Are Horseback Riding Lessons Expensive

Elaine Sutton
• Saturday, 02 January, 2021
• 10 min read

When I began to ask myself about the cost of riding for a beginner or even someone that is coming back to the sport after several years off, I wanted to dig into riding lessons and if they were out of line with the cost of lessons in other sports such as swimming, tennis, golf or skating. When I first started riding at 35, I went to the closest local barn and asked if they gave lessons.

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The answer was yes, and the cost for an assistant trainer to get me started in a group lesson was $15 for a half an hour. These costs vary with geography, you will pay more in areas where there aren’t a lot of options and the trainers can set their own price.

If the cost of living is expensive, say New York City or London (yes there are barns there! In my experience, group lessons worked fine when I was learning the basics.

I never felt that the instructor wasn’t watching me closely and giving me timely pointers. A good trainer has a well-trained eye that picks up the slightest deviations in leg and hand position and can spot a rider posting on the wrong diagonal a mile away.

This is a good time to choose to move to a different group that is more closely matched to the rider’s level or to private lessons. Group lessons are the least expensive way to get into the sport without making a significant investment to see if riding is something you want to pursue seriously.

I wouldn’t invest in private lessons unless I were very committed to the sport and improving my riding as a long-term hobby. If socialization and just being around horses is your primary goal, then group lessons can serve you well for many, many years.

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I know riders that only take lessons and don’t have the desire to ever go beyond becoming proficient at the walk, trot and canter. The least expensive option for taking lessons is through a park district or organization such as 4H, boys and girls clubs.

For most adults without access to an organization’s program, the only choice is to find a barn on your own. You also want to see the barn and check out its cleanliness, the helpfulness of the staff and if the horses look happy, with good weight and are well taken care of.

I have always trusted my own instincts in this regard and if it feels wrong or something seems sketchy, move on. If the trainer isn’t there, a boarder or one of the staff will help you get in touch with someone that can explain their lesson program to you.

This will greatly increase your monthly cost as now you are not only paying for lessons, but upkeep of a horse as well. The owners and trainers supplement their board income with fees earned at horse shows.

Make sure your instructor has completed a certification program with one of the US or International governing bodies. This will make sure that they have the requisite skills, safety training and riding education to give you the best instruction for your lesson dollars.

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As I mentioned earlier, I selected the closest barn when I first started to take lessons. I left that barn after six weeks (my gut feel said it was not the right place for me after 3 lessons) and I found another one that I stayed at for more than 10 years.

If you grow to love riding, you will be spending a lot of time in the barn whether you own a horse or not. Now that you know all that goes into selecting a place to take riding lessons, you can see the many ways that you can save on lessons or spend more to pursue a greater commitment to the sport.

It also does not include things like hats, boots and other gear you made need to pay for in order to ride safely. Group lessons are amongst the cheapest way to enjoy horseback riding, and are often a good idea for a beginner.

If you’re just starting riding, you don’t need more advanced coaching and attention from a teacher, so doing in a group of equally experienced riders is a good bet. However, it is responsible for a completely new rider to do a few private lessons if they have never ridden a horse before.

This is to ensure safety and to get them to learn positive habits on the horse. Private lessons are perfect for those with absolutely no experience, but also for those who are training for competitions.

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Instead, there are many answers depending on where you live and what type of horseback riding you require. Ben Stern wrote this article on behalf of Free Up.

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If you’re thinking about getting into horseback riding, you’ve probably heard that it requires a big financial commitment. My short answer is yes; from paying for riding lessons and competition fees to spitting out money for the upkeep of a horse, the average amount people spend on horseback riding is $4,000/yr.

I’ve made a list of some common expenses a horseback rider will have to pay throughout the year: Believe it or not, but your initial investment to buy your horse probably won’t be your biggest expense.

If you plan on competing regularly, competition fees can easily become your biggest expense. Travel fees: Many times, you’ll have to pay to trailer your horse to competitions.

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Accommodations for you and your horse: many times, you’ll have to pay a stall fee to keep your horse on the showgrounds and find yourself a hotel room to stay the night in. These fees can vary greatly in price depending on the competition.

Luckily, it’s usually easy to figure your horse show budget. If you don’t plan on attending equestrian events that much, then this isn’t an expense to worry about too much.

This is a monthly expense that can range in pricing depending on the type of boarding you choose. The stable staff will take care of the daily needs of your horse, like feeding, mucking the stall, blanketing, and turning-out.

You’re basically just paying the landowner to keep the horse on their land, but that’s it. Check out our article Choosing a Boarding Stable Your Horse Will Love.

The annual amount you spend on vet bills can vary greatly, depending on how healthy your horse is throughout the year. Sometimes horses will randomly get injured or sick, which can definitely increase your annual vet bill expense.

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To save on money, find a vet that’s located close to your stable. These tests are taken annually to make sure that your horse doesn’t have the contagious Equine Infectious Anemia.

To avoid this, your horse will need their teeth floated, or filed down, at least once a year. There are other medical expenses to be aware of for your horse that may not require the vet.

You should also keep different ointments, wraps, and remedies on hand in case your horse has a minor injury you can treat. A farrier is a skilled tradesman who works on your horse’s hooves.

The price of your farrier expense will determine the type of attention your horse’s hooves need: These horses can go barefoot, without shoes, due to the conformation and strength of their feet.

A standard trimming fee is usually cheaper than your horse being shod. A corrective shoeing rate can be more expensive as it is a more specialized service.

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Many horses can keep a healthy weight simply by staying out on a pasture that has adequate forage while others need the concentrated nutrients grain offers to help them stay a healthy weight. These powders can be very expensive as they are used to targeting specific things about your horse’s health.

If you’re on a budget, research natural supplements like apple cider vinegar, flaxseed, and essential oils which you can buy much cheaper. (I only buy used tack ) Just make sure you have your horse’s measurements before you decide on purchasing an item.

Both ends of the annual financial commitment spectrum can fluctuate depending on certain variables. I was able to spend much less because my horse didn’t have any serious health issues and I kept extracurricular activities to a minimum.

My horse is an easy keeper and doesn’t need grain to keep his weight. You can be a beginner who is slightly terrified of horses or a competition-level professional looking to fine-tune your skills or improve your general horsemanship.

Your lessons may be inside a barn, out in a fenced pasture, on a trail, or on an area that's set up as a racecourse or obstacle course. The type of location will depend on your skill level and your horseback riding goals.

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Instructors offer lessons in Western or English riding, or you can focus on a specialty such as jumping or racing. You may take horsebackridinglessons for fun and relaxation, for dressage, to improve your competition skills, for trail riding, or for show jumping.

Barns and stables that provide lessons professionally are well-equipped with saddles, blankets, helmets, reins and all the other accouterments of horseback riding. Lesson costs typically include the use of a horse owned by the instructor or stable.

Debut Arabians only offers private instruction, in keeping with their training beliefs. If you would like private attention to hone a particular skill, but also want to careful with your budget, consider attending semi-private or small group lessons regularly, with a private lesson every two weeks or once a month to address specific needs.

Most experts recommend taking an intro lesson with an instructor before purchasing a package, so you can learn whether you like the instructor's teaching style and the setup of the stables before making a major financial commitment. At Summer Wind Stables in Chester land, Ohio, the owners provide financial incentives to students who pre-purchase lesson bundles.

If a student pays upfront for the quarterly small group package, they receive 13 lessons over 3 months for $599. This represents a $116 savings over paying for each class individually, or the equivalent of two free lessons.

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Most stables will have a welcome email or packet that outlines everything you should do to be fully prepared and comfortable for your first day of horseback riding, including what clothes and shoes to wear. Wear long pants, as your legs will be in contact with the horse and saddle while you're mounted.

Graham says you'll want to see what their setup is like and how they operate their stables before committing to working with an instructor. Obvious red flags are poorly maintained facilities or animals that do not seem well cared for.

Meet the instructor you will be working with before committing to ongoing lessons or buying a package. If you want to eventually compete in barrel racing or show in dressage, do your research and find an instructor who excels at teaching in your area of interest.

Western saddles are larger with more components, including a horn, which is directly related to cattle roping often associated with Western-style riding. In fact, some pros, such as Staci Graham of Horizon Arabians, recommend that undecided students find a stable that can teach you about both English and Western riding.

According to Graham, some students may take up to a year to make a choice while they master the basics of riding. Graham explains that it's often easier for kids to get the hang of horseback riding and let go of fears, whereas many adults take a few more lessons to settle into and trust the experience of riding on such a large animal.

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There are many physical and emotional benefits of spending time with horses, but it can be an expensive hobby. If you decide that you want to move beyond taking lessons to owning a horse, you can start out part-time and ease into ownership.

For example, Debut Arabians has a program that allows riders to lease a stable horse for either $250 (part-time) or $500 (full access) per month; the stable boards and cares for the horse, but the riders can ride whenever they like. Working with horses is not only fun physical fitness, it also has proven therapeutic results.

If you are seeking horseback riding for therapeutic reasons, it is imperative that you work with your health care providers as you plan where, how and how often to ride. The therapeutic value of horseback riding has led to the creation of programs to treat PTSD in veterans.

Read client reviews and follow up with references to make sure you're choosing the right instructor for you or your child.

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