HORSEMANSHIP Frequently asked questions

Below you'll find details about our horsemanship camps that we hope will help you as you prepare to attend.  If you have different questions and/or would like additional details about a certain topic, please contact our head wrangler at: katrina@villagecreek.net

  • What are the dates for this year's Horsemanship camps?  How can I register?

    Dates for this year's horsemanship camps and a link to our online registration form can be found by CLICKING HERE.

  • who IS hORSEMANShip cAMP FOR?

    Horsemanship camps are for all those who enjoy horses and are looking to have a fun, challenging, hands-on week improving their horsemanship abilities.  Horsemanship camps can be a jump start to a camper's future horse involvement through 4H, showing, riding lessons, ownership, etc.  It can also be a place to practice what's known and learn new skills on different horses, in a different environment, and with different instructors and classmates.

  • What are the age requirements for attending a horsemanship camp?

    Campers must be at least 10 years old to attend a horsemanship camp.

  • What IF A camper isn't old enough for horsemanship camp and/or not ready for such a focused horse camp but still really interested in horses?

    Younger campers are encouraged to attend one of camp's Junior Camp weeks (in 2016 they are: Junior 1 - June 5-11; Junior 2 - June 26-July 2; Junior 3 - August 7-13).  In addition to enjoying the many other fun elements of camp, Junior campers have the opportunity to sign up for a horse riding instruction hour (1 hr/day for 5 days, an extra $60 fee is added to the week's registration balance) OR to sign up for Ranch Camp (3hrs of horse related activities/day for 5 days, an extra $78 fee is added to the week's registration balance).


    Ranch campers enjoy all the fun of Junior Camp with their two instruction hours and an early-morning or late-afternoon hour being filled with: an hour of horse riding instruction, an hour of ground work with the horses (grooming, saddling, etc.), and an hour of "ranch" activities (painting horses, bucking barrel, "snack for you & snack for your horse," etc.).  NOTE: Ranch Camp is only offered during Junior 2 and Junior 3.

  • Are there potential volunteer/work opportunities for older teens and/or Adults?

    Yes, we welcome pre-scheduled help.  Please contact our head wrangler at: katrina@villagecreek.net to explore possibilities that match your abilities with the camp's needs and/or to be informed of when "work days" are being planned.  Additionally, we offer our Wrangler Assistant Program (WAP) for 9th-12th graders.  This is an opportunity for those with some previous horse experience to gain additional hands-on experience with horses.  WAP participants assist the head wrangler and summer wranglers with classes and other wrangler responsibilities as well as riding  with them in the arena and on the trails.  This is a great way for students to 'try out' what it's like to be a wrangler, and potentially open opportunities to work future summers at camp.  Participation in WAP requires registration via the camp's summer camp registration form and communication  with the head wrangler before hand (via katrina@villagecreek.net).

  • What curriculum is used for horsemanship camps?

    Our horsemanship camps are based upon curriculum from the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA).  CHA's mission is to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the entire horse industry through certifying instructors, publishing educational resources such as horsemanship manuals, etc.  Our head wrangler is a CHA certified instructor.  Each horsemanship camper will receive a CHA level-related book once registered for a camp.

  • IF a camper has participated in "a horse instruction hour," "ranch Camp," or "little Dudes" during a previous Village Creek bible Camp week or participated in the "after school horse program" - do they still need to begin with level 1?

    We love the opportunity to introduce campers to horses and our program through the youth and family camps and other camp programs; however, the content we're able to cover with them in these times is a very small portion of what level 1 includes.  Therefore, we prefer individuals begin with level 1 unless they've had significant additional supervised/instructed riding.  To be approved for skipping a level, a camper must talk with the head wrangler (contact: katrina@villagecreek.net) to verify the camper's skill level matches the abilities required for the next horsemanship level.

  • Does a camper need any previous knowledge about horses before coming to level 1?

    No, campers do not need prior knowledge or experience before attending a level 1 horsemanship camp.  We'll start with the basics (a good review even for those who've learned them) and then progress throughout the week.

  • Can campers earn certifications through attending a horsemanship camp?

    Yes, our head wrangler's CHA Instructor Certification qualifies her to distribute riding certifications for levels 1, 2, & 3.  Certifications are based on CHA's nationally recognized standards.  Earning riding certification can assist a camper in clearly presenting to other instructors/facilities his or her riding ability; additionally, we have seen past campers note their CHA certifications obtained at camp in scholarship applications, entrance forms for equine related studies, and more.  Campers may need to attend horsemanship camp at a given level multiple weeks before mastering the skills required to earn certification.  All campers will receive either CHA certification or a participation certificate at the end of each week.

  • HOW will campers be evaluated?  I heard there is a written test involved?

    Campers' evaluation is conducted by our head wrangler based on CHA standards.  A portion of the evaluation is an examination of a camper's riding ability.  The other portion of the evaluation is a written test covering information from the CHA book each camper receives.  The information in this book will be taught and reviewed during the week of camp, but campers are welcome to explore/learn it before coming.

  • What does a typical day of horsemanship camp look like?

    Our daily schedule is designed to make your time at camp a memorable experience. While every week is a little different, a sample schedule is as follows:

         7:00 Groom & Saddle Horses

         8:00 Breakfast

         8:45 Ground Class and Arena Class (about 2 hrs) 

         11:00 Chapel, Quiet Time, Cabin Cleanup

         12:00 Lunch

         1:00 Free Time (other camp activities, canteen available)

         3:00 Ground Class and Arena Class (about 2 hrs)

         5:00 Unsaddle and turn out horses

         5:30 Supper

         6:30 Evening Chapel

         8:00 Horse Activity

         10:00 Bed Time

  • how long is a horsemanship camP?

    Horsemanship camps begin on Sunday afternoons, with camp’s registration line typically opening at 2 pm. Horsemanship campers’ first scheduled event is typically about  4:30 pm on Sunday afternoons. Campers’ weeks conclude with a ‘rodeo’ beginning at  9:30 am Saturdays at our outdoor arena, which family and friends are encouraged to  attend. Following the rodeo campers are invited to introduce their family members to horses & wrangling staff, turn out their horse one last time, and then collect their belongings to head home.

  • HOW much time with horses will campers have during a week of horsemanship camp?

    Campers will be involved with hands-on horse activities for 5+ hours each day, including: grooming, ground class, saddling, arena & trail riding, unsaddling, and turn out. We’ve been told our campers get more time in the saddle than at many other facilities, and our campers definitely feel the workout of the extensive riding and note the many benefits of it.

  • IS ALL THE camperS' Time on horseback classwork?

    Campers learn skills at their horsemanship level through direct instruction and practice (i.e. “classwork”), but they also benefit from applying those skills during games on horseback in the arena, while enjoying trail rides, and while preparing a group drill routine for the end-of-week ‘rodeo.’ These activities are planned according to the riders’ level of experience and skill, and allow them to relax and have fun while further refining their horsemanship skills.

  • what does it mean that campers will learn about horse care?

    Campers will work hands-on with our horses, learning the different responsibilities to take proper care of a horse. All horsemanship campers will learn aspects related to bringing in, grooming, saddling, warming up, cooling down, and unsaddling their horse. Additional different aspects are presented at each CHA level, including aspects on mane  & tail care, hoof care, feeding, and basic horse first aide.

  • WHAT Are the horse facilities like at camp?

    Village Creek Bible Camp has an outdoor arena for lessons and games, several miles of trails throughout the 220 acres of camp property, covered hitching rails, a tack shed, a hay barn, and several pastures. We do not presently have stalls or an indoor riding  location.

  • I hear there is an overnight campout with Horses, what does this mean?  Is the overnight on camp property or somewhere else?

    Each horsemanship camp, weather permitting, has an overnight campout with their horses. Campers will typically leave the hitching rails mid-afternoon for a long trail ride to their camp-out location in one of our back pastures (on camp property). Their bedding/personal items, tents, and meal supplies will be brought out to the site for them. As a group they’ll prepare the camp site for themselves and their horses, with the aid of their counselor and wranglers. They’ll then assist in preparing supper over a fire, enjoy a devotional time, and have fun together before their night in a tent. In the morning they’ll assist with preparing breakfast over the fire, prepare their horses, and then ride back to main camp for the remainder of their day.


    Horsemanship campers attending level 3 get the opportunity, weather permitting, to travel off site for an extended camp-out and trail riding.

  • what if a camper isn't a "morning Person", I hear there are some morning horse activities?

    Horsemanship campers do head down to the horse area before breakfast each day to help groom & saddle their horses (and occasionally other surprises). Horsemanship campers will have the help of their counselor, cabin mates/fellow horsemanship campers, and the excitement to again interact with the horses to help them get up and going for the day. We also do our best to schedule the evenings before with the next morning in mind.

  • how many horsemanship campers are there per week?  What are class sizes?

    A full horsemanship camp is 10 campers. There is a minimum ratio of 1 wrangler to every 5 campers while on horseback.

  • Are parents able to watch classes?  What is the end-of-week program like?

    Because of proximity parents are often not able to watch classes, and we’ve found that campers also focus better and are more relaxed without those extra eyes watching during the week. That said, campers love it when their family and friends come to watch the end-of-week ‘rodeo.’ Rodeos begin at 9:30am on Saturday of each horsemanship camp week (weather permitting) and are an opportunity for campers to  demonstrate what they’ve learned via a group drill routine, skill demonstration, and playing a short game on horseback.  Parents, family, and friends are encouraged to keep in touch during the week via regular mail and e-mail. Everyone loves getting mail! Regular mail and emails are distributed each day. Campers will not have computer access during the week to return emails, but they are encouraged to write home; coming to camp with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes often help this process.

         MAILING ADDRESS – 1588 Drake Road, Lansing, IA 52151

         EMAIL ADDRESS – camper@villagecreek.net with campers name

                                         in the subject line

  • Where do campers stay?  Can i stay with my friend(s) who is also coming to horsemanship camp?  If I live locally can i sleep at home?

    We hope you'll make yourself comfortable in our accommodations, as they are designed and prepared just for you free of the distractions of your regular busy life. Other than the campout night, horsemanship campers stay in one of camp’s many cabins and use nearby bathroom/bathhouse facilities. Typically all horsemanship campers of the same gender stay in the same cabin together. However, if you are coming with a friend(s) we encourage you and your friend(s) to request each other as “cabin buddies” on your registration – this lets us know you’d like to share a cabin and better helps us to get to know you as you prepare to come. It’s important to us that each cabin group has a positive and accepting atmosphere, while also realizing that we treasure the process of making new friends and may include other campers in your cabin from other churches and states. Those campers who live locally are asked to stay at camp with the other campers, helping to facilitate the group dynamics and the week’s schedule.

  • who stays with horsemanship campers at night?

    Horsemanship campers will be led by one of our trained summer staff counselors. Not only will they stay with them overnight in the cabin(s), they will also be with them during meal times, chapel & devotional times, free time, evening activities, the overnight campout, etc. They may also participate in some horse activities with campers and assist with reviewing the CHA book material with campers. Horsemanship counselors are excited to go through the week alongside each camper.

  • Where and what will campers be eating?  Are snacks available at other times?

    Part of our excellent service is the great food you will enjoy. We strive to serve each guest and make each person feel welcome, cared for, and at home. Fresh baked breads from our on-site bakery, great variety, and the ability to meet your special dietary needs are a part of what makes our food service one of the best. Horsemanship campers will eat meals together, served buffet style or family style in our dining hall (except for during their camp-out).


    During afternoons the camp’s canteen will be open for campers to purchase drinks (soda pop, Gatorade, bottled water, etc.) and snacks (candy, bagged snacks, etc.). The Camp Store also offers t-shirts and other souvenirs for purchase. All money is deposited into a “bank account” during the week, and the balance is refunded at the end of the week to the camper.

  • are campers able to participate in other summer camp activities?

    Yes! During afternoon free times horsemanship campers get the opportunity to experience many of camp’s other activity options. Some of the activities they may enjoy include: lake fun (swimming, The Blob, kayaking, fishing, the 100’ waterslide, rope swing, etc.), laser tag, archery, high and low ropes challenge course, bungee  trampolines, craft room, gym, game room, and more!

  • the camp's name is village creek Bible Camp, does this mean there are chapel/church services?  Do campers need to attend those?

    Our Mission at Village Creek Bible Camp is to provide an environment away from the distractions of everyday life, where people can hear the word of God and encounter Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. We desire VCBC to be a place where you can grow strong, changed by Christ and strengthened by His grace. To that end, VCBC focuses on Biblical teaching and encouragement, and every camp and retreat features excellent Christ-honoring speakers and musicians. Special services and chapels help campers personalize God's Word in their lives, and a daily personal devotional time gives practical instruction in godly habits. In light of this, all horsemanship campers will be asked to participate in each chapel/cabin devotional time.

  • Will there be other types of camps happening on property during horsemanship camp weeks?

    Yes. Summer provides opportunities for family camps and youth camps in addition to horsemanship camps. While horsemanship campers will have their own schedule and counselors, they will eat the same meals as the other campers during their week, will occasionally share chapel times, and will at times enjoy free time activities alongside other campers.

  • Where is Village Creek Bible Camp?

    We are conveniently located central to the four states of IA, MN, WI and IL, in the beautiful hills and valleys of northeast Iowa, situated on some of the prettiest land in the upper-Midwest. Our address is: 1588 Drake Road, Lansing, IA 52151. For directions from Lansing, IA or Waukon, IA click here. If you are using a GPS, use this address to get to camp: 1588 Drake Road, Waterville, IA 52151

  • what do campers need to bring with them to camp for horsemanship camps?

    A Packing List & Info for all Village Creek Bible Camp guests is available by clicking here.  Horsemanship campers should make use of this list as they prepare to come. A few additional recommendations for horsemanship campers include: 

    1. Campers will need to wear long pants for every horse interaction (grooming, saddling, class, trail rides, etc). Bring something you’re comfortable wearing for many hours in a day, could be the same thing for all week… just be sure you’re comfortable in it. 

    2. Campers will need sturdy, closed-toed shoes for every horse interaction.  Riding boots are great (don’t bring new ones… break them in first), but hard soled shoes will work as well. You’ll wear them lots, so make sure they’re comfortable.

  • are helmets required of all campers?  Do I have to bring my own?  Can i bring my own?

    All campers riding horses at camp are required to wear riding helmets. You do not have to bring your own, as camp has a variety of sizes available for your use while at camp. If you do own your own helmet you may bring it, but it will have to be inspected and approved by our head wrangler to be able to be used (if it is not approved, you will be asked to use one of camp’s helmets).

  • will i work with one horse all week?  do i have to own a horse?

    Over the course of the week, campers will have the opportunity to ride several different horses – this provides the opportunity to experience working with a variety of sizes, breeds, and temperaments of horses, thus revealing more accurately where riders are at in their skills. Towards the end of the week campers will typically ride one horse more than others so campers can prepare for the end-of-week ‘rodeo’ in partnership with one mount. Campers do not need to own a horse, and in fact many don’t.