Before you begin, decide what type of riding interests you.

The principle types of horseback riding are English and Western, but within those are specific disciplines. For example, English includes Jumper, Hunter, Eventing, Dressage and Saddle Seat. Western offers Gymkhana, Pleasure, Reining and more. It may take a year of basic seat instruction before you decide if you want to pursue more specific training toward a specialized discipline within the sport. Regardless of what type of rider you aspire to be, there are certain criteria that should be met. 

After you decide what type of riding you want to pursue, do a little investigative work - don't just call a riding facility - visit it! 

A riding facility can be broken up into two types: A riding school and a private facility. A riding school there usually consists of groups of children who ride together in lessons taught by an instructor or coach. A private facility is usually owned and operated as a business that offers private lessons. It is important that you sit in and watch a lesson so that you can make an informed choice.  It is important to choose a coach who you feel is competent, qualified and confident in teaching yourself or your children. Take your time and evaluate several facilities and instructors before reaching a final decision. 


Riding Facility Checklist

  1. Does the facility employ certified personnel?

  2. Does the facility offer the Equestrian Canada Learn to Ride Program?

  3. What levels of riders are taught?

  4. What type of facility is this? Western, Hunter/Jumper/Dressage?

  5. What is the ratio of students to coach?

  6. Is the "in barn" portion of the lesson included in the lesson or is there assistance for students getting their horses ready to ride?

  7. How much do lessons cost and what is the cancellation policy?

  8. What type of horses and how many of them are used for lessons?

  9. How long has the facility been operating and does it have a good reputation?

  10. What type of facility is this? Western, Hunter/Jumper/Dressage?

  11. How many instructors are there and do the students have the same instructor most of the time?

  12. Are you able to observe a lesson and speak to some of the students?

  13. What is the safety record?

  14. Are helmets a requirement?

  15. What are the apparel requirements?

  16. Does the instructor/facility give private lessons?

  17. Does the facility provide liability insurance coverage?