Revamping Our Riding Program - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-13-2011, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Revamping Our Riding Program

I am in serious need of ideas on ways to revamp our riding program. I manage a 150 stall Equestrian Center and am trying to reconfigure our program. Right now we have 7 very talented instructors teaching with 4 arenas. I know that seems like enough arenas but with that many instructors teaching while boarders are also trying to ride their horses it can get pretty messy. During our busy after school hours there are sometimes 3 instructors in one arena trying to yell over each other which is confusing for the riders and also poses a bit of a safety problem.

Along with those problems I'm also finding that all of my instructors are completely booked up and there are still a lot more eager students who want to ride with us.

I would really like to make our program as more of only group lessons but am struggling to find an organized way to group them. I know it needs to be obviously beginner, intermediate, advanced, along with then branching them into specific disciplines like Dressage and Jumping.

Any other suggestions would be AWESOME.
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post #2 of 6 Old 09-13-2011, 12:19 AM
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With that many horses, riders and instructors, I would set it up like a dance studio does. Offer an intro class, intermediate etc and a combined class. Set it up on a schedule and they sign up for that class, see what I mean? As a boarder, I would be irritated with trying to ride in a crowded arena where I pay to board...there needs to be a time slot or arena just for them. Sounds like maybe it's time to build a few new arenas along with your time management revamping.
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post #3 of 6 Old 09-13-2011, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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We are definitely working on building another riding arena for our boarders but we are located in the middle of the city and don't have a lot of space to expand along with having to jump through lots of city code ordinances.

That is a great idea for the whole sign up idea of having different ones. Would we have assistants then for our intro? How would we work that safety wise?

Thanks for the response!
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post #4 of 6 Old 09-13-2011, 12:35 AM
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My goal if I were doing it would be to have higher level riders be the assistant in the lower level classes. At the barn where Sarah rides, the high school girls assist in the classes for the younger girls. As payment they are allowed free arena time to ride their horses that they ride (they aren't owners or leasers, just lesson girls). Same deal goes on in Abi's (the ballet girl in my life) ballet classes, the senior students help in the lower level children's classes.
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-09-2012, 09:50 AM
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I also think that you should get some of the older girls to help teaching with beginners. At my barn, every 3 months or so our trainers do "clinics" just for our barn. That way, the lesson kids can have a different perspective of what they're working on or even try something new. For example as a hunter, I tried dressage at one of the clinics.
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-09-2012, 03:17 PM
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Not all familes are going to be able to spend the extra time driving additional days.

I think the schedules should be ring-based. Here's an example:

Arena 1:
Monday
4pm Private Dressage (Last name)
5pm Intro to Dressage (Sign up at X location)
6pm Private Dressage (Last name)

Tuesday
Etc

Arena 2:
Monday
2pm Pretty Pony (Last name)
4pm Intro to Jumping (Sign up at x location)
5pm Private Jump (Last name)

Etc

This way, people would always know which arenas are in use and when. Group classes could be open on a signup, first-come first-served basis, with a limited waitlist. Make a rule that says you have to be IN the saddle at X minutes before your lesson (they should be warming up before the lesson anyway, right?), otherwise you forfeit your spot and a waitlist person can jump in *if they are tacked up and ready*. Try to lump similar things together - you don't want a jump course set up in the arena that's going to be used for Dressage all day and have to set up jumps elsewhere. If you have 4 arenas, there's no reason why 3 instructors should be lumped together unless there's just that many lessons. Lessons should not go on in the same arena if another arena is empty. Consider getting those arena microphones and give all the students earpieces, so the instructor can talk into the mic and the student will hear the instructor.
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