Why do riding lessons cost so much (part 2)
Published 08-02-2011 2:27 PM | Fernanda Camargo
This blog was written by Essie Rogers of the Kentucky Horse Council.
This blog is the continuation of last week's blog, where we are discussing the cost related with taking horseback riding lessons.
Getting More for Less
Often farms will offer discounted fees for students learning in a group lesson while they charge a premium for private instruction.
For most students learning to ride, it is best to participate in group lessons for several reasons. As already mentioned it is often less expensive per student to ride with others. In addition if you ride with a group you can watch other riders which can be helpful if you’re a visual learner. Another bonus is the opportunity to meet new people and make friends.
Some farms offer working student arrangements which allow students to work on the farm for discounted or free lessons. This is typically only available for those students with horse experience and often includes activities like feeding, mucking stalls, cleaning tack, preparing horses for lessons, clipping, bathing, show preparation and support, and more. In general most farms do not offer working student arrangements for beginner students but with time, commitment, and an increase in skill level such an opportunity could develop.
As You Advance
Most horse farms are unable to pay their expenses through lesson programs and often combine a lesson program with boarding or training services and horse sales. As your riding skills progress you may find that you are ready for a more advanced horse. If your instructor doesn’t have a school horse to match your skill level, you may have to purchase or lease a horse which should be done with the help of your instructor or another qualified professional.
The Big Picture
When you take a riding lesson on a school horse you are paying both the riding instructor and the lesson horse. While you may be tempted to choose a lesson facility based on price alone; it is advisable to check out the quality of the facility, horses, equipment, and instructor before committing to a lesson contract. While you are riding your safety depends on the horse, facilities, and instructor. It is extremely important that you take lessons from someone with whom you feel safe and on horses that are experienced with beginners.
Ask your riding instructor if he or she is certified as a riding instructor. There are several organizations that certify riding instructors at a variety of levels and for different disciplines. You may have to pay more for a lesson with a certified instructor but that certification tells you that your instructor passed the scrutiny of a professional organization.
Please do remember that horses and humans are living creatures and that we all sometimes make mistakes and accidents do happen. There is never a guarantee that riders won’t fall but there should always be a guarantee that safety is a top priority. Your riding instructor should be able to tell you things they do to help keep you safe and how the lesson horse knows to be safe.