Horse Camps

Circle K Ranch at YMCA Camp Kern is home to the most exciting equestrian programs around! With so many options to choose from, you're sure to find a summer ranch program that will help you create memories to last a lifetime. As a Rancher, you will get to know your assigned horse, learn more about riding and horse care, and meet other Ranchers who love horses just as much as you!


At Circle K Ranch, you'll spend a week immersed in the world of horses! Choose your seat, (we offer both English and Western riding) take group lessons with your fellow Ranchers, go for trail rides all over Camp Kern's 485 acres, and experience the fun of traditional summer camp activities. Whether you are an accomplished rider, or you are just interested in dipping your toe into the Equestrian world, Ranch Camp is the place to be!

As with all our programs, we strive to provide experiences that allow all campers to grow and learn, building self-resilience and problem solving skills all while exercising those social skill muscles! Our Ranch counselors have a love of horses and experience with horses in a camp setting and we spend time training them to deliver high quality lessons, while also taking care of campers' physical, social and emotional needs.    

If you have any questions please contact our Equestrian Director, Russ Lee This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 513-932-3756 x 1531.

Day Camp Awesomeness!

This Ranch Day Camp will teach beginning Ranchers the basics of horse care and horseback riding. Daily activities will include: safety around horses, grooming, tacking, leading horses, and horseback riding. Ranchers will have daily riding lessons along with guided trails! Ranchers will learn respect and responsibility through hands on care while learning about all aspects of horses. Other activities include swimming, rock climbing walls, and arts and crafts. Lunch and snack are included in each fun filled day!


Day Camp with Overnights!

This Ranch Day Camp will teach beginning Ranchers the basics of horse care and horseback riding, just like the above Boots and Bits, but with a twist! Pack your bags, because on Wednesday night, you’ll get to join the ranks at Elk Lodge as you become an overnight ranch camper for two days!


  • Session 8 (Co-ed)

Half week overnight program

Experience a compact, yet exciting ranch week with our Ranch Adventures program! Spend 3 nights and 4 days horseback riding all over Camp Kern’s scenic trails, while still enjoying traditional camp activities like rock climbing walls, hiking, archery, and swimming. Ranch Adventure campers will stay in Elk lodge, right next to the horse pastures! A camp out under the stars makes this program one not to miss!

Session A: Sunday through Wednesday
Session B: Wednesday through Saturday


Our original and best overnight program!

Ranch Camp at Circle K is unlike any other camp! Ranchers will experience the joy and responsibility of having their own horse through daily activities such as grooming, tacking, horseback riding lessons and trail rides. Ranchers will spend most of their week in the saddle and with the horses, but will also have time to enjoy traditional camp activities such as archery, canoeing, swimming, the rock climbing wall, arts and crafts and much more! All Ranchers stay at Elk Lodge, right next to the horse pastures! Ranchers will be placed in riding classes based on an assessment of their current riding skills. Both English and Western styles are offered and all riding levels are welcome.


Trail Riding & Roughing It!

Saddle up Cowboys and Cowgirls! Trail Wranglers is the perfect week for those ranchers who LOVE to trail ride! The week will include trail riding and camping out with the horses on and off Camp Kern property. Wranglers will learn to cook over a fire, outdoor living skills, horsemanship, and horseback riding skills. Campers must be intermediate to advanced riders, and willing to sleep outside in tents.


Expand your skills!

Ranchers, do you want to expand your horse knowledge? Intermediate Ranch is a new program designed for Ranchers looking to advance their riding skills. Ranchers will build on their current horse knowledge by learning more about horse riding and care. Whether they ride Western or English, campers will spend most of their week on horseback. In addition to their time spent in the saddle, Intermediate Ranchers will get to experience fun camp activities such as swimming, archery, and the giant swing.

Intermediate ranchers must have two years of Ranch Camp or equivalent riding experience. For more information, contact Russ Lee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


For the experienced riders only

This challenging ranch week is for the more experienced rider. Campers will have advanced lessons in walk, trot, canter, and jumping. As well as more in-depth lessons on barn management, horse health, and jump course design. Ranchers will build on their knowledge and expand their horizons! Along with adventures in the saddle, Ranchers will experience the same great camp activities such as swimming, rock climbing walls, arts and crafts, and the BIG game. This overnight program is for advanced riders with previous walk, trot, canter experience only.

Please contact Russ Lee at (513) 932-3756 x1531 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – for admission into the Advanced Ranch Camp Program.


Learn to jump

Crossrails Ranch Camp is designed to give Ranchers the confidence to jump for the first time! From learning the correct position for jumping, to leaping over their first rails, Ranchers will get a flying start on learning a new skill. In addition to time spent in the saddle, Ranchers will also learn more about horse riding and care, and participate in other camp activities such as swimming, rock climbing and more. This program offers English Riding only and riders must be intermediate to advanced. For more information, contact Russ Lee at 513-932-3756 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Horseback riding literary camp

Immerse yourself in the world of Ranger’s Apprentice! This is a fully themed week where you will be instructed on horseback riding, trail riding, archery, tracking, survival skills, stealth and Ranger missions. If you love Ranger’s Apprentice, this officially-sanctioned camp will test your strength, loyalty and commitment. Defend the kingdom from Morgarath’s Wargals, Skandian Raiders, and the fearsome Temujai warriors. Come as an Apprentice. Earn your Silver Oak Leaf. Become a Ranger.

All riding levels are welcome to this overnight horseback riding literary camp!


Next Level Rangers

For those who love Ranger’s Apprentice camp and are looking for more, Advanced Ranger’s Apprentice is for you. Build on your Ranger skills in horseback riding, archery, and stealthing while taking on even more challenging missions. This week will test Ranger’s Apprentices to see if they have what it takes to become a Ranger.

Previous participation in Ranger’s Apprentice Camp is recommended for Advanced Ranger’s Apprentice. Advanced Ranger’s Apprentice can be combined with Ranger’s Apprentice to create a two week Ranger experience!

Advanced Ranger’s Apprentice can be combined with Ranger’s Apprentice to create a two week Ranger experience!

Previous riding experience and Ranger’s Apprentice experience is preferred for this overnight horseback riding literary camp.

For more information, see the Ranger’s Apprentice Page.


Leadership Development

For those looking to go more indepth into the world of horses, Ranch leaders in training will go far beyond the traditional riding lessons! R-LIT’s is a program geared towards teaching equestrians more about all aspects of owning, working with, and enjoying horses. Activities will include daily riding lessons, instruction on basic horse first aid, introductions to horse training, and a glimps at the various ways campers can continue their love of horses throughout their life! Campers will get to see what is really involved in caring and owning horses, learn the basics of teaching lessons, and will still enjoy some of the traditional camp activities that Kern has to offer! A great leadership program with service aspects for teens interested in gaining horsemanship skills.


Two Weeks of Growth!

This two week program is a wonderful opportunity to enhance and develop self-confidence, self-awareness, communication skills, tolerance for adversity, and personal leadership style–all while spending time at Circle K Ranch! R-CIT’s spend their first week learning to be positive role models as both camp counselors and lesson instructors along with improving their riding skills. Week two gives R-CIT’s a chance to practice their skills while assisting riding lessons, trail rides, and various other camp activities. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who loves horses, is willing to push themselves, and is ready to learn and grow.

All R-CIT’s must send their application to YMCA Camp Kern c/o Russ Leeto be considered for the program. R-CIT’s are also require to have two reference forms submitted.

This is a program meant to foster growth in those interested in being future Ranch Camp Counselors.

R-CIT Application

R-CIT Reference Form


Fun All Weekend Long!


 Want to experience the magic of camp for two weeks or more in a row? Stay the weekend in between at Kern!  The weeks must be consecutive weeks at camp.  Saturday is spent relaxing from the week by going to Kings Island, The Beach, The Newport Aquarium, and many other fun excursions!  Saturday ends with a movie night at camp.  All campers laundry is cleaned in between weeks.  Only available to campers ages 9 to 15.



2020 Summer Camp Themes

Session 1 – Star Wars
(June 14 - June 20)

Session 2 – Harry Potter
(June 21 - June 27)

Session 3 – Ultimate Kern Week
(June 28 - July 4)

Session 4 – Neverland 
(July 5 - July 11)

Session 5 – Agents of K.E.R.N.
(July 12 - July 18)

Session 6 – Willy Wonka
(July 19 - July 25)

Session 7 – Color Wars
(July 26 - Aug. 1)

Session 8 – Harry Potter
(Aug. 2 - Aug. 8)

Session 9 – Jurassic Camp
(Aug. 9 - Aug. 15)