Lessons - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-19-2012, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: North Texas
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Lessons

Hello,
I would like to get my 10 year old daughter some riding lessons for her birthday coming up. Any tips or questions I should have/know before committing?
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-19-2012, 11:43 AM
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I used to teach.
Ask to watch a lesson or two. You are looking for a place that has kid-safe horses. NO:
--rearing
--bucking
--runaways
EVER
Ask your friends to recommend teaching stables to check out. Some stables specialize in this, others do it on the side, and some start/stop/later on start up lessons. Those that do this are not serious riding academies.
You are dishing out YOUR hard-earned money, so the teacher should be encouraging to every student--no favorites bc your child may not be a favorite there.
The lesson horses should be a little dull to cues. It's easier for children to learn when they have to cue stronger, but it is frightening if the lesson horse is light and takes off with a screaming child.
Find out what equipment you need to purchase for lessons.
I had my students purchase (minimum)--
-helmet
-boots (could be Western or English--
I didn't care which even if the boots didn't match the discipline-just no sheakers or tennis shoes bc all boots have a heel)
-riding gloves
-short crop
Ask about payment plans. I learned a LONG time ago that if you have a lesson on the same day of the the week, every 3rd month there will be 5 lessons instead of 4. IF the instructor tells you that you a get a free lesson every 3rd month, they aren't cheating you or being tricky, it just happens. (I also taught piano and voice, btw.)
Lastly, get a phone# to call after your observation if you have any more questions. If your child has a bad lesson experience he/she will sour on horses, so it's worth the time to research. =D
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-19-2012, 11:51 AM
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Go to a real facility. Don't settle for any backyard places. While a ton of them are really good and sometimes even better then the public facilities, when you are new at it, it's too risky.

Figure out what discipline interests her (english or western) and maybe what type of things she is interested in (dressage, jumping, barrels, pleasure etc). If she's just horse crazy, then it's usually easier (at least in my area) to grab a hunt barn.

Look for one that has plenty of lesson horses and a certified instructor would be a plus. Depending on where you live you'll want to figure in costs. Around here lessons range from $25-$100 per hour depending on what level instructor you are getting.

I think the average cost would be around 25/35ish...
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-19-2012, 12:19 PM
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I think the first poster has some great information. Many barns these days now have websites as well, making it pretty easy to get more information. Don't necessarily choose the cheapest place (or even the most expensive). Choose the place that you feel comfortable at. If it feels shady, it very well might be. If you're interested, also ask about other learning opportunities. Some barns will offer instruction on basic horse care as well (saddling, cleaning stalls, grooming, etc.), while some have their students simply hop on a horse and go. Decide if these other skills are important to you (personally, I think it teaches children responsibility, so I like them learning to scoop the poop!).

If your daughter is going to be riding English, I would suggest investing in some tall boots or half chaps because stirrup leathers have a nasty tendency to pinch the legs of young children (and it hurts!). Also buy a good helmet, preferably in-person so that the store can measure your child's head to get a proper fit.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-19-2012, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmpony84 View Post
Go to a real facility. Don't settle for any backyard places. While a ton of them are really good and sometimes even better then the public facilities, when you are new at it, it's too risky.
So true! While I can't say that every backyard barn is a bad place as I'm sure there are some very qualified instructors out there who operate them... but when I see an actual barn with a proper facility and structured lesson programs it definitely instills far more confidence then someone doing it as a hobby / money on the side.
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-15-2012, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: North Texas
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Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it. It was a big help in my decision. I found a place I felt comfortable with the trainer and talked to some of the clients. Decent rates as well. She's doing great and loves it
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-16-2012, 12:46 AM
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Well, this can be a very hard decision. I would just choose a cheap place, to introduce your daughter to riding. And if she gets really good at it, then she can earn money to buy her own lessons at a higher quality place with better horses and training facilities. I would ask to watch a few lessons and tour the place before you spend the money. I would buy 2-3 lessons and then ask your daughter how se likes it. If she does, then let her progress on for a few more months, and then take her to a new riding school. With horses, it is best to start out small. Most lessons average from $30-$45 so it shouldn't be to hard for her to earn money. Especially if she is really motivated, and thinks she could go far with this wonderful thing. Hope I helped! And please let me know how her lessons go! Thanks! And I hope I helped!HorseCrazyGirlForever
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Hello! I wish I had a horse of my own.... I am working hard to earn $1500 this year though! There just doesn't seem to be very many good horses on the market though......
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-20-2012, 12:33 AM
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I would foremost find an instructor who is experienced with young children. You could have the best and the brightest of instructors in the world, but if they don't have the patience for the short attention span of children, your child will not enjoy the lesson.

Instructors, to me, who are serious about taking you on as a client, ought to give you a tour of the barn and all (if not, most) of its facilities, as well as introduce you to some of the horses, particularly those your child will most likely be riding and interacting with. And try to get a feel for the atmosphere. I love a family atmosphere, you won't always get, but it is worth waiting for to find.

To be honest, the barn I fell in love with back home, I found online. The instructor and barn owner put a lot of effort into a well put together website, and it paid off for them and me. I won't set foot in another barn for lessons or boarding.

As for "backyard barns"? Depends on what the term defines. My barn is no super shiny hunter barn with concrete halls and all the bells and whistles. It's over 100 years old, built from cedar wood, with dirt floors and a metal roof, and has been expanded as well as updated over time. It houses some 40 fat and happy horses ranging from unknown bred rescues to high bred horses imported from Spain and Germany. It's one of the most charming places I've ever been too and is my home away from home.
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Think of it not as a failure but as a success in how not to do it.

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post #9 of 9 Old 05-21-2012, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: North Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corporal View Post
I used to teach.
Ask to watch a lesson or two. You are looking for a place that has kid-safe horses. NO:
--rearing
--bucking
--runaways
EVER
Ask your friends to recommend teaching stables to check out. Some stables specialize in this, others do it on the side, and some start/stop/later on start up lessons. Those that do this are not serious riding academies.
You are dishing out YOUR hard-earned money, so the teacher should be encouraging to every student--no favorites bc your child may not be a favorite there.
The lesson horses should be a little dull to cues. It's easier for children to learn when they have to cue stronger, but it is frightening if the lesson horse is light and takes off with a screaming child.
Find out what equipment you need to purchase for lessons.
I had my students purchase (minimum)--
-helmet
-boots (could be Western or English--
I didn't care which even if the boots didn't match the discipline-just no sheakers or tennis shoes bc all boots have a heel)
-riding gloves
-short crop
Ask about payment plans. I learned a LONG time ago that if you have a lesson on the same day of the the week, every 3rd month there will be 5 lessons instead of 4. IF the instructor tells you that you a get a free lesson every 3rd month, they aren't cheating you or being tricky, it just happens. (I also taught piano and voice, btw.)
Lastly, get a phone# to call after your observation if you have any more questions. If your child has a bad lesson experience he/she will sour on horses, so it's worth the time to research. =D
I did ask about payment plans and I paid with cash and received a discount.
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