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Horseback Riding Instructor

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Horseback Riding Instructor Description

Some would argue that the world is best viewed from the back of a horse! As a horseback riding instructor at Falling Creek, you’ll be riding and caring for our herd of over 20 horses. You’ll also be instructing lessons in the ring, riding our miles of mountain top trails (across 900 private acres!), and teaching boys the basics of horsemanship. Not only will you be teaching campers about horses, but you’ll also be helping them learn life skills through horseback riding along the way, such as patience, perseverance, trust, communication, and confidence.

Want to see a glimpse of what life at the barn is like?

We ride English style at Falling Creek, and our equestrian program offers a variety of opportunities with our 20 camp-owned horses. The Progression in the horseback program includes both barnwork on the ground, and ring work or trail riding while mounted. Instruction is offered each weekday for boys of varying ages and skill levels.

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What’s a Typical Day Like For This Position?

Male camp counselors live in a cabin with one other counselor and eight campers, while female camp counselors live together in staff cabins. In addition to their activity instruction, male counselors will have an assortment of responsibilities related to the management of their cabin. Female camp counselors also serve as activity staff, but don’t live in cabins with the campers, and are responsible instead for organizational tasks during the times that male staff are busy with their cabins.

Each day at camp begins with waking up as a cabin and gathering as a community at Morning Watch. Next we enjoy a hearty breakfast and an exciting Morning Assembly on the porch. Then it’s off to the first three activity periods of the day (or your morning block), followed by a period of Free Choice before lunch. On a typical day, each counselor will be assigned a specific area to supervise during one Free Choice period, and have the other Free Choice period to themselves as their “Self-Care Time”. Rest Hour happens after lunch, before the three activity periods in the afternoon (or your afternoon block). Then there is the second Free Choice period, dinner, and a fun Evening Program! A typical day ends with Milk and Cookies, followed by Evening Embers, a discussion time with your cabin mates to talk about the day’s adventures. Everyone is tired and happy by the time it’s Lights Out. On weekends, we take a break from our regular activity instruction, sleep in an extra hour, and play games as a whole camp community.

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On a typical day at the barn, you might teach campers how to groom and tack a horse, explain the different parts of a horse, instruct advanced campers through a jump course in the ring, muck stalls, or lead a trail ride. Equestrian staff help campers improve their horsemanship and work up to jumping or caring for a horse on an overnight trip. We have miles of trail to ride across our 900+ acre property at Falling Creek, as well as the opportunity to ride off-property at nearby scenic Dupont State Forest or Pisgah National Forest. You and your fellow horseback instructors will have lesson plans (that you can help build!) that will be tailored for the different progression levels and abilities.

Need internship credit?

Many of our counselors who need internship credit to graduate don’t realize that they can earn that credit while working at camp! We can coordinate with your department to tailor a unique learning experience, and have set up internship credit across a wide variety of disciplines. Read more about the value of an internship at camp or how to translate your camp experience to your resume.

Working at camp isn’t just fun and rewarding, it’s also a great way to jumpstart your professional development. The skills critical for success in today’s world are developed and practiced at camp, including communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and contribution. You’ll make connections with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds, across the country and around the world. Being a Falling Creek alumni also connects you to a network of former staff and parents who are business owners, entrepreneurs, outdoor industry professionals, and employers. We are frequently asked to refer our most talented staff members.

Career Development & Resources
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Why Should You Be a Horseback Riding Counselor?

As a horseback instructor, you’ll be a role model for the boys both in and out the barn, and will gain valuable experience both as an equestrian and a teacher. If you’re majoring in animal science, equestrian studies, teaching or passionate about horses, being a summer camp horseback instructor will give you invaluable experience for your future career path. Even if your college major is unrelated to equestrian studies, you’ll still be gaining leadership skills and networking connections that will give you a competitive edge in the job market, no matter where you go next.

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As members of our Barn Staff, you’ll arrive at Falling Creek two to three weeks prior to the campers to attend valuable certification clinics and training opportunities that will benefit you long after the summer is over. This can include getting certified by the Certified Horsemanship Association, Wilderness First Aid training, or even setting up internship credit across a wide variety of disciplines – we work with your department to tailor a unique learning experience.

What’s My Time-Off Like?

Each week you’ll receive a scheduled time-off period of 34 consecutive hours. In 2023 the time-off period began in the morning around breakfast on the first day, allowed you to be off throughout the reminder of that day and night, and required you to return the following day in late afternoon, around dinner. Staff are also able to take an hour of “self-care time” each day at camp, where you are free to read, workout, nap, or do anything you need to “recharge your batteries” daily. Everyone gets the same amount of time off; the schedule is based on your position and role at camp. Being well-rested and refreshed is a must! (During session changeover weeks, this schedule is altered slightly.)

What Benefits Do I Get?

We offer a competitive and progressive pay schedule that is determined based on your experience, age, education, certifications, and other factors. See the 2024 Estimated Pay Sheet here. Staff working the full summer (Orientation plus 4 sessions) will have a base pay of $4300, not including additional pay, experience, and bonuses.

In addition to housing, food, and pay, each day at camp brings adventure, physical recreation, and endless opportunities for personal and professional growth. You are welcome to use the camp facilities and participate in activities during your free time, so long as it does not take away from a class or camper.

Visit our “What You Get” page to read more about the value of an internship at camp, how to translate your camp experience to your resume, resources, networking, and certifications offered.

When Do I Need To Be Available?

While individual dates may differ based on your personal contract, our summer season is from mid May to mid August, and our preference is to hire for the full season. For the 2024 season, All-Staff Orientation begins on May 30th. Closing day is August 16th after the final session. Depending on your role at camp, you may need to arrive earlier in May for additional training (Lifeguard Training, the WFR Certification Course, Compass Horse Training, Adventure Staff Training, etc.) The WFR training for adventure staff will begin on May 18. You also have the option to extend your contract by joining us for Father/Son Weekends and/or Family Camp.

What Essential Skills Are Needed?

Completed At Least One Year of College and/or At Least 19 Years Old.

Our mission is existing to shepherd the journey of personal growth through love and adventure. Staff must be dedicated to live by the Falling Creek Code.

Patient. Flexible. Team Player. Genuinely Enthusiastic. Friendly. Eager to Grow. Open to Offer and Receive Feedback. Able to Think on Your Feet. Good Decision Maker. Hard Working. Get-It-Done Attitude.

See more on our staff FAQs page.