Riding Lessons

IMPORTANT! Visitors by appointment only.

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White Oak Stables has lessons for people of all ages, riding levels and abilities on our friendly horses and ponies. No two horses are the same just like no two people are the same. We believe that learning about horses should be safe, educational and fun. Our lessons are tailored to each rider’s individual needs and we try hard to match each rider with the most appropriate horse for their skill level. In addition to regular riding lessons we specialize in shy/fearful/anxious riders, adult beginners and plus sized riders. Instruction is provided in the barn, clubhouse or in our arena. Children must be 7 or older to join the lesson program. Children under 13 must be supervised by a parent or guardian at all times and minors who are not participating in lessons may not be left unattended. Please review our price list for more information.

Watch and Learn – free for prospective students and visitors, by appointment only. You can see the stable, meet the horses and if we have one available you can watch a lesson.

Lesson Program

Pay As You Go – come out and ride without the commitment of paying for a lot of lessons up front.

Packages – buy lessons in bulk for a discount, they don’t expire so you can use them whenever you want.

Specialized Lesson Groups

We take pride in creating a personalized lesson program for these special groups or riders. There’s no reason to feel out of place, afraid, or embarrassed about your riding skill level or the personal challenges you’re trying to overcome and goals you’d like to reach.

Adult Beginner Riders

No matter how old you are you’re never too old to learn how to ride but it can be difficult to find riding facilities that meet your needs and a lot of adults don’t feel comfortable riding with children. Our adult lessons try to match riders of similar skill levels and age ranges so that you can feel comfortable knowing that you’re learning with someone else who’s in the same boat you are. Whether your ultimate goal is to go to a show, have a trail ride, get some exercises, or just to have fun with a group of other adult riders this lesson program is perfect for you. Lessons are tailored to your needs, goals and physical abilities and/or limitations. Do as much or as little as you’re comfortable with in a safe, nurturing and social environment where there are no judgments or pressures to compete unless you want to.

Shy, Anxious or Fearful Riders

Are you shy, anxious or fearful? Our lessons are perfect for anyone who feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders or seem to struggle with some of the basic challenges of stress in everyday life. Horses are a wonderful therapeutic outlet to help people of all ages find their way, become more assertive, and break out of their shell. Our lessons focus on horsemanship, horse care and group activities in order to teach responsibility, enhance communication skills and encourage riders to face and overcome their fears and become more confident in themselves and their abilities. Studies have shown horses reduce stress and are a positive influence on people’s lives. Whether you’re shy, anxious or fearful we’ll help you learn to face and conquer your fears, maintain your calm and relax in our educational, family-friendly environment.

Plus Sized Riders

If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. You are NEVER to heavy to take lessons. While our horses do have a weight limitation of 260lbs that doesn’t mean you can’t come out and take lessons in ground work, lunging, horsemanship or stable management. We will never turn down someone because of their weight even if it means you’re not ready to be in the saddle yet. Horses are a great form of exercise and when coupled with a healthy lifestyle they’ll improve the quality of your life and health tremendously. We’ll start off slow and increase the physical difficulty of your lessons as you get back into shape.

How Much Riding Time Do I Get?

We aim to give students 15 minutes to prepare their horse and around 45 minutes on the horse. However, learning to groom and tack and care for the horse is also important, and how long it takes riders to get their horse ready varies. New riders typically spend more time getting the horse ready and less time riding. Most riders can get their horse ready faster within just a few lessons. It is not unusual for a rider to ride 20 minutes or less on their first lesson.

What to Expect

Students arrive on time at the barn and find out their horse assignments and groom and tack up. When the horse is ready, they take it out to the arena. Beginner lessons wait for the instructor to arrive before mounting, intermediate lessons mount and walk their horses to warm up while advanced lessons mount and walk and trot their horses to warm up. The lesson begins when the instructor arrives. Lessons start with a horse or rider exercise, followed by the fundamental lesson, and finish with a cool-down period. The instructor encourages students to reflect critically and adjusts the lesson to suit the needs of each individual. When the lesson is over, students return to the barn to untack and give them a bath if needed. Students clean up after their horse, put their tack away, give the horse a treat, then grab a drink on the way out if they’re thirsty.

Horse Shows

Our lessons do not emphasize showing. We attend a few local shows a year. All shows are optional. If you want to come out and ride for fun, that’s just fine. No one should feel pressured to compete if you don’t want to. If you’re the person who’s looking to chase the ribbons and take on the local horse show scene, we’re more than happy to help you get serious about your riding goals and a career in the business. Coaching and trailering to horse shows are available for an additional fee. Show classes entered will depend on the rider’s skill level and horse availability. If you are interested in showing, please check our show schedule and talk to your instructor to reserve a spot.

What Do You Teach In Lessons?

Safety – keep yourself and your horse out of harm.

    • How horses see and their blind spots
    • Where to stand so you’re not stepped on
    • Kicking/biting precautions
    • Safe distances between horses when riding
    • Safety on the horse
    • Horse behavior
    • Helmets
    • Checking tack for wear/tear

Horsemanship – how to care for and safely own a horse.

    • Teamwork
    • Grooming
      • Different brushes
      • Coat health
      • Cleaning hooves
    • Parts of the horse
    • Behavior around horses
    • Horse body language
    • Tacking
      • Halter
      • Crossties
      • Bridle
      • Bit
      • Saddle
      • Girth
      • Saddle pad
      • Saddle position
      • Saddle fit
      • Saddle size to rider size
      • Types of saddles
    • Leading
      • In/out of a stall
      • In/out of cross ties
      • Safely holding a horse
    • Horse care
      • Grain
      • Hay
      • Pasture rotation
      • Cleaning water buckets
      • Wound care
      • Bathing
      • Checking for swelling/scratches/issues
      • Worms/ticks/fly management
      • Cleaning stalls

Under Saddle – how to ride a horse.

    • Mounting/dismounting
    • Emergency dismount
    • Starting and stopping
    • Steering reins
      • Opening
      • Direct
      • Indirect
      • Planted
      • Pulley
    • Equitation
      • Position exercises
      • Jumping position
      • Straight line
      • Centered riding
      • Independent hands and seat
      • Trust building exercises
      • Stretching exercises
    • Posting and diagonals
    • Rider awareness
      • balance
      • rhythm
      • timing
      • feel
      • anticipation
    • Horse Training Scale
      •  Rhythm
      • Suppleness
      • Contact
      • Impulse
      • Straightness
      • Connection/collection
    • Jumping over fences
    • Inside versus outside
    • Tracking right/left
    • Changing and counting strides
    • Responsiveness
    • Recycling energy
    • Horse and rider body mechanics
    • Horse show etiquette
    • Levels of understanding
      • Start out simple then gradually building onto knowledge and understanding

Riding Attire

ASTM/SEI helmets are required when mounted, if you don’t have one we can provide one for you. Bike helmets or other sports helmets are not permitted as they don’t offer adequate protection in case of a fall. Mid to long-sleeved shirts or polo shirts that are somewhat form-fitting work best and we discourage spaghetti straps. Shoes may not be open-toed, should have a narrow toe and a heel of no more than 1 inch. Riding pants, tights that cover your leg completely and jeans are acceptable. Half chaps or full chaps and tall boots are also acceptable but not required. Please remove all jewelry and choose clothing that is non-movement restricting and that you don’t mind if it gets dirty. Gloves and a sweater, vest, or jacket with a hood are best in cold weather.

Cancellations

Lessons are canceled if the weather conditions make it impossible to get to the barn or if it’s colder than 40 degrees or hotter than 90 degrees outside. If the arena or round pen footing isn’t safe to ride in students will have alternative learning and educational activities in the barn or loft clubhouse. Please give as much notice as possible if you can’t make it to your lesson so we can schedule someone else to take your spot. Typically we will call and/or email you at least an hour prior to your lesson if they are canceled.