Like all domesticated animals, horses require human guidance to keep from brushing against barbed wire, eating poisonous rocks, and galloping triumphantly into the ocean. Take the reins with today's Groupon: for $27, you get a three-hour introductory horse camp for ages 6 and up from Saluda River Rafting in Easley (a $55 value). Click here for available camp dates and times.
Saluda River Rafting saddles up the next generation of horseback heroes and heroines with interactive horse camps taught by Phoenix Farms instructors. All campers begin by learning horse safety, camp rules, and a brief horse history that includes their colonial upheaval for independence. After orientation, campers rotate through three groups in which they continue to absorb information about riding basics, including balance, riding, steering, and leading. Instruction about horse trails encompasses how to identify a desirable trail, determine the difference between challenges and dangers, and identify counterfeit yellow brick roads laid by devious wicked witches. Students also gain prowess using a range of equine equipment including saddles and lassos.
Lunch is not provided, so students should bring a bagged lunch or be able to quickly locate a burger tree. Camp culminates with a certificate of accomplishment award and an optional picture with newly acquainted horse friends for an additional $10. Students are required to wear long pants (riding breeches are recommended), boots or shoes with a heel, and an approved ASTM riding helmet, which is provided if riders do not have their own.
Saluda River Rafting Adventures
By the time customers climb atop tubes and kayaks from Saluda River Rafting Adventures and begin their sunlit floats down the river they may have already reached the halfway point of their outdoor adventure. That's because the rafting company's staffers also set up rustic riverside campsites that customers can rent the night before their river outings. In the morning Bubba the bus driver steers them through idyllic fields to their float site, passing horses along the way that approach the bus for carrots or advice on how to grow turn signals.
The horses are not just for feeding; staffers also lead camps—along with private and semiprivate lessons—that introduce youngsters to the equestrian arts. Alternatively, patrons can hone the more literal art of paint splattering on a lush Airsoft field, where soldiers armed with paintball guns fight in a sportsmanlike fashion, rather than by force-feeding each other paint pellets. Interested campers can also call to inquire about free rustic camping available for youth groups.