Resident Camp FAQ


Q: Where is Hoofbeat Ridge Camps?

Hoofbeat Ridge Camps is located about 25 miles west of Madison, Wisconsin (about 2 hours from Milwaukee and 3 hours from Chicago suburbs). A map is mailed to campers prior to arrival, and is also available on our website.


Q: What are the ages of campers attending Resident Camp?

Our Resident Camp program is for girls ages 7-16.


Q: Can I request a friend as my cabinmate?

You may list your friend’s name on your application form and we will try, but cannot guarantee, that you will be in the same cabin.  Your friend must be registered for EXACTLY the same one-week or two-week session for which you are registered and be within one year of your age.

Several other factors are taken into consideration before cabin lists are finalized: age of camper, total number of campers in each age group, and medical concerns.

If you cannot be in the same cabin as your friend, we offer plenty of opportunities during the day for all campers to do activities together. Additionally, many activities will be done with campers outside of cabin groups. For morning skill classes, each camper will have her own schedule, which will be dependent on riding ability, horse knowledge, and down-the-hill choice.  We cannot accept requests to be in the same riding class; campers are evaluated by staff and placed in classes according to riding style and ability level.


Q: I have no riding experience.  Is that okay?

We have many campers who have very little or no riding experience, and some who are very advanced riders.  Upon arrival at camp, campers are given a mounted riding evaluation so that they can be grouped according to their riding style and ability.


Q: Will I ride the same horse every day?

With the exception of Adopt-a-Horse Week, campers will not be assigned to a specific horse to ride during their stay at camp.  Instead, they will have the opportunity to ride several of the 60+ horses residing at camp, and if they find a favorite horse, they are able to make horse requests to their riding instructor.


Q: Do you teach jumping?

No, we do not.  Campers may choose between English- or Western-style riding.


Q: Can I bring my own horse?

No – horses often become hostile when new horses enter their domain.  Therefore, for the safety of our horses and campers, non-resident horses are not allowed to enter Hoofbeat Ridge property.


Q: Do I need special equipment?

* Riding helmets – The SEI logo must appear inside each camper’s helmet to be acceptable for riding, and the helmet must have a manufacturer’s date of less then five years ago.  We have helmets for at $10/week or $18 for two or more weeks.  SEI approved helmets may be purchased through tack shops; we also have them available in our camp store for $35. Please write your camper’s name inside her helmet.

* Boots – When campers are riding or working around horses, boots with a raised heel and smooth sole are required.  We have boots that they may use for no additional cost.  If you prefer to have your own, you can purchase boots at tack shops and can often find them at resale stores such as Goodwill or St. Vincent’s for reasonable prices.


Q: Can we tour camp before we come?

In May we host an Open House.  Families are invited to meet our staff, enjoy a hike, watch riding demonstrations, and learn more about the programs that we offer.  Call or check out our website for details.  Individual tours may be scheduled prior to camp by appointment only.


Q: Do you have riding demonstrations?

Campers and CITs have riding demonstrations at the end of each two-week session as well as at the end of Adopt-a-Horse Week.  RITs have a riding demonstration at the end of each four-week session.  Demonstrations are held Saturdays and, depending on your camper’s riding class, will be held at one of the following times: 9:15, 9:45, 10:15, or 10:45 (RITs only).  Because the demonstrations are with riding groups, it is not possible to request a specific time for your demo.


Q: What will I need to bring to camp?

Shortly before coming to camp, we will send you important information which includes a list of suggested items to bring, medication forms, and a map.  You can also find this information on our website.


Q: What if the weather is bad?

In the event of inclement weather, we will plan indoor activities such as arts & crafts or group games.  Extreme heat, rain, or storms may affect the schedule for the day’s planned activities.  The safety of campers, staff, and horses is our first priority.


Q: Can I buy souvenirs and snacks at camp?

We suggest campers bring $20-$30 per week for spending money.  This money is deposited at check-in and kept in our Trading Post on a card system. Until Thursday, campers may buy small items like snacks, drinks, stamps, and forgotten toiletries.  Beginning on Thursday, campers may also buy larger items such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, stuffed animals, and other novelties.


Q: Where do campers go on Mystery Trips?

During the first week of a two-week session, campers may go on a Mystery Trip.  These special out-of-camp outings may be to a Wisconsin Dells water park, a roller rink, a state park, Circus World Museum, or other attractions.  These trips usually cost an additional $25, which should be deposited into your camper’s Trading Post account during check-in.


Q: How will I get mail?

Mail is distributed daily.  To expedite getting mail to your camper, their name and cabin should be included on the envelope.  The name of the cabin will be given at check-in on Sunday.  Please let all friends and relatives know that campers are not permitted to receive packages containing food, and that any of these packages will be held in the camp office until check-out. This is because food is not permitted in the bunkhouses, since it can attract pests.


Q: Can campers call home?

Campers are discouraged from phoning home during their stay at camp.  The Camp Director or Health Director would be happy to discuss any concerns or questions that parents may have about their camper.  We ask that campers leave their cell phones at home.  We have found from past experiences that phone calls home make homesickness and other issues more challenging to work with.  The Camp Director will contact parents if we have further questions or need input.  We do not offer e-mail service for campers.


Q: Can parents visit during the week?

Visiting campers in short-term camp is not allowed because the appearance of another camper’s family can make other campers homesick. Additionally, our no-visitors policy helps us to maintain a high level of security.  Campers are encouraged to write home during rest hour.


Q: Where do campers stay?

Bunkhouses “Longbranch” and “Hoofroof” house the girls in groups according to their age.  Our bunkhouses include shower and bathroom facilities.  There are 7-11 campers and 2-3 staff in each cabin.


Q: What if my daughter becomes ill?

A Health Director is on staff to make daily checks on campers’ health, to dispense medicine when necessary, and to care for minor injuries.  All of our staff are trained in first aid. 

If a camper has a more serious accident or illness, a medical clinic is located four miles away and a hospital is ten miles away.  The camp director or health director will call the parents if the camper is ill or injured.


Q: When do campers arrive at camp?

Campers may check in between 2 and 4 p.m. on Sunday.  The camp gate will not open until 2:00, so please do not arrive early.  Reeve Road is extremely curvy and has a speed limit of 55 mph, so for safety reasons, we would not recommend waiting along the road if you arrive early.  (There are many places to sit and relax in Mazomanie if you arrive early, and Gordon’s has great ice cream!)


Q: How are staff selected?

Resident Camp staff are hired throughout the United States and often from foreign countries.  About half of our staff are former campers who have completed various training programs at Hoofbeat.  Our staff receives training prior to opening camp and all riding instructors must pass a 40-hour Horsemanship Safety Association Clinic.  Certificiation in the HAS Clinic means the instructor can ride, teach, and develop lesson plans, and has obtained an all-around horse knowledge of the level for which they are certified.


Q: What facilities to do you have?

Our camp spans 250 acres, which includes hiking and riding trails.  We also have two nature cabins called Whipporwill and Squirrel’s Nest. One indoor and four outdoor riding rings are available for mounted lessons.  We have an athletic field for ball games and other recreation.

Two modern bunkhouses accommodate up to 100 people.  Delicious and nutritious family-style meals are served in our dining hall.

Our lodge and the dining hall are among the favorite activity centers at camp.  Both have large, rustic, stone fireplaces that add to our Western flavor.

Nearby lakes, state parks, and pools provide opportunities for water activities.

Hoofbeat is accredited by ACA – what does that mean?

Hoofbeat Ridge Camp became accredited by ACA in 1964.  This means our camp has demonstrated compliance with up to 300 individual health, safety, and program quality standards.  These standards establish criteria for program activities, personnel, transportation, administrative procedures, health care, and emergency procedures.  We are proud to be included in the 25% of camps in the United States which are accredited.


Q: How do I register for camp?

Mail your completed application and deposit to Hoofbeat Ridge Camp.  You can also register online.  Sorry, we cannot accept telephone or FAX registrations, and we cannot take any credit card payments.  After you are registered, a confirmation letter will be sent to you.


Q: How soon do I need to register?

Sessions fill quickly – often many fill by mid-March.  We recommend indicating a 1st and 2nd choice of sessions you want to attend.  If sessions are full when you register, we will put you on a waiting list.