Heels Down is a unique, full-day program of equine pursuits. This program is geared to individuals with not only a true
love of horses, but the energy and commitment to sustain a full day of horse activities and lessons, both mounted an
un-mounted. This in-depth program is designed for campers with previous experience who are looking to take their
riding to the next level. Enrollment is per 2-week session to allow for more individualized training and to ensure
Campers in the Heels Down program should have a minimum of one year experience riding and a walk/trot proficiency.
If he/she is not at this level, don't overlook our Day Camp! Should your camper be interested in other activities in addition to riding, our Day
Camp still provides a solid foundation of
equestrian skills and the basics of horse care as
part of our daily Day Camp curriculum.
Check out our Day Camp Information.
2 WEEK SESSIONS
Monday - Friday 8:30am - 3:15pm
Mounted Instruction (Topics include but are
not limited to) Dressage, Carriage Driving, Vaulting, Western Reining,
Gymkhana Games, Show Jumping, Trail Riding, Intro. to Eventing and Riding Cross-Country.
Un-Mounted Instruction As a unique feature of our Heels Down programming, we include but
are not limited to such fascinating subjects as Saddle Fitting, Fitness for the Equestrian, Yoga,
Water Conditioning and Horse Nutrition.
Sessions & Requirements
||Session 1: June 22 - July 3
||Session 3: July 20 - July 31
||Session 2: July 6 - July 17
||Session 4: August 3 - August 14
The director of riding must approve of any additional equipment the
- Participant ages: 9 - 15 years.
- Recommended for children with prior riding experience.
- Parents of children who have not attended PFDC are asked to phone the
for prescreening interview to assure suitability for this program.
- Participants are asked to arrive daily with a small duffel bag of items
- an SEI/ASTM certified schooling helmet
- lightweight long-sleeve tee shirt
- cotton schooling pants
- appropriate riding boots
- sunscreen and bug spray
- nutritious lunch and drink
- a bathing suit and towel for water conditioning and/or
afternoon Fun Club (Fun Club details arrive in your spring
forms packet. Space is guaranteed for all working parents).
participant brings for use in the program. The program supplies all
other equipment for the horses and ponies.
Tuition & Inclusions
Tuition . . . . . . . . . . . (See Registration and Fee Information Page)
By reviewing your foundations of riding, our instructors will encourage you to increase your skills and confidence.
Using their wide range of backgrounds and experience, they will teach a complete balance of horse and rider using
natural and artificial aids. Heels Down instructors teach safe practices that promote direct and clear communication
between horse and rider. This is the foundation needed for competitive riding, regardless of the discipline your
child may pursue and is
even beneficial for those interested in recreational riding. The Heels Down
curriculum provides additional opportunities that are not frequently offered
in regular lesson programs. These topics may consist of trail rides,
gymkhanas, drill teams, games and most importantly the subject matter
covered by our visiting professionals.
Horse Health, Vet Science, Dentistry and Hoof Care
What sets Heels Down apart from other basic programs, is that campers are treated to outside visiting professionals'
expertise, who teach them about the medical side of horse care. Heels Down participants have the exclusive opportunity
to watch and help the vet with routine visits, and discuss with the dentist such topics as the necessity of filing horse's
teeth. Regular visits with our farriers, also teach campers the importance of correct shoeing for all different horses
This subject is certainly a necessity when stabling your own horse, but it is not a primary focus for the Heels Down
program. The participants learn about feed, turn-out, and first-aid, by observing and discussing with staff who are
assigned to these hands-on duties.
What sets the Heels Down program apart is the opportunity to learn from true professionals in various horse related
fields. Included in past summers have been instructions in vaulting, horse massage, dressage, eventing and carriage
driving. Our most noted professionals have been in carriage driving including the 2005 World Single Combined Pony
Driving Champion who has shared her knowledge with our Heels Down campers. We are honored to have Marc Johnson,
the Northeast Director for the American Driving society and a participant in the 1993 World
Championships, teaching our Heels Down participants the technical sport
of combined driving. Having been an integral part of our growing driving
team, PFDC now owns 5 Haflingers and uses them to teach the
campers how to drive a cart and introduce them to the world of
combined driving, including dressage, hazards, and cones.
Pacific, Bennington and Tidholm carriages, driven by the Heels
Down campers, are of the highest quality construction.
Yoga & Water Conditioning For The Equestrian
Often when we think of riding, instructors place their
emphasis on the conditioning of the horse, forgetting the
key element, the rider. With the inception of Heels Down,
this factor was included as an integral building block to the program. Our specialized yoga program demonstrates to riders how to stretch and manipulate their own muscles to improve their flexibility and balance on the horse. Additionally, our inventive water conditioning element, taught by a certified instructor, is held in the heated pool, allowing riders to cross-train their riding muscles in a fun and refreshing way. Not only are our riders strengthening and aerobically conditioning themselves, but it is a wonderful opportunity to be rejuvenated from the heat of the day.
The Heels Down instructors are hired specifically for their vast personal experience and thorough knowledge of horses, riding, training and teaching skills. Although we have approximately an 80% return rate for our Day Camp riding instructors, Heels Down is far more specialized. We are constantly in quest of the best instructors we can find from area professionals, competitive colleges and recommendations within the riding community. Working closely with international agencies, who provide highly qualified instructors, Heels Down is able to choose from the elite of the riding world on a global basis. For more details about this program, contact the office to speak with the Director.
Starting/Training Young Horses
Born in 2005, our first 3 Haflinger foals have continued their training through our equine programs and are now an active part of the camp. The Haflingers are well-schooled citizens of our various riding programs and part of our team of driving ponies used in the Heels Down program. They are avid CDE competition ponies and loved by all campers and staff.
Thanks to our visiting professional Dr. Laura Carmel-Spengler, our recent curriculum included breeding, with a hands-on demonstration of horse artificial insemination of our broodmare Yanni. This unique experience happily resulted in the birth of our youngest foal, "Pip". With his birth, Heels Down participants will again begin the cycle of working with Pip on leading, cross-tying, and spook-proofing. The Heels Down program will focus on training him for saddling, long-lining, and eventually the more advanced sessions will be backing and starting this young horse. Our babies are growing up so fast! See their progressive training in our Haflinger Baby Photo Gallery!
Since 2004 PFDC has been consecutively awarded the Horse Farm of Distinction from the Massachusetts Farm Bureau.