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Questions to Ask Potential Riding Instructors


horse riding instructorOnce you've narrowed down your list to a small group of favorites, interview them. These are people you will be paying to teach you a skill and you want to be sure you're comfortable with them and their skill level and that they'll be able to teach you what you want to learn.

1. How long have you owned and ridden horses?
The longer your instructor has been around and riding horses, the more they will know about riding and caring for them. This does not, however, guarantee that they are a good teacher. Not everyone who does something well can teach it well.

2. How long have you been teaching others how to ride?
Be careful of instructors who are just starting out or who may not have been teaching for long. You may want to observe a lesson or two before you commit to using them as an instructor.

3. Do you carry insurance? What is covered?
Do they have liability coverage? You want to be certain that if something happens to you that their insurance will cover any injuries or accidents. You also want to be sure that you are covered if you lose control of their horse and cause damage during your lesson.

4. Have you competed in any shows? What awards have you won?
If you are planning to compete, this can be important. Someone who has competed themselves knows the systems and the judging and should be able to critique the details of your riding as you continue to grow and develop.

5. What is your specialty?
This is very important as you don't want to sign up with a trainer that is versed in dressage and competition when you just want to do leisurely trail riding.

6. Do you have a first aid certificate?
Any instructor you talk with should have AT LEAST this certification. Being trained in first aid is crucial should a dangerous situation arise.

7. Do you have any certifications or other credentials?
Look for things like CHA, BHS, AAHS, ARIA, or CCHI credentials. These groups often require instructors to take classes in riding before they can be accredited.

8. How many other students do you currently have?
You want a happy medium. Too few students and there may be problems with them as an instructor, but too many and you may worry that you're not going to get the same care and attention that you are paying for.

9. How long have you had your lesson horses and how old are they?
You want to be wary of anyone who tries to talk up a horse they just purchased recently or anyone who is working horses under the age of four as lesson horses. Older horses are far better suited for lessons as they have more patience and are more forgiving of beginners who don't know what they're doing. Your instructor should be working with horses they know well and are a good age for giving lessons.

10. Do you do group or private lessons? Which do you prefer?
You will want to do private lessons until you have control of your horse, so be wary of an instructor who does "beginner group lessons" as these can be dangerous. You also want to avoid instructors who do group lessons of more than six people as it means you will receive less attention and the group can be difficult to handle.

11. How long are your lessons?
Look for someone that offers partial and full hours. Beginners and young children may not be able to handle a full hour or longer until their endurance increases.

12. How much are your lessons?
Lessons should start at $25 for group lessons and $40 for private lessons. This will vary based on how long you want each lesson to be and your location.

13. Can I bring and ride my own horse?
This is a nice option, if it's available. It allows you to work with your own horse and the instructor, but it should be used most as a tie breaker between two trainers as it is not a necessity.


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