Summer Camp Spotlight: Choose Your Own Experience at Chatfield Stables

By (The Hubs of) Christen Reiner, Macaroni Kid Lakewood-Littleton Editor and Publisher May 13, 2020

Are you ready for your child to experience what it's like to enjoy a real trail ride on horseback? Have you ever thought about spending an afternoon riding up to picturesque Waterton Canyon or wading through fresh snowmelt on the back of a horse?

Chatfield Stables, nestled into a pleasant corner of Chatfield State Park, offers riders an authentic western experience. 

Trained, knowledgeable wranglers provides experiences tailored to meet your personal needs. From lessons and safety helmets for first-timers to extended round-trip excursions for those riders who yearn for a bit more of a challenge, Chatfield Stables is only a phone call away.

My teenage daughter has pegged a week-long horse camp session at Chatfield Stables as one of her favorite must-do activities of the summer.

After arriving in boots, jeans, sunscreen, and a wide-brimmed hat, she immediately prepares to saddle-up her horse under the watchful supervision of one of the trained wranglers in attendance. Over the years, she has undergone detailed training in how to buckle, strap, and blanket a saddle so that it is solid on the back of her assigned horse for the week while she rides along. 

Because she has attended horse camp in the past and has had her skills reviewed by the Big Man In Charge, she has earned more personal responsibility with the horse. She accompanies other less-experienced riders on their twice-daily rides but is permitted a bit more freedom than beginners. 

This additional freedom proves to be just what a young teenager needs: personal acknowledgement. Because she has had extensive practice to learn each skill, the staff adjusts their expectations of her daily, almost like a classroom tutor. My daughter notices that she has earned differentiated horse-care and rider responsibilities by the staff and ends up trying harder each day to meet and exceed their expectations.

It was not long before my younger son noticed how much fun my daughter was having each day, the seriousness of caring for a horse, and how professional my daughter had become over a six-hour day, then the span of a week.

He begged me to bring him along and enroll him in a week of lessons. He was convinced that if she could control a horse, he could too, even as a novice.

He also wanted to use the proper horsemanship terminology, learn how to saddle a horse, ride it, then prepare the horse for the rest of the day at the conclusion of a ride.

The staff at Chatfield Stables is keenly aware of the temperaments of each of their 40 horses and matches the strengths of the rider to the horse that best fits.

At the end of the week-long camp, the staff at Chatfield Stables has an informal celebration where personalized certificates featuring each rider proudly mounted on “their” horse are handed out to each child after the final closing activities are done for the day. 

I’d be lying if I said that there were no dusty tears on the cheeks of my children on the drive back to our house and back to suburban reality.

A Word from Bob, Chatfield Stables Owner…

We have operated Horse Camps for about thirty years (1985–2012 at our first location and here at Chatfield since 2002). The concept was originated in 1987 when we had a guest who had moved here from California ask us if we did a camp with horses.  "What is that?" we asked. She told us all about the camps her child attended in California.

What a great idea!  

The first year we scheduled three weeks for the horse camp. The response was so great that we expanded the camp to eight weeks the following year. We continued to have more requests than we had space for, so the camp grew to include all twelve weeks of summer! 

We have been flattered that many other horse operations have followed in our footsteps and tried to emulate our concept. As we state in our literature, ours is the longest continuously running camp with horses in the area and it’s all about the kids and horses. For over thirty years, thousands of children have gotten a really great hands on experience with horses here at Chatfield Stables! 

Chatfield Stables offers everything from horse camp to rides to lessons to birthday parties to hayrides! There are still a few summer camp openings — and you do NOT want to miss the opportunity to spend a week immersed in caring for and enjoying your "very own horse" for the week. Give them a call today to set up your own equestrian experience!

Chatfield State Park, Littleton, Colorado
(303) 933-3636


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This article was written by the husband of Macaroni KID Littleton-Lakewood's publisher. He wishes to remain anonymous!