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What to Look for in a Horse Riding Instructor


riding_instructorBefore 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 instructor.

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 with.


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