Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
I think the best thing to do is find a generally reputable stable that you like and respect and then ask them yourself. You haven't mentioned where you are from, but I would be reluctant to travel far in case it does not work out, and you have spent all this money in travel and have no were to go.
Although I think it is a rare circumstance where students aren't being taken advantage of to an extent. Its just one of those things where you have to decide if you feel you are getting enough out of it to justify the work put in. I think depending on the stable, the instructor, the rider and the individual attitude all affects how positive an experience it is - you won't know until you try, the best instructor might still turn out to be a bad experience, and a less qualified or experienced instructor may teach you a whole lot more. Also ask yourself, if you worked another job and used the profits to pay for lessons, would you be in an equal or better position? Be critical of what is happening, you are the one that lets people take advantage of you.
Put yourself in a position so that if it doesn't work out you still have enough money to get back home or find your own place or something. Also communicate, know what each party expects from the other.