When I visit riding stables for lessons, what should I ask the riding instructor or coach?
* How long have they owned and ridden horses?
* How long have they been teaching riding?
* What insurance do they carry?
* Have they competed in horse shows, horse trials, or competitive distance rides? (You could ask to see awards.)
* What is their specialty? If it’s dressage and you want to trail ride, it may not be a good match.
* Do they hold a current first-aid certificate?
* Do they hold any other credentials like BHS, AIRE or other accreditation?
* How many students do they currently have?
* How long have the lesson horses been owned? Beware if they brag of the great bargain they picked up at auction last weekend. And ask how old the horses are. Don't be alarmed if many are older horses, but do be suspicious if there are any horses under the age of four. Older horses are better for riding lessons, especially for beginners.
* Do they offer private lessons or will you be in a group? First-time riders should have private lessons until they are able to competently control the horse. Lessons of over six riders can be overcrowded making it difficult to maintain a safe distance between horses. Instructors will have a harder time giving students individual attention in larger groups.
* How long will the lessons be? You may have a choice of partial or full hours (or more). A partial hour may be better for younger children or those of us of a 'certain age'--at least until our flexibility and strength increase.