Where did the idea of a summer camp at the equestrian center come from?
We are a family-friendly facility, so a lot of our clients are on break during the summer months. Because of this we saw that there was a great need for our existing clients to have more than just lessons. The kids had already been spending their days at the barn, and we thought it would [be] great to add some structured and supervised fun. ... Since starting our program three years ago, we have increased our session sizes but are still able to keep them personable. What surprised us the most is that our horse-crazy campers wanted us to incorporate more riding in their daily activities. By doing so we were able to be flexible and add different variations of riding, whether that be a bareback-riding lesson, relays on horseback or trail riding. This year for the first time, we will actually be offering western riding at our camp, and we are very excited about adding that.
How has The Woodlands and Tomball area been as a home to Woodway Equestrian?
Since locating our facility here, we have found the surrounding communities to be very open and supportive. We have seen a lot more growth and development of new neighborhoods and businesses, which has been exciting to watch, but we are glad we are able to provide a temporary escape from the hustle and bustle of the major metropolitan areas around us. I think what we really find unique about this area is how our customers feel like family. We have had some events at our barn such as a summer barbecue and a holiday party and we had a great turnout for both of those.
What skills are taught during summer camp?
At our camps we teach basic horse care, horsemanship and help to establish a solid riding foundation. By the end of the week campers will know how to bathe and groom a horse, how to put a saddle and bridle on, basic veterinary care and more. Using different partner and group activities, we teach our campers how to work and communicate with others. Our campers often forge friendships and bonds through these group activities, so they are learning a lot of important social skills. Woodway’s Camp is for children of all riding levels from beginner to advanced. Our more advanced riders will learn how to improve their techniques and maybe learn a different style of riding.
How has the Woodway center become a part of the south Montgomery County community since first opening?
Woodway’s campers have come from all over the Greater Houston area. Most of them I would say are local, but we did have a pair of sisters last year come here from Mexico. ... We have partnered with schools to offer off-site physical education, and we hold a monthly Schooling Show that brings in different vendors and equestrian centers from throughout the Houston area. The show is open to the public for some wholesome competitive fun. Also, our lesson horses are often used for the equine therapy nonprofit that we have on site.
24706 FM 2978, Tomball
Hours: Mon.-Sun. 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.