Many equestrian centers, more or less serious or professional, are established in USA. It is therefore essential not to make a mistake if you want to have a quality education to progress well on horseback. Moreover, the price of a riding lesson is not negligible in the daily life of a rider.
How to choose a horse riding school ?
First of all, a serious and professional structure must be approved by the USEF (US Equestrian Federation). You can obtain the list from this organization. The ideal would be to have a riding center near you that has the equestrian label, knowing that it is obliged to respect specific standards. In order not to make a mistake, you should not forget to check 7 important points
- the infrastructures
- the teaching, the schedules and the level of the courses
- the horses
- the disciplines taught
- the services, the welcome offered by the club as well as the atmosphere that emerges from it
- the place of establishment (location)
- the price
Criteria for selecting a center
The infrastructure must be :
- impeccable, because it is a guarantee of quality and cleanliness.
- well lit and secure, as it is important for the comfort of the riders and the horses.
The facilities are essentially composed of :
- Work areas which, if spacious, allow for pleasant group work. The floor of the arena and the careers also has its importance; the horse should not sink into the ground during the work sessions. These spaces correspond to :
- a covered arena (preferable in rainy weather)
- one or two arenas, the latter being more suitable for jumping, for example
- a round pen, even if it is not essential.
- Stables and more particularly boxes and stalls must be irreproachable or they may carry diseases. Do not hesitate to take a look at the stalls to see if they are regularly cleaned. No droppings in the aisles, the water trough and feeders are very clean, that's a good sign !
- Other facilities such as the office, the club house, the tack room where the horses' equipment is stored and the pharmacy area. These areas must be nice. The tack room is well maintained and so is the horse equipment such as the harness.
Find out about the teaching, the schedule and the levels of the riding lessons at the center. First of all, it is fundamental to have one or more competent and up to date instructors who must all be state certified. To get an idea :
- Attend one or more classes to appreciate or not the instructor's teaching style :
- Are the exercises well explained ?
- Is advice given to each rider during the session ?
- Is the level of the riders homogeneous ?
- Do not hesitate to ask questions about :
- the time of the lessons (during the day, in the evening, on weekends)
- the number of riders during the lesson : a work session is interesting and profitable when there are not too many riders, because the instructor has time to take care of all the riders.
Please note : the instructor must be able to meet your expectations and accompany you in your different choices with a smile.
The proposed disciplines
Everyone has his or her favorite discipline. Some prefer dressage, others jumping, while other riders choose outdoor riding (endurance or trekking). Choose an equestrian center that offers the discipline you like. Otherwise, you may get bored quickly.
It is essential that the club takes care of its horses :
- The horses must be healthy and well maintained. Just because a horse is a club horse doesn't mean it doesn't look good.
- It is also preferable that they have a good character.
A horse with a good head will ensure that you learn well and progress better. So, observe them, approach them, you will understand much better their behavior and their reaction.
Service and reception
In an equestrian center, you are a rider, but also a customer. You must therefore be well received. To do so :
- The manager and the instructors must be available to meet your expectations.
- It is also preferable to feel good within a group. A club house is available for riders to discuss and exchange ideas after the lessons. If you don't fit in with the group, get out ! Other clubs will welcome you.
Some prefer a competition atmosphere, others prefer a more family atmosphere. So know where you stand to live your passion and riding to the fullest.
It is wiser to choose an equestrian center near your home. This avoids the length of the journeys where you waste a lot of time, especially after a week or a particularly stressful day. However, if your heart is set on a club a little further away because of the quality of its teaching or its atmosphere, don't hesitate. You will enjoy interesting lessons and a good atmosphere with other riders. You come just to chill out and have a great time !
What is the price of horseback riding lessons ?
The price of riding lessons depends on :
- the equestrian centers : location, structure, riding and teaching offered
- the discipline practiced.
As a general rule, it is also important to remember that :
- The clubs in Miami, in Florida and on the outskirts of large cities are much more costly than those located near small, more rural towns. In addition, the atmosphere is rarely the same.
- A member has the right to preferential rates unlike a guest rider.
- Private lessons are much more expensive than group lessons.