Before beginning your journey of riding horseback, you need to find an
instructor. Choosing an instructor is important as you want someone you feel comfortable working with,
someone that is knowledgeable, and someone that works with the style of riding you are interested in. You
may go for a well known, professional trainer or for someone you've heard through word of mouth is
excellent. Whatever your choice, here are the things you should look for in a horse riding
1. Begin by deciding what style of riding you're interested in. Western?
English? Dressage? Trail Riding? Determine your riding goals; are you interested in competitions or would you
rather be involved in recreational riding?
2. Determine how much time you have to devote to your horsemanship. Knowing
this ahead of time will help to determine what level instructor you want. You definitely want to go with
someone good, but if you're simply looking for one lesson a week you don't necessarily need a professional
trainer that turns out champion horses and riders.
3. Figure out if there is anything you know of, ahead of time, that the
instructor may have to work with you on. Are you afraid of mounting? Does the size of a horse bother you? Know
this about yourself and be prepared to discuss it with your instructor.
4. Understand that most lessons last about an hour and should be taken at
least once a week. Also be aware that grooming, tacking and untacking add another hour and you should be
willing to set aside this time as part of your lesson time.
5. Set your budget. Private lessons usually range from $40-90 per hour and
group lessons from $20-50. You must also be willing to come to lessons in the proper attire.
6. Try to narrow down your instructors to those that come highly recommended
or are certified. Certification means they have passed tests and classes on instruction. Compile a list
of instructors from the internet and phone books and start calling. Pull together a chart that lists
qualifications, certifications and prices so you can compare.
7. Note how you feel speaking to them on the phone? Are you comfortable with
them? Do they seem friendly and knowledgeable.
8. Drive out and check them out in person. Watch a lesson and see how they
interact with their students. Do they pay attention? Do they have a helmet policy? Are they easy to understand
and open to questions?
9. Take a look at the barn and horses. Do they appear healthy and happy?
Is the barn neat, orderly and clean?
10. Take some time to talk to the instructor yourself and see if what you felt
on the phone is the same in person. Don't worry about insulting or hurting feelings if you drive away and
decide to look elsewhere. You want to be comfortable with the person and horses you are expected to ride
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