what you look for in a lesson barn?
So basically I found this awesome looking hunter/jumper barn that's only 2 hours away from me that I would love to take lessons at, but I wanted to make sure it's a great barn before I decide whether to take lessons there or not.
Soo... What do you look for in a good lesson barn? Specifically hunter/jumper. :lol: I'm a western rider, but I'm looking to learn how to ride English and eventually jump!
It's called Canterbrooke and it's located in Iowa... Anybody take there? Here's the link if anyone's bored and wants to tell me what they think ;) http://canterbrooke.com/default.aspx
When I look for a trainer, I like to watch a lesson or two and try to talk to the current students, find out what they like/don't like. I also look for a barn that is clean, clear of clutter, has healthy and appropriate horses. Then it's just to watch the lessons, see if I like the trainer's teaching style and think they have something to offer.
This place seems like a good start. Even their website is professional. The trainer is still very active in the industry and rides. I find that to be a huge bonus. That way if you have your own horse, they can get on and show you something if need be.
This is the kind of place I would look for.
I look for a place that has healthy look horse kept in a safe environment and that all the riders are wearing helmets. Their facility looks and sounds nice (heated barn sound especially great!)
The biggest thing is going to the barn and not only interacting with the trainer, but also the rest of the barn. For learning a new discipline you want to be comfortable in a place so you can focus. I have a friend that rides at a beautiful facility with great lesson horses, but often feels uncomfortable with some of the teenage show team members who are always hanging around the barn. She's in her early twenties and hasn't riden since she was in her early teens and feels like she's being sized up.
Also, look at the flexibility of lessons. I'm in college and have periods of time when I can't get out to the barn for regular lessons. My trainer works for me because I'm able to schedule lessons same day or the day before if I'm able to free up my schedule. Some barns have trainers that go to shows a lot and are not always available for weekend lessons and I can name a few trainers in my area that will be gone for about months in the winter, showing in Florida and in the summer their Vermont; they have another trainer brought in, but it can get annoying.
Finally, not only check for if they have healthy/happy looking horses, but also that they have a horse that's suitable for your size and level available to ride if you don't own a horse.
Pretty much agree with the other posts :). I look for well kept horses, good weight, normal clean stalls. If my eyes water as soon as I walk in, the stalls aren't being cleaned properly. General unclutter understanding that as people ride, things end up on the floor or on stalls etc. The important part is lookng at the safety of where tools, ie shopvels, wheelbarrows etc, are kept. AS for instructors, that is always a hard one as having instructors with different styles can be a bonus. Watch a lesson or two in your age group with different instructors. Are the instructors mechanical in their teaching or do they have fun? Some teach just to teach but you can tell they don't really enjoy it..these are the ones I would avoid. While some upper level riders may have that need for the stern mechanical style, as a beginner (english anyway), it isn't a crime to have fun in the lesson. As an example, at the barn I ride at, the lessons for the kids are more structured where for the adults, the lesson is a little looser but still educational. I ride in a group of, hmm, let's just say riders over the age of 40, and we jokingly refer to ourselves as the geriatric group :)
You won't know unless you go there and sit in during a lesson. Make sure you feel comfortable and happy there :)
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