We offer both English and Western lessons for beginning through advanced riders on safe, calm school horses, or you may take lessons on your own horse. All lessons are tailored to the student’s individual needs, ability, and goals. All lessons are based on horse training techniques that allow free flow of communication between horse and rider. The rider learns to ‘ask’ the horse for a movement, not ‘make’ the horse do something. This creates a positive atmosphere in which the horse and rider work as a team. All of our lessons are $50/hour and focus on becoming a well-rounded horse-person that is safe and knowledgeable.
All lessons (Western or English) focus on creating riders who are strong leaders for their horses, not just passengers. Our main goal is to create riders that are thinking, considerate leaders for their horses and to help our students achieve their own goals. All students learn to groom, saddle, and bridle their horses; we think it is very important that the student not think of the horse as a ‘vehicle’. The responsibilities of grooming and tacking up keeps the horse comfortable and healthy.
All of our school horses are trained for English and Western riding, and make great all-round equine companions. We have a range of school tack that students may use, or they may use their own tack (so long as it is safe and fits their horse correctly). We also have school helmets available for students to use who do not own their own helmet; we do require that all students wear a helmet during every riding lesson. We also request that students wear boots or closed-toed shoes with at least 1/4″ heel and comfortable clothes that they can easily move in during their lessons. The safety of horse and rider is always our primary concern.
Most of our lessons are private, although we occasionally do small-group lessons (usually no more than two or three students per group lesson). By having private or small-group lessons, the student receives much more individual attention and is able to progress more safely and quickly. Smaller lesson sizes also keep the horses happier, because their student-riders are educated about how to consider their horse’s needs and the student and horse develop a better relationship. Advanced students sometimes have larger group (3-4 students) lessons so that they may observe their peers in action and discuss training ideas and techniques.
Lessons are generally one hour long, which includes approximately 30 minutes for grooming and tacking up, followed by 30 minutes of riding. Once you can tack up, steer and control your horse, you can advance to dressage or jumping lessons. These advanced lessons do NOT including tacking up time and you will be expected to come early to groom and tack up your horse.
We have two riding instructors that have different specialties. PK Theobald is our western and ground school trainer; she does most of the beginner lessons, laying a strong riding foundation in rider and horse safety. PK also teaches all of the ground school or Natural Horsemanship lessons (from beginning through advanced). Lisa Sikkink is our dressage trainer; she teaches most of the jumping and dressage lessons for the more advanced riders. You can find out more about our instructors on our “Our People” page.
Scheduling, Payment, and Discounts
The barn is open for lessons Tuesday through Sunday for lessons from 6am to 6pm, however, each instructor keeps their own schedule and is willing to work with your availability.
For regular lessons we offer easy online scheduling so that students may easily change their lesson times and days, as well as schedule lessons for several weeks in advance. All of our instructors use this system and keep their availability up-to-date so it is easy to schedule lessons around vacations and barn events. The online system is easy to use, but instructions can be found here. Click the “Schedule an Appointment” button to the right to start using the online scheduling system!
We accept a wide range of payment options: cash, check, credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal. We do offer a couple of specials:
- Bulk Lesson Discount: Purchase 10 lessons and get one free. This is a great deal for committed students!
Ground School or Natural Horsemanship Lessons
These lessons are usually unmounted and are exceptionally valuable, as they teach the importance of leadership, clear communication with your horse, and creating a horse that trusts you. These provide a good foundation for all mounted work.
Western riding is invested in creating students with a good seat and soft hands. Western lessons prepare students for Western gaming events, trail riding, or to move onto dressage or jumping.
We offer both dressage and jumping lessons, and many of our more advanced students do both. Dressage training principles serve as the foundation for all lessons, as they create not only athletic horses, but also skilled riders with a good seat and soft hands. Once students have the basics of dressage they may move on to jumping.
Buckaroo lessons are 30 minutes and cost $25. These lessons give young children equine experience in a time frame that youngsters can handle. They groom and get safe, closely-supervised riding time.
Unmounted lessons are a fun addition or alternative to traditional riding lessons for students who are interested in all things equestrian, not just riding. Typically, these lessons are structured as a hands-on lecture and demonstration of a specific topic and are tailored to the students’ specific interests and age, so they are appropriate for kids who are just starting out, as well as advanced, long-time riders who want in-depth knowledge that cannot be learned in the saddle. For example, a student who is interested in purchasing a new saddle might want to take a lesson on saddle fitting, so s/he can better assess if a particular saddle will work for her and her horse. Topics include saddle and bridle fitting and care; show, event, or trail riding preparation; equine confirmation, health, and maintenance; rider fitness; equine conditioning; high-level theory behind the practice of riding; and so on. Unmounted learning is great for all students, but are especially helpful for students who have a health reason that they cannot ride, or those who want an opportunity to learn out of the saddle. There is so much to know about horses and riding that it cannot possibly all be taught from the saddle, and unmounted lessons offer a wonderful supplement and change of pace to what students learn during regular lessons.
We strongly recommend that all of our students read Sally Swift’s Centered Riding, as this text provides all lot of the principles that will be used in lessons. There are usually used copies of Swift’s book available in the office. As riders progress, we have additional texts that illustrate the new concepts that lessons will address. If you would like further reading material, we have a number of other suggestions as well–just ask!
The safety of our students is our primary concern and because we have a covered arena, we are generally able to hold lessons, rain or shine. However, if there is lightning, high winds, or extremely heavy rain that could cause flooding, or the weather otherwise makes it unsafe to ride, lessons will continue for the day as “unmounted” lessons in which the students will learn about any of a wide range of topics that are appropriate for the students’ age and skill level. These topics might include saddle and bridle fitting and care, horse health and anatomy, horse care and maintenance, exercise and training theory, or other equestrian topic of interest to the student. Unmounted lessons are a fun and informative supplement to regular riding lessons and are our way of making the best of bad weather. We want our students to have a well-rounded equestrian education and bad weather gives us an opportunity to teach our students about equine subjects that might not be covered during traditional riding lessons.