Frequently Asked Questions
How old do you have to be to ride?
We receive numerous inquiries about very young children. The best age to start children is between 6 and 12 years old. Many parents think their children are mature enough to ride at 4 and younger. We ask that you pay us a visit and let the child have a little time around our horses and the instructors. We also require parents of small children to take at least one session of lessons so they may knowledgeably assist in the evaluation of the current suitability of their child to ride.
We use ponies and small horses for small children but even then children must possess the physical strength to do the required tasks. Our experience shows that if your child cannot give eye contact to the instructor and understand basic instruction it is an indication they should wait a little longer. They must also understand to some degree the discipline in riding necessary to keep them safe during the time spent in the physical presence of horses and the barn. We provide safety sheets to all riders and you and your child must review these, understand the risks involved in the sport of riding, and abide by our stable and industry safety requirements.
How old is too old to ride?
If you've ridden all of your life you can ride until you can't get on! However if you are thinking of taking up riding after age 50, you should be sure your doctor approves and that you are in shape for the job at hand. Riding is hard physical work. Other than that, basically, you're never too old until you think you are!
How often should I ride?
Students in our program must ride a minimum of once a week. It is recommended that you ride two to three times a week. This is very important when you start lessons for the first time as there are so many things to learn about the horse and the equipment.
Must I ride in horse shows?
Absolutely not. Many of our students do ride at shows. Show are an excellent way to increase riding skills most quickly, and they can be lots of fun, for competitors and spectators alike. However we respect the fact that some riders are not competitive and just want to enjoy the equestrian lifestyle.
What should I expect in my first lesson?
In your first lesson you will have orientation and an evaluation. Everyone, no matter how experienced, must learn our program's whys and hows. You'll be walked thru the steps of our basic lesson format. Each lesson starts with the rider grooming their horse and then "tacking up". We'll work at building your equestrian vocabulary. You'll take care of your horse following the ride. Students ride very little in the first lessons. Actual saddle time increases each lesson as you become more adept at preparing your horse.
You need to be patient with yourself. Learning to ride is a very top heavy sport. This means that at the start you have a lot to learn about the horse, its environment, the equipment used on and around it, plus a whole new vocabulary. There is also a whole new mental and physical behavior pattern of another species to learn.
What can I do to prepare myself for riding?
Books are always a good learning tool. We like to see you start with reader friendly books. Happy Horsemanship and The Pony Club Manual are both good.
A little extra time at the barn is another way to become more comfortable around the horses. Couple the time spent with lots of questions and you can really accelerate your progress.
What style of riding do we teach?
Our program teaches the balanced seat, specializing in Hunters, Jumpers and Equitation. We are also well founded in the principles of Dressage and carry experience in Three-Day Eventing which is a three phase competition consisting of dressage, cross-country jumping and show jumping.
What equipment do I need?
For your first lesson all riders need a helmet, long pants and hard shoes with a heel. Loafers, sneakers and jogging shoes are not acceptable. No sweat pants, but jeans are fine.
All riders must have a riding helmet. Your helmet should be ASTM-SEI approved safety helmets with a secure chinstrap and padding and is recognized as an industry safety standard.
Ideally riders will acquire a pair of half chaps and paddock boots along with a helmet. The investment in a helmet roughly starts at $155 and can go up to $500.00. Half Chaps come in leather or suede. The prices start at $60 to $300. Paddock boots are a short boot designed for riding. They come in black or brown, lace or zipper closure. For lessons any of these are suitable. The price for boots start at $60.00. A crop rounds out the outfit. Its cost, about $10-$20 dollars.
Riding equipment is very traditional and must fit properly. For example if chaps are not tight they defeat their purpose and will rub your legs. Helmets must fit snugly or they can move in the event of a fall. Jackets should not be bulky but fit fairly snug so that the instructor can see your posture. It is essential you receive competent information when purchasing your riding wardrobe.
CHILDREN ARE NEVER BORED AROUND HORSES, THEY'RE ALWAYS BUSY!