Riding Lessons (advice, please) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 03-19-2015, 06:41 PM Thread Starter
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Riding Lessons (advice, please)

As a little introduction, I would like to say that my name is Trina, I live in a small town and have little experience with horses. I have only been able to ride a total of maybe ten times, with friends.
Right now I am looking into taking riding lessons at a few local stables and I am planning to visit each stable over the next two weeks. There are three I'm looking into.
My question is what should I look for? What kind of questions do I need to ask?
Please forgive my ignorance, but I want to make sure I make an informed decision.
Any additional advice would be greatly appreciated :)
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post #2 of 32 Old 03-19-2015, 06:46 PM
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Ask if you can audit (sit in and watch) a few lessons with beginning students. It will give you a good feel for which instructor's approaches are the best fit for you.

“You spend your whole life with horses and just about the time you think you have them figured out, a horse comes along that tells you otherwise.” –quote from my very wizened trainer


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post #3 of 32 Old 03-19-2015, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. That had honestly never even crossed my mind.
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post #4 of 32 Old 03-19-2015, 06:53 PM
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Look for horses that are well taken care of and tack that's well taken care of. I don't expect to see high end saddles and bridles at lesson barns, but I DO expect to see tack with all straps in tact and not frayed, no pieces missing, nothing "dangerous." Horses should be in good shape (not underweight, feet not left obviously untrimmed). And like the above poster said, ask if you can watch a couple of lesson.
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post #5 of 32 Old 03-19-2015, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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I'll definitely do that! It sounds like a great idea.
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post #6 of 32 Old 03-19-2015, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Is there anything in particular I should ask the instructor/owner, or whoever is showing me around?
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post #7 of 32 Old 03-19-2015, 07:43 PM
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1. How do they handle cancellations? yours? theirs? weather?
2. Do they have an indoor riding arena ?
3. Does someone else groom and tack up the horse, or do you? if you...is that considered part of the lesson time ? I took lessons where the 1 hour lesson ended up chopped down to 30 mins because I had to groom and tack up --approx 15 mins, then untack and groom after the lesson--approx 15 mins.. It's great to learn those things, but it shouldln't be considered part of a one hour riding lesson, imho. Fine to plan on that for a whole lesson, or part of a lesson, but not regularly infringing on the riding time.
4. (speaking of grooming & tacking) You need to decide if general horsecare or horsemanship (groundwork) is part of what you want to learn in addition to riding. I recommend it!
5. Is it a show barn where lessons are geared toward the student being able to show? or a regular barn where a student is taught general riding
eg. my sister lessons at a show barn where she is taught saddleseat, which to me isnt at all practical for say,,,trail riding...also I don't understand how that is a balanced seat...sorry if I've offended anyone !
6. Make sure you will have the option to ride English and/or Western , and the option to switch if you decide later
7. While auditing some lessons, tune into how the students are 'sitting',,study up and read some of TxHorseman's posts to understand what to look for,,,are they teaching the students to have ear/shoulder/hip/heel in alignment?

That's all I can think of right now.
Good luck!! You'll love it.
Fay

Respect......rapport......impulsion......flexion.. .
Be as soft as possible, but as firm as necessary--Pat Parelli
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post #8 of 32 Old 03-19-2015, 07:43 PM
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Cost of lessons

If they take their students to a lot of shows, as that will often mean a weekend or two each month during the showing months where you may not have a lesson if they do that a lot.

Make up policy and notification if the instructor has to miss or if you have to reschedule.

Other activities that might be sponsored at the barn like bbq's or trail rides or clinics or camps

“You spend your whole life with horses and just about the time you think you have them figured out, a horse comes along that tells you otherwise.” –quote from my very wizened trainer


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post #9 of 32 Old 03-19-2015, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! Looks like I'm going to need to make a list!
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post #10 of 32 Old 03-19-2015, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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From what I've seen the ones in looking at aren't really geared for show. I'm more interested in basics and trail riding myself.
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