Question: Horseback Riding Lessons - What should you ask a riding coach?
When I visit riding stables for lessons, what should I ask the riding instructor or coach?
- How long have they owned and ridden horses?
- How long have they been teaching riding?
- What insurance do they carry?
- Have they competed in horse shows, trials, or competitive distance rides? (You could ask to see awards.)
- What is their specialty? If it’s dressage and you want to trail ride, it may not be a good match.
- Do they hold a current first-aid certificate?
- Do they hold any other credentials like Centered Riding or other accreditation? I've listed many associations that offer accreditation for riding instructors and stable in the FAQ What Makes a Good Coach?
- How many students do they currently have?
- How long have the lesson horses been owned? Beware if they brag of the great bargain they picked up at auction last weekend. And ask how old the horses are. Don't be alarmed if many are older horses, but do be suspicious if there are any horses under the age of four. Older horses are better for riding lessons, especially for beginners.
- Do they offer private lessons or will you be in a group? First-time riders should have private lessons until they are able to competently control the horse. Lessons of over six riders can be overcrowded making it difficult to maintain a safe distance between horses. Instructors will have a harder time giving students individual attention in larger groups.
- How long will the lessons be? You may have a choice of partial or full hours (or more). A partial hour may be better for younger children or those of us of a 'certain age'--at least until our flexibility and strength increase.
- How much will the lessons cost? You can expect lessons to start at $25 and go up. It's not unusual to pay $40 or more for a one hour private lesson. If you book and pay month or more in advance you may get a discount.
- Can you ride your own horse? You may have this option of you can trailer your horse in.