If you drive by a pasture with horses and your little one points to them and squeals, or your daughter’s room is filled with posters, books, and statues of horses, this article is to help you better understand horse riding options. Maybe you are even the one who has always dreamed about riding or being with horses. But how do you fulfill this passion of a horse riding experience? Below are a few different ways you can find places to go horse riding.
Horse Riding Lessons
Lessons are the most structured way to learn the skill of horse riding. It is a commitment but in the end the fastest way to solidify horsemanship skills. Searching for horseback riding near me, horseback riding lessons or horse riding near me – will yield you the best results. When looking for horseback riding instruction, spend time on the websites of instructors that you are interested in to learn what they offer. If safety is mentioned, what is the certification and experience of the instructors, and do you like their philosophy on training and instruction. Ask if you can come and watch, take a tour, or if they offer an introduction lesson at a reduced price to see if they are a good fit for you.
Most people start with deciding whether they will do an English or Western discipline. This is something to keep in mind but the first thing to look for is a facility that has a teaching style that fits you and is thorough in the foundational skills you will need to stay safe while enjoying the learning process. As you gain skills and knowledge you will have many choices of where you want to go with your new skills. Dressage, jumping, eventing, western pleasure, trail, ranch, cutting, reining, the list goes on and on. Horse riding schools will all have their own variety of disciplines they offer or may only focus on one because they train horses just for that discipline as well as compete in it.
At Promenade Horsemanship Academy, foundational lessons are a combination of natural horsemanship and classical dressage. We teach natural horsemanship to help students understand horse behavior and classical dressage to address the physical movement of the horse. Focus on the biomechanics helps to keep the horse confident and safe for the student, helps the student to understand proper cueing of the horse, as well as keep the horse ridable long into the horse’s life. The best riding horses are created and maintained through proper mental and physical exercises.
Horseback Riding Camp
Horseback riding camps are another great way to learn the basics of riding. Many stables, including ours, offer camps during the summer as well as any school breaks, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring break weeks. Local horse camps are usually day camps while camps in scenic areas will house students for the duration of the camp.
Camps are a concentrated way to learn how to ride. Since a camp runs for several hours for a number of consecutive days, skills are learned and retained in a short amount of time because of the repetition that is done to learn the skill.
I see camps used in two ways. One, it is a short term way to satisfy the desire to ride. We have many youth who we see only in our summer camp program. Second, parents use it to test to see if their child is going to enjoy and commit to horseback riding. Either way, horse camp is a great way for youth and adults to spend a vacation, holiday, or summer break, and create memories they will never forget.
In the past you could find a stable that would do horse rental. You could call and reserve a horse, they would have the horse saddled and you would adventure out on a local path or ride down one of the adjacent roads. This option is rare today. You can find stables that provide trail riding where you are part of a guided horseback riding group, sitting, on a horse that is head to tail with others walking down the trail. Little or no teaching of horsemanship is done, but this is a great way to see the local scenery. Most of these stables will be found at or near a state park or in tourist areas.
Another way to learn to ride is owning your own horse. What I will advise with this one is to plan on hiring a trainer or instructor unless you have a family member or close friend who is a good hand with horses and will commit to helping you. It is also advisable to have help with the purchase. You can hire someone who trains or instructs. It is also a good idea to hire a vet to do a soundness and health check to make sure the horse is capable of doing the discipline you want to pursue.