three times a week! (i hope I did not say month?) not exactly $500 a lesson but yes, was too much for too little. I paid half the horses expenses (approx $750 or so) and then $800 for my lessons to the trainer. So really about $62 a lesson (if you assume 13 lessons in a month), but when you factor actually paying for the horse on top of that - about $120 per lesson/ride? and it was very "get on ride, lesson over, give back horse". didn't feel like a lease.
The horse was an athletic warmblood, definitely trained. I wouldn't say Olympic/Grand Prix level though.. (the owner was leasing because she wanted to jump higher and this horse was only good for smaller jumps under 3"). (she's in my avatar photo). At the end of the day though - I don't feel i need a show horse. I just need a good temperament and willingness.
Re: any of my advice - Happy to give my two cents, but not an expert... just a girl who loves riding horses!