Riding & horsemanship lessons for beginners through intermediate levels with a focus on the balanced seat, versatility horse training and being an effective all around horseman within the sport horse riding disciplines (english).
Instruction is given in a positive but ‘matter-of-fact’ way so that students learn to become independent thinkers and problem solvers both in the riding arena and in the stable.
Due to the vast amount of information regarding riding and horse care, our lesson program is structured for attendance twice weekly (see more below) for instruction in riding (including riding theory), the handling of horse, and horse care.
What will you learn at Starting Point Stables?
We teach more than horseback riding. Starting Point Stable’s niche is the beginner to intermediate level student that REALLY wants to have a solid foundation with no holes in their basic equestrian education. We believe that everyone should become a well rounded horse-person and that is the basis of our equestrian educational program. After reading this information please visit the related links at the bottom of this page for more detailed reading on this subject and see our stable’s blog.
Horse Handling / Ground Work Students who become confident and skilled at handling a horse from the ground will be more confident in the saddle. Horse handling is more than leading a horse from point A to point B in order to ride. Ground work is THE foundation where all other horsemanship related learning builds from. The basic concepts of being able to give the horse clear directions, following a plan to get the horse to do a task and then evaluating the results are all started in ground work sessions.
Riding Education We focus on the dynamic, balanced seat – very useful for dressage, jumping, recreational or competitive trail riding and working western disciplines. We use concepts from classical cavalry horsemanship to modern theories on bio-mechanics and sports psychology.
All lessons given on our school horses are in a balanced seat ‘general purpose’ english saddle (we do not offer western tack or use flat close-contact type english saddles). Most people tend to find a balanced general-purpose english saddles quite secure once they are introduced to the proper sitting position. These saddles are the most productive for doing seating exercises in on the lunge line (western saddles are too restrictive for most seating exercise work) to develop a well rounded rider position and use of the aids. All flat work is basic dressage and riders are taught the classical aids. The school seat and variations of the classical forward seat are taught with an emphasis on correct classical equitation (position) for all seats.
We have a ‘students only’ area of our website dedicated to continued learning between lessons. We also frequently have spontaneous ‘video nights’ at the barn.
To get a feel for the flavor of horsemanship we practice here is a list of horsemen / instructors / coaches we *admire and utilize their educational materials, methods and techniques in both our riding and ground work lessons;
- Lynn Palm – Palm Partnershp
- Sally Swift – Centered Riding®
- Susan Harris & Peggy Brown Anatomy In Motion™
- Cherry Hill Cherry Hills Horsekeeping©
- As well as those who have their roots in the cavalry school from hunters and jumpers, eventing and dressage such as;
*(We do not claim to have any affiliation with these individuals, they are listed as an example of methods and theories we personally agree with.)
Our program never bullies or belittles a student through issues related to fear or lack of comprehension or skills. We build a student’s physical abilities and add to their knowledge level at their own pace, carefully pushing students outside of their comfort zone only when previous skills are achieved and the student seems eager to advance. We strive for mutually respectful horse-human relations regardless of the task at hand, and that starts with supportive but meaningful instruction.
Horse Care & Stable Management Somewhere between old wives tales and jumping on trend bandwagons is a thing called good sense. We try to keep up with evolving horse care industry standards passed down by research facilities, vet schools and trustworthy trade publications.
LESSON PROGRAM STRUCTURE
Everything we desire to teach can not be accomplished in a typical ‘one hour’ once weekly riding lesson so we have modified our lesson program to accomplish more, specifically for the student who wants more.
The structure of our lesson program has developed so students can come out twice weekly; once for their formal lesson (approximately 1hr 15 min) and once to spend time at the barn (‘barn time’) honing other skills including ground work practice, grooming, daily chores such as feeding and mucking stalls, and tack & equipment care. When students progress enough they also have the opportunity for exercising the other school horses through light riding or lunging.
The formal riding lesson is usually a private lesson, however small group riding lessons are scheduled with enough frequency so that social riding skills can also be developed.
Lesson Days & Hours
Riding Lessons, Mornings / Day Time: Monday – Fridays in the morning through 4:PM.
Riding Lessons, Evenings: Tuesday, Thursdays, Fridays 5:PM & 6:PM
Barn Time: Tuesday & Thursday and some Friday evenings and some Saturdays.
ACCEPTING STUDENTS & EXPECTATIONS
Starting Point Stables is a small facility with a limited number of lesson horses and hours in which to teach. We only take on a small number of students and are very interested in catering to students who want to learn all aspects of horsemanship, not just riding.
Currently we are accepting students from age 13 and older.
Students must be willing to be dedicated. Horseback riding is not a ‘quick return’ activity. It takes hours of dedicated and enthusiastic practice if you want to enjoy riding as a sport and progress. It also takes many more hours out of the saddle to become a knowledgeable horseman. At a minimum students should be willing to take one weekly lesson, as well as come out an additional day for ‘barn time’. Students who do not consistently commit to their weekly lesson will be dropped from the program.
Student Health, Fitness, Rider Size
Students must be willing to get to, or keep at, a satisfactory personal level of physical fitness for themselves and the horses they will be riding and caring for. This is a life style which involves constant activity! :) At this time we we only have small and medium sized horses in our lesson program and must restrict the size of our students to around 175 pounds for males and around 160 lbs for females (This weight discrepancy between male and female riders, and approximate weights is due to the size saddle, specifically the seat size, that will need to be used – our largest saddle to fit our current school horses is a 17.5″ seat. Students will need to fit their ‘behind’ and their thigh in this seat size to be comfortable.).
All students should have had a health screening from their doctor before starting horseback riding.
Regretfully we can not offer riding instruction to individuals with significant mental or physical impairments. We do not have the facility nor the training for equine related hippothearpy.
- Purchase an ASTM-SEI certified Equestrian Riding Helmet ($45.00 and up).
- Purchase / wear proper equestrian footwear (paddock boots/shoes, equestrian riding sneakers/all terrains, equestrian leather tall boots, NO RUBBER TALL BOOTS PLEASE, and we prefer students not to wear cowboy boots that are loose and offer no ankle support and will fall off the heels when the riders feet are out of the stirrups).
- Wear appropriate riding clothes (comfortable pants that do not restrict, pinch or rub, and a tidy shirt).
RATES / PAYMENTS
Payment for each formal lesson is due at the time of the lesson, payable in check (written out to Starting Point Stables) or in cash. No credit cards or electronic payments accepted. Currently lessons are $45.00 for your formal ‘riding lesson’ and an additional weekly ‘barn day’ (barn days not guaranteed due situations such as weather or scheduling conflicts).