So my encouragement worked and you’re ready to take the first step to start your horsemanship journey. Hopefully, you have found a few facilities in your area that you are interested in. Places that have a good reputation, or places friends or family have recommended to you. Now that you know which places you want to consider getting started. I want to help you take the plunge!
Send The Email
First, if the farm has a website you can start with an email. Here is an example email that you could send to inquire about riding:
To: Ellison Hartley Horsemanship
Subject: Adult Riding Lessons
Good morning. I came across your website and would like to get more information on what you have for adult riders. I have never taken formal riding lessons, but have always loved horses. Do you teach adult beginners? If so, are the lessons private or group? What is the cost, and what forms of payment do you accept? Do you offer any other opportunities for adult riders besides lessons? What starter gear would I need? I would love to hear more about what you have to offer and perhaps come meet you in person for an introductory lesson. This is something I have always wanted to do and hope to find a facility that is the right fit for me. Thanks and look forward to hearing from you!
Make The Call
You might prefer to call instead of email. Make sure you have these questions handy to ask. Jot down the answers too!
- Do you teach adult beginners?
- Are the lessons private or group lessons?
- What is the cost?
- What forms of payment do you accept
- Do you offer any other opportunities for adult horse lovers besides riding lessons?
- What starter gear would I need?
If you like what you hear, then move on to the next question.
- How do I go about scheduling a time to meet you for an introductory lesson?
If you are not sure about what you are hearing, or just didn’t get a good vibe, feel free to just say thank you and continue your calls.
Some states, like here in Maryland, have listings of farms you can use to help you find a place. Also in MD, we have certified horse discovery centers. These are farms that specialize in introducing new riders to horses. The certification ensures they provide a safe, knowledgable and welcoming experience.
What NOT to Do
Don’t just drive into a farm and expect that someone will be able to stop and talk to you. Lesson barns can be very busy with back to back lessons. This doesn’t leave much free time for instructors to stop what they are doing and talk.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to see a place or meet someone in person. You should just call and schedule a date and time. This way you know you aren’t interrupting and the owner or trainer will have plenty of time for your questions.
Riding Instructors Are Busy
If you call a place multiple times and don’t get a return call or email back within a reasonable amount of time, scratch that place off the list. They already aren’t starting off on the right foot with you and that is not a good sign. You are looking for a farm that is laid back and welcoming, but also businesslike. A good lesson barn treats their clients with respect and returns phone calls and emails.
Keep in mind that a lot of farms the instructor is also the person in charge of coordinating new clients. They may not be able to answer the phone or may only check their email once a day. That being said, in my opinion, they should get back to you within 48 hours. I try my hardest to get back to people within 24 hours. I do have help with the administrative part of things now which makes that possible. A lot of instructors aren’t so lucky.
Communicate with all the facilities you are interested in, then decide which one you want to schedule an introductory lesson with. Once you get it set up if it turns out that it is a perfect fit for you, great! If you aren’t sure though, there is nothing wrong with trying more than one place before you commit to signing up for lessons.
I know you are anxious to start your horsemanship journey, but our goal is for you to take the time and steps to find the right place on the first try. It is worth taking the time and doing your research.