Why do riding lessons cost so much? (part 1)
Published 08-02-2011 2:17 PM | Fernanda Camargo
This blog was written by Essie Rogers from the Kentucky Horse Council.
Why do riding lessons cost so much?
Lesson fees vary by region or area and also depend largely on the discipline (or type of riding), duration of the lesson, and the number of students participating. Most farms providing beginner lessons keep horses that are safe and appropriate for children. These lesson horses are tasked with teaching new students how to care for and ride horses.
Income from lessons is used to buy feed for the lesson horses, pay for their regular medical, dental, and hoof care, and buy and repair equipment. Often good beginner lesson horses may be older and require special feeds and supplements to help them stay in top condition. The average cost to provide care for one healthy horse is around $2,000 - $2,500 per year, this excludes the normal price of boarding.
In addition to feed and water, horses need annual vaccinations, regular treatment against parasites, annual dental examinations, and hoof care every 4-8 weeks. Farm managers work continuously with a network of equine professionals to keep their horses healthy and sound for your lessons.
Because of the ongoing cost of horse care, most riding instructors require advance notice of lesson cancellations and often have a policy for tardiness or missed lessons. It is best to ask your instructor about their policies in advance.
In order to provide riding lessons on safe mounts the farm has to make some initial investments which generally include purchasing horses, tack and equipment, and having access to a safe barn and enclosed arena. The price for purchasing lesson horses and tack varies greatly again by region, discipline, age and experience of the horse or tack, and other factors.
Most farms also pay for insurance, farm equipment (like tractors and mowers), arena maintenance or improvements, and a farm mortgage.
In general, lesson programs are unable to pay even a fraction of the cost of operating a farm but ideally should pay to care for the designated lesson horses and the instructor’s salary.