Frequently Asked Questions:

We developed this page especially for parents who cannot make the open house. We have tried to give a true to life description of all aspects of the program. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to ask us. References are also available. We know how important it is to choose the right camp for your daughter.

Can you describe your dormitory facilities for us?
Yes. The dorm is set up with 3 tiered solid bunk beds with 6" air mattresses. The dorm is a large building with large windows that overlook the grounds. It is a pleasant and inviting space with hot water showers and bathroom. In true dormitory style, all campers sleep in the same giant room. There are dressing rooms for privacy, and in the ExeQ camp, there's plenty of room in the dorm for personal belongings as one tier of the bunk is reserved for storage. In Happy Camper camp, only the most important items are stored in the dorm, and the extra luggage is stored in a storage area adjacent to the dorm.

Side View of Bunk

Proximity of Bunks (that have now been painted white)

(Campers bring their own bedding from home, unless flying in)

Shower Area

Dressing Area with Sink (there are 4 total in dorm)

What sort of supervision is there in the dorm at night?
There are 2 adult dorm mothers that sleep in the dorm with campers. In addition, there are 2 Jr. Counselors to be on hand in the event of an ill camper or other event that requires more helping hands than 2 adults can provide. Dorm Mothers also have constant radio contact with 9 additional adult counselors that sleep in the adjacent building. Typically there is a total of 12 adults on campus, within 100' of the dorm, during the night. At a bare minimum, the night ratio is 1 counselor to 8 campers.

Swimming sounds like a fun free time activity. Is there a lake or a pool and is it a supervised activity?

We have an Olympic lap pool. We always have at least one certified lifeguard on duty. On the first swim day of camp, all campers undergo a simple swim test. This determines if they will be able to use the entire pool, or only the shallow end. The deepest area of the pool is 5'. Although swimming is great fun, our equestrian activities take priority, therefore if our schedule gets behind, swim time may be reduced to ensure that all ride time/horse related activities are completed. If swimming is a priority to you, we recommend the Happy Camper sessions which offer more opportunity to swim.


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What is a Wrangler? How does my daughter apply? Wranglers are campers who come to us with solid basic horse skills and a helpful nature. There is a test on the first day of camp that all campers are welcome to take to earn Wrangler status. Wrangler status gives a camper the license to catch horses for lessons, assist as horse leaders in beginner lessons, help doctor any injured horses, apply sunscreen/fly spray to horses, lead horses to and from the arena, and shadow CITs in daily chores (if desired). Wranglers must have previous horse experience. If interested in being a Wrangler, please indicate on your registration forms.

How many years has your facility been open?
Chastain Mist Riding Academy has been operating for over 25 years, and 2009 is our 19th season of camp. In the beginning, we were known as Chastain Mist Arabians, where the emphasis was on breeding, showing, and training Arabian show horses. We, as trainers, became disgusted with the class A show circuit, as there is an immense amount of abuse to animals which we refused to take part in, even for that coveted victory. The youth riding program was very strong at CMA, and over the years this division became the largest and most prominent. This was due to the fact that working with young children who loved horses was the most rewarding endeavor for me, and therefore the program received most of my attention. The name change to Chastain Mist Riding Academy took place when we officially stopped promoting our Arabian breeding program and dedicated all efforts towards our young riders. This was about 9 years ago. This is also when we started summer camps. We pride ourselves on turning out well polished, well educated riders who gain the ability to communicate humanely with their horses and also have a full understanding of all aspects of true horsemanship.
How much will my child ride each day?
"One of the most frequently asked questions is, "My kid wants to ride all day. How much time do they spend on a horse? "It is perfectly normal for a beginner rider to think that being in a saddle all day is exciting and fun. The reality for all but the most dedicated and disciplined athlete is that such an experience is painful, boring, and often hot and dusty as well. A quality riding program that accurately assesses a rider¡¯s confidence and ability levels and then challenges them to build beyond these cannot be measured in consecutive hours on horseback over the short term. Campers, including those that are horse-crazed, learn best and achieve the most while engaging and socializing through a variety of activities. It is precisely because camp offers a diverse activity program that successful equestrian programs and enthusiastic horse-loving kids thrive within summer camp settings." (Stephen Fine, Ph.D)

All of that being said, ExeQ Campers ride up to 4 hours a day, Happy Camper Campers ride 2+ hours a day, and it is spread out over the course of the day, with the most intense riding being in the morning with their instructor.

What happens in the event that we are unable to attend camp due to a family emergency or other unforeseen event?
Unfortunately, if someone is unable to attend camp, we do not offer refunds. Because most parents register months in advance, and the future is uncertain, we recommend every family get camper insurance. There are many companies that offer camper insurance, none of which we can recommend. Google "Summer Camp Insurance".

If my child comes home early due to being home sick, due to physical illness, or for any other reason, what is your policy on refunds?

Again, we recommend camper insurance for unforeseen events. We do not offer refunds for any of the above mentioned circumstances.
Are campers allowed to bring their own horse?
Most certainly! Horses must be UTD on vaccinations and amicable to camp life. We have a limited number of private paddocks, but it is preferred that your horse can be turned out in a small herd of friendly equines. Your horse also must be well trained, as we aren't here to train your horse. But we very much enjoy helping campers work with their horses to improve an already (hopefully) solid foundation. Board is $10/ day, unless you bring your own feed/hay, in which case board is free. If planning to bring your own horse, please indicate this on your registration forms. Those arriving with a horse will need to arrive at camp at a prearranged time, not with the masses. If you bring your own horse, you will be solely responsible for his care. It is forbidden for other campers to ride your horse.

What are the qualifications of your counselors and how many counselors do you have?
Our counselors are persons who have been associated with horses and Chastain Mist for many years. Some counselors are past students of Chastain Mist Riding Academy, now in their early to mid 20s, such as Abbey Jorstad who spent a year studying at St.Andrews in Scotland where she competed in Polo internationally. Our counselors are all trained in CPR and First aid. Some are members of The International Riding Instructors Association, and some are certified instructors through CHA. Certification is not a prerequisite for employment, however, as the majority of Olympic bound or Grand Prix riders are not certified. For more on our staff, click here

"When it comes to certifications we can often become blinded by credentials alone. The person with a recognized teaching or coaching level is not necessarily the best person to teach and encourage a first time camper how to ride and care for a horse. Additionally, in the equine sport the process of obtaining instructor and coaching levels has become lengthy, expensive and increasingly bureaucratized. The university or college student looking to instruct riding is generally not someone who intends to pursue a career in the horse industry. They are rather dedicated young people who have had the benefit of years on the local show circuit, involvement in pony club, or owning and caring for their own horse. There are many equestrian organizations that bestow accreditations. A personal interview and a demonstration of practical skills is still the best indicator of a candidate¡¯s abilities and suitability for a camp setting. " (Quote from Stephen Fine, Ph.D)

What is your camper: counselor ratio?
Adult Counselor (those 18 yrs and up) to Camper ratio is 1:10 at a minimum. In addition to our adult counselors, we also have Jr. Counselors (16-17 yr. olds) and CITs (Counselors in Training (14-15 yr olds). Adding them into the equation brings our staff to camper ratio to 1:4, and when mounted, 1:2.

Responsibilities of camper management, safety practices, camper mediation, discipline, and important decision making regarding a harmonious camp environment is that of an ADULT counselor. Jr. Counselors and CITs are responsible for remedial tasks and chores. Our camp is ran in an extremely safety conscious manner. No details are over looked, we are never under staffed, horses are carefully assigned to riders based on ability, and much care is taken to avoid a mishap.

How many girls do you have at a typical camp session?
ExeQ Camp has a limit of 32 riders, Happy Camper Camp accomodates 50.
How old is the average camper?
Average age is 11. Campers are divided into age/ ability groups. We have hosted riders aged 7-19.

How much horse riding experience does the average camper have??
It varies, but on average, each session is 40% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 20% advanced.

How many horses do you have for the riders?

There are a total of 40 horses. Most campers attach to one particular horse and that horse does become their responsibility. (ie: feeding, grooming, walking, etc. ) Some horses are shared in Happy Camper sessions.
Do you have open houses and when?
Yes, send us an email and we will send you an invite once the date is determined. If you don't receive and email, we will also post the date and times on the website.

Because interpretations can vary and everyone is looking for something different out of horse camp, we encourage you to attend an open house. We want you to check out the facility and speak with us personally so that you are assured that your choice to attend our camp is the right one for you/your camper.

What sort of restroom facilities do you have? Do the campers shower while they are at camp?
We have 3 plumbed indoor restrooms for campers, and several outdoor portable facilities with flushable toilets. We have indoor plumbed showers as well.

Any excting plans for 2009?
  • We are offering 2 types of camp sessions, ExeQ and Happy Camper.

  • We are adding a solar heater to the pool.
  • We have added 2 vaulting draft mares to the herd, and hired a vaulting coach to teach vaulting

  • We are offering horse training as an unmounted class

  • Dolce the Friesian Stallion is a new addition

  • We have added 12 new riding horses to our herd.

  • More to come, check back soon!