Choosing the Right Facility
While learning how to ride is an enjoyable and fun experience, it has the potential for inherent risks. For this reason, it’s important that you find the best facility you can. Choosing the right facility can make a huge difference in your riding education; choosing the wrong facility could negatively impact your riding and experience with horses.
IS THE FACILITY AND LESSON PROGRAM PROFESSIONAL, SAFE AND WELL-MANAGED?
The best way to find out is to arrange a tour of the facility while a lesson is taking place. When it comes to horses, functional and safe facilities are a must. Keep your eyes & ears open and look for the following:
IS THE INSTRUCTOR/COACH CERTIFIED TO TEACH RIDING LESSONS?
Ask about the lesson program and the credentials of the instructors/coaches teaching lessons.
EC certified instructors/coaches are listed on the SHF Website.
OBSERVE A BEGINNER LESSON-HOW DOES THE INSTRUCTOR/COACH INTERACT WITH THE RIDERS?
There is a broad range of teaching styles among coaches. They won’t all appeal to everyone, but a good coach or instructor will recognize the needs of their students and make adjustments to help them learn and be successful. You should discuss your expectations with your prospective coach and, when watching their lesson, look for a theme or goal in the lesson. Some coaches will be more explicit than others, but it helps the students if they understand the goals of the lesson and how the exercises help achieve that goal.
WHAT IS A SCHOOL HORSE?
The primary talents of a good beginner school horse are good manners and an even, forgiving temperament.
DO THE SCHOOL HORSES LOOK HEALTHY?
Horses should look happy and healthy, well-fed, relativity clean with no untreated cuts or wounds.
If you see that the majority of the horses look lifeless and dull, you may want to reconsider your decision.
ARE THERE RULES ABOUT PARENT INVOLVEMENT, SUCH AS WATCHING LESSONS?
Stables and coaches will have different rules about how closely a parent or friend is involved during tacking up, lessons and untacking. You should expect to be asked to stay outside the ring or arena during the lesson. Some facilities will have a viewing room or an area outside the ring/arena where you can watch the lesson.