Family Weekends

2018 Dates

Spring 2018:  April 13-15, 2018
Camp families continually request a weekend geared towards the entire family being able to enjoy camp, while others asked for another Specialty Clinic weekend such as the one offered in Fall 2015, so we’re happy to announce that Jeeper Ragsdale, Owner/Director, has incorporated BOTH for the spring event!

Family Weekend Itinerary

Arrival: The Fun Begins

Arrival will again be before dinner Friday (7 pm) with clinics/activities ending noon Sunday. Doan Shockley, Stewart’s gourmet chef, promises more spectacular meals with wine pairings for the Saturday night meal. Sunday lunch will be casual ‘pot luck’ as families prepare to get on the road home.

Housing: Your Home Away From Home

Housing will be assigned as registrations are received on a first-come, first-served basis in guest housing and cabins.

Activities: Being Campers Together

Activities will be led by directors and staff. There will be a choice of activities at designated times throughout the two days as well as ‘family time’ being carved out for those who want to take a family hike, play a set of tennis, etc., or just have ‘togetherness time.’ Family campers’ activities will include but not be limited to archery, riflery, climbing wall, escorted hikes, fishing and canoeing.

Specialty Clinic Options

These clinics offer the additional opportunity to learn from some of our talented Stewart staff members in a personal setting throughout the weekend. There is an additional cost per person for those people who would like to participate. There is no requirement for each family member to participate in a clinic of interest.

For more information on the clinics, click below.

Cooking with Doan is a new addition to the Specialty Clinics: Chef Doan (Shockley, head chef for both Heart and Stewart), a former instructor for the Hilton Hotel and Culinary School at University of Houston, said cooking classes will be centered around the selected seasonal menu and will offer a variety of techniques. “We’ll just have lots of fun in the kitchen”, he said.

Instructors for the Horseback clinic will be Jeeper Ragsdale and his team of acclaimed instructors. It will be limited to fifteen participants, ages 11 and up. There is no minimum number of participants for this clinic to make.

After riders are assessed according to level, they will be divided into three groups (numbers permitting). Each rider will revolve through the three instructors, with maximum time in the saddle.

This will be an all-encompassing clinic, geared towards the individual interest of the participants. Instruction in basic horsemanship, jumping, working cattle, trail rides, dressage, etc., will be available. If desired, some polo or polocrosse instruction will be included.

Cost for the Weekend

Savings: Families of 3 or more receive a 10% savings and those registering before April 1, 2018, receive an additional 10% discount.

*Housing assignments will be based on date of registration

Specialty Clinics

Participation in any specialty clinic should be indicated at the time of registration.



Additional Cost Per Person



Additional Cost Per Person
  • Includes horses, tack, etc. 
    (Participants need to bring boots and hardhat)


To register, please call Camp Stewart (830/238-4670) or email
Family Camp or a Specialty Clinic makes a great gift for a camper!

Testimonials and Instructors

For more information on the instructors, or for participant comments from the 2016 Horseback participants, click below.


“Sterling and I loved Stewart’s inaugural horse clinic. You had a lot of talented people showing us the ropes…I was surprised that the kids felt so at ease getting their horses ready and safely scampering all around the barn getting tack, brushes or hoof picks. I didn’t know that Heart had taught Sterling so much. I appreciated being taught some simple things like the proper way to tie knots on rope halters, and watching the kids change gears through body language.
Personally I was thrilled to play polo. Sterling is most proud of being ‘bucked out of her saddle but not off her horse.’
Great food: really all my favorites: beef and pork tenderloin, beef bourguignon, quail, ceviche, etc. I can’t remember when I have eaten better. The only thing missing was white table cloths. Doan Shockley is a very talented man from vintner to great chef. I enjoyed learning from him how each of his three wines was made, each from the same grapes but different look and flavor profiles. Should he do a cooking demonstration next year please schedule it so it doesn’t conflict with other activities.”
WHM, Dad of 10 year old Heart camper
“We all three had the BEST time at Stewart…everything was perfect: the food, the accommodations, the tranquility, the beauty, the company, and especially the (horsemanship) clinic for Ryan. We didn’t even mind the little bit of rain that fell – it certainly wasn’t enough to dampen our spirits.
Ryan told me over and over what a great time he had….he said it was the greatest gift I’ve ever given him. He said (unprompted) “Mom, I already have too many things, and they just clutter up my room anyway. I would be so happy if from now on you only gave me weekends at Stewart for Christmas or my birthday. A trip with you is way better than something I probably don’t need anyway.”….Ryan also commented that Mario is such a kind and unique teacher…he says ‘try it this way’ instead of ‘don’t do it like that’…
I don’t feel this email is conveying what a wonderful time we had, especially Ryan…
….The food was superb! We were blown away….The staff were beyond hospitable, friendly, helpful, detail-oriented and fun. It’s the people who make Stewart what it is….”
LAN, mother of 11-year-old Stewart camper
“Jack and I had a great time at Stewart….It had been 15 or 20 years since I had swung a mallet and playing with Jeeper was a real blast from the past. I was impressed with how much I had retained, although there was some rust in my joints….I really enjoyed doing something I hadn’t been able to do for a long time.
Maybe someday you guys could do a polo weekend…new and novice riders could tap balls around the round pen or some other enclosure …experienced players could go out to the field for a light scrimmage or just stick and ball…and of course, Chef Doan would be feeding us his fantastic meals and Italian reds…”
JC, dad of 14-year-old former camper
“I loved the horseback weekend! It was very fun for me and my Dad. Thank you for planning it and letting me go. I saw the birds and loved them. I got to go inside the cage and pet some of the birds. I loved it! I loved seeing and riding the horses and I went on a trail ride up the bluff and I really had a great time. I also loved the food; my favorite was the fried quail.”
SM, 10-year-old Heart camper

Instructor Backgrounds

Jeeper Ragsdale’s passion for horses began in very early childhood. He began his show jumping career at age 12 with Col. John Russell, while a student at San Antonio Academy. He competed nationally and internationally throughout his teens and in 1986 was the first person to win double gold medals in Show Jumping at the Olympic Festival (run by the USA Olympic Committee in off-Olympic years). He is the new riding instructor for the Pentathlon Equestrian Team (based in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Center) and was in Rio for the 2016 Olympics. He is a highly rated Polocrosse player, fox hunter and novice Polo player. Jeeper trains the Stewart and Heart summer equestrian staffs as well as overseeing the horseback program at both camps.

Doan Shockley, CIA-Hyde Park trained chef, brings a wide and varied background to the culinary arts. Father of popular LT graduate Houston Shockley, Doan heads the culinary program at both Camps Stewart and Heart during the summer for recreation and is a wine importer for Martin Ulisse Imports (owned by a Heart O’the Hills camper family from Corpus) for his livelihood. For several years he was an instructor for the Hilton Hotel and Culinary School at University of Houston, and he owned his own restaurant for a number of years. Interestingly, prior to entering the culinary world, among other things Doan was in the family oil business, and a Chinese linguist for the US Navy (he speaks five languages). Doan loves the Hill Country and says he will take any excuse to visit!

Mario Fernandez, familiar to 2015-2016 Stewart Ranchmen, is a retired horseman who was five times USA National Champion and ten times Texas State Champion rider for the US Charro Association. His reining horse (which he trained), Moro, won every local, state and national event he ever entered. A well-known name in equestrian circles across the nation, Mario even trained girls to ride side saddle for Charro competitions. His rich resume includes training horses for movies, working ranches and the show/competition ring. He retired from active competition and training in 2014 and moved to Ingram, Texas.

Ashley Brune, who heads the equestrian program for foster children at Big Springs Ranch in Leakey, grew up in Canada, where she began riding at age 6. She has a deep background in dressage and vaulting, and believes it was vaulting that gave her confidence, seat and balance. She has been showing in dressage and show jumping since age 12 and added eventing competition at 14. She seriously competes currently in dressage, and will spend the winter months in Wellington, Florida, on the show circuit. She has already qualified her horse for dressage nationals in First and Second levels. She has studied extensively under top trainers in Germany, Canada and the USA.

Ashley believes in the importance of creating a partnership between horse and rider, and focuses her efforts on teaching the necessity of mutual trust, constant communication and respect.