Ballpark Estimate: $50 to $85/hour; $30 to $45/half hour
So you want to learn to ride a horse. Horseback riding can be a source of unbridled pleasure for people of all ages and ability levels. When you climb on the back of a horse, you can get a new vantage point from which explore the world. This can be an exhilarating experience, but it also carries some risk, so it’s important that you be properly trained in how to ride safely right from the first time you saddle up.
Horseback Riding Goals
Whether you want to learn to ride a horse for fun, learn to show your horse, or to ride competitively, horseback riding lessons can be an essential step to help you to achieve your goals.
Benefits of Horse Riding Lessons
When you decide you want to try horseback riding, it’s important to understand up front that this sport requires time and money. But in return for the investment, you can expect to receive a host of physical and emotional benefits. For instance, horseback riding can be great exercise and can allow you to become attuned with nature. It also provides a unique opportunity to communicate closely with an animal. But more than this, it can also teach hard-work, responsibility, determination, balance, coordination and a sense of freedom that can be hard to replicate in any other way.
Key Decisions in Selecting Riding Lessons
Before you sign up for horseback riding lessons, you’ll need to decide what type of lessons you’d like. There are two basic horse saddle styles: English and Western. Each one has some different nuances, so you will need to determine which one feels more comfortable for you and your riding style. Many people opt for the Western horse saddle style, which is a little safer than English and can be easier to master, although many of the basics can be similar when it comes to beginner horseback riding lessons. You also need to know what you want to do with your horse riding skills. Are you looking for recreation horse trail riding, or do you hope to learn some stunts that you can use in a horse competition? If you’re not sure of your preferences, you might talk to some horse instructors to learn more about your choices and help find the right match.
What to Look For
Once you have an idea of your goals in seeking horseback riding lessons, you should contact some of the horse stables in your area and ask lots of questions to determine what they offer and how well they adhere to common safety practices.
Some of the types of information that can help you to assess the quality of horseback riding lessons include: how long the horse instructor has been riding and how long he/she has been teaching, whether he/she has competed in any horse shows and what type of awards he/she has won. You’ll also want to find out what kind of insurance the horse stable and/or instructor carries. Finally, some horse instructors are accredited by a horse riding association such as the American Association of Horsemanship Safety and the American Riding Instructors Association. An affiliation with these types of organizations can demonstrate the horse instructor’s commitment to the field and to students. If you’re seeking horseback riding lessons for your child, you should also find out at what ages they work with. Many horseback riding instructors require youngsters to be at least 6 or 7 years old when they start their first lesson.
Horseback Riding Basics
If you are just starting out with horseback riding, most experts recommend beginning with private lessons so that you can become comfortable with the basics before you move into a group setting. This is essential so that you can learn to manage the horse properly to ensure your safety. Keep in mind that the initial horseback riding lessons will usually be shorter (perhaps 30 or 45 minutes) until you build up your stamina, strength, and flexibility required to ride for longer periods.
Part of learning to ride a horse is also understanding how to care for the horse. That’s why some instructors include horsemanship as part of the riding session. This teaches students how to handle the horse properly and take the necessary steps to ensure they stay safe each time they saddle up for a ride.
How to Find Horseback Riding Lessons
In order to find a horseback riding stable that offers lessons, you can ask for referrals from colleagues and friends. You can also look in your yellow pages or do a search online for local horse stables. Some websites also offer a searchable directory that can make it easy for you to find equestrian training in your area. For instance, you can visit Horserentals.com and GoEquine.com .
What to Wear for Riding Lessons
How to dress for a horseback riding lesson can depend on your instructor’s specific preferences, but some of the basic elements will be consistent no matter where you take your lessons. For instance, you will be required to wear an equestrian helmet that has ASTM/SEI certification. This is essential to ensure you’ll be protected in the event of an accident. (You can find a decent quality helmet for a price of $100 or less.) Remember that horses are big, strong animals and occasionally can be unpredictable. You need to be dressed for safety. You will also need to wear horse riding boots (good equestrian boots can cost between $200 and $400 or more) or at least a pair of supportive shoes that will stay on your feet. If you are horse riding for recreation only, you may not need to invest in riding clothes but you should at least select jeans and a t-shirt or other items that are close fitting and will allow you to move without fear of them getting in your way.
What It Costs
What you spend on horseback riding lessons depends on what type of sessions you select. You might opt for private lessons, which will be the more expensive avenue, but it will also help you learn the basics in the most efficient recommended way. An hour-long private horseback riding lesson can cost from $40 to $100 an hour, or can cost $25 to $65 for a half-hour private lesson. Semi-private horseback riding lessons can accommodate two students who split the cost. An hour semi-private horseback riding lesson might cost between $30 and $90 per student, or can cost $20 to $50 for a half-hour semi-private horseback riding lesson per student. Group horseback riding lessons are the least expensive. These horseback riding lessons can cost from $15 to $75 per student for an hour lesson, or can cost from $10 to $40 for a half-hour group horseback riding lesson.
It can cost $10 to $65 for a half-hour lesson or from $15 to $100 for an hour lesson, with the price varying depending on whether you select a group, semi-private, or private setting.
Note that many horseback riding schools offer lesson packages that include multiple sessions. You may save a little (up to about 10 percent off) on the cost per horseback riding lesson by paying up front. Just keep in mind that the exact prices and how they are calculated, as well as what types of package deals are offered, can vary a great deal from stable to stable.
A Final Note
If you have your own horse and you want to learn to ride it, you should look for an horse instructor who will give you horseback riding lessons on your own animal. This can be very beneficial because it will allow you and your horse to be trained together and can enable you to learn how to ride most successfully. Some horse stables will charge you a little less for lessons if you use your own horse. (You might save about $10 per lesson), while others will charge the same price no matter whose horse you use because the same amount of work is involved.