All of our lessons emphasize horse and rider safety, first and foremost! All riders under 18 are required to wear a helmet, and riders should be attired in an appropriate boot (we recommend a jodphur or paddock boot, ankle height) with a flat heel and smooth sole. Hiking boots, sneakers, open toed shoes, or slip on shoes are not considered safe. Riders should wear appropriate long pants, which include a non-restrictive stretch pant without any type of studs, glitter, rhinestones, etc. on the back pockets. These will scratch our saddles. Correct riding pants should be purchased as soon as possible for rider comfort, and are commonly called Kentucky Jodphurs (not breeches, those are specifically for jumping.) Helmets are available to borrow, but you can certainly have your own. Please consult us first for the specific types of equipment recommended, as it is somewhat specialized, and we would rather you buy the correct item and not have to return it. We will have online suggestions as to where to purchase certain items.
Our private lesson program is highly individualized, with emphasis on the personal needs and goals of the student. We take the time to assess each student's strengths and weaknesses, and steer away from any type of "cookie cutter" type instruction. The student can move along in their skill levels as quickly as they are able to, as we don't require them to complete any type of Level I, Level II, etc. to excel. The private lesson consists of approximately 45 minutes of interactive time with the horse and instructor. For scheduling purposes, you should allow about an hour from start to finish. Time includes instruction on tacking and grooming to get ready, putting the horse away correctly, and ground safety around horses. Ride time is approximately 30 minutes and it is fairly intense physical activity, so we find that this time frame works best for optimum learning with riders of all ages. Correct riding position is a priority, as this is necessary for proper balance, control of themselves and the animal, and rider comfort. So whether the student's goal is just to ride for fun, or compete at a high level, it is just as important for either endeavor.
Tiny Tot Lessons
For riders 5 and under, the total time is about 10 minutes less, due to the attention span of very young riders. Focus is very important while around horses, for when a student becomes too distracted or too fatigued, it creates an unsafe condition. We do not recommend riding lessons for riders less than 3-1/2 years of age.
There is no older age that is too old to begin - we have had adults of any age begin riding with success! Whether you have never ridden a horse ever before, or you are polishing up old skills, we welcome you where ever you are in your journey!
Group lessons consist of a longer ride time, in a less intense environment. A rider needs to be at least 7 years old to participate in a group, and reasonably able to control the horse around the arena. Stall time is restricted to right before the lesson, and students should arrive earlier than the group start time if they wish to participate. Horses will be ready to ride promptly at the start of any group lesson start time. Group times will be about an hour, and they occur on certain evenings and weekends at a set weekly recurring time. Our attention to individual needs does not diminish in a group, however; as if the instructor notices a student having a particular challenge, we will suggest some individual instruction to correct it. Young riders just starting to ride will have a spotter to assist them when they need it.
We encourage family members to come and watch our students but consideration should be given to the safety of other siblings that may be in attendance at lessons, and keeping distractions to students and their horses down to a minimum. Please read all notices posted on the door between our lounge and arena, as they are directly related to the safety of both family members and the students. If you choose to come into the arena to watch your student ride, you and anyone with you will need to sit quietly in the center at the provided table, and refrain from walking around the round pen, or from lounge to arena, back and forth, as there are often horses and riders in the arena going past the lounge door, at the same time as beginning lessons in the round pen. If you take pictures, FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY IS STRICTED PROHIBITED without prior permission from the staff. Bright flashes of light, other children running in the barn or making loud noises, etc. may tend to startle the horse. We have a very comfortable lounge area with a viewing window where you may watch the entire lessons in progress, and especially with other young children, we suggest that you watch your student ride from the safety and comfort of our lounge.