the rider wants to learn or improve. Instruction in advanced skills such as loping and cantering is only offered through semi-private/ private lessons. Grooming and tacking/untacking the horse may also be included in the lessons, if requested.

Scheduling is dependent on availability of instructors, arena, and horses.

Prerequisite: successful completion of Level 1 Western–Saddle Up or attended Saddle Up Camp at Lockwood Park

Call 815-987-8809 for schedule availability and prices.


Youth Horseback Camps

Little Buckaroo Pony Half-Day Camp

A great way to introduce children to ponies and summer camp! Each week will offer horse-related and camp activities: arts and crafts, tie-dyeing, hikes, games, songs, and ponies. In addition to this fantastic week, a special horse show will be held on Friday each week beginning at 11:30 am. Each camper will have a chance to share what they have learned and experienced throughout the week. Campers' families and friends are welcome to attend.

Little Buckaroo Pony Camp

Little Buckaroo Pony Camp is an ALL DAY camp geared for the younger camper who is developing an interest in horseback riding. This camp will use ponies to teach campers 5-7 years old the basics of riding through fun games and riding drills. The campers will ride the same ponies each day, learning the breed, color, and characteristics of their pony. Little Buckaroo Pony Camp is a great way to introduce your child to animals and summer camp. Each week will offer horse-related and camp activities: arts and crafts, tie-dyeing, hikes, games, songs, and ponies. In addition to this fantastic week, a special horse show will be held on Friday each week beginning at 3:00 pm (ALL DAY). Each camper will have a chance to share what they have learned and experienced throughout the week. Campers' families and friends are welcome to attend.

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Saddle Up Camp

Experience the thrill of riding your own horse for a week! If your child has always wanted to ride their own horse, this is the camp for them. Campers will be learning mounting and dismounting, proper spacing while riding, reversing, extended walking, and some trotting if the group is ready. Whenever the campers are not riding, they will be learning all about horses from hoof to tail, including a visit from a veterinarian and a natural horsemanship demonstration. Campers will learn about specific horse disciplines, which are different types and styles of riding. They will also learn about the breeds associated with each discipline and where they originated.

Our camps also include traditional activities such as games, movies, tie-dyeing, and crafts. Campers will go on educational hikes and participate in creek study. In addition, a special horse show will be held on Friday each week beginning at 4:00 pm. Campers have the chance to share what they have learned and experienced throughout the week. Campers' families and friends are welcome to attend.

Note: This camp experience is equivalent to Level 1 Western–Saddle Up and Level 2 Western–Bits and Reins in the Lockwood Group Riding Lesson Program

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Blazing Saddles Advanced Camp

The morning session starts off with riding in the arena. Campers will build on the concept of independent body movement, learn to trot independently, and practice maintaining proper body position. They will learn transitions between gaits, and to regulate speed with a check and release. The afternoon session will be on the trails. Topics covered include trail ride safety, and learning to read your horse. Each week will offer horse-related and camp activities including a vet talk, natural horsemanship demonstration, arts and crafts, tie-dyeing, and games.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of Level 2 Western–Bits and Reins or Saddle Up Camp. If successful completion is in question, call for a skill placement test.

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RPD Vision/ Mission

VISION
The Rockford Park District is the "best" urban park and recreation system in North America, as judged by those we serve.

MISSION
Helping people enjoy life!

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