1. Yes, it's a whole new look! Have questions or need help? Please post your question in the New Forum Questions thread Click the X to the right to dismiss this notice
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Seeing tons of unread posts after the upgrade? See this thread for help. Click the X to the right to dismiss this notice
    Dismiss Notice

Need Advice Horseback riding lessons

Discussion in 'General Chat Forum' started by kcchoi, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. kcchoi

    kcchoi New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    My (almost) six year old daughter is interested in taking horseback riding lessons. Can anyone recommend a local riding stable or share their experiences?

    Thanks in advance!

    Kelly
     
  2. msflynn

    msflynn New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2002
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hi Kelly my daughters have been riding for a few years at Misty Brae farm. We switched about 2 years ago and have been really happy with the instruction as it is all about the safety and the girls have learned so much about the horses and their care.

    Here is the link to their site http://www.mistybraefarm.com/

    Let me know if you have any questions

    Staci
     
  3. kcchoi

    kcchoi New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Staci! I will definitely check this out!
     
  4. 1grtchr

    1grtchr Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    6
    Resurrecting this thread. Anyone have experience with Twin Oaks Riding Academy or Gap Springs Farm? I'm trying to avoid Rt. 50 during the afternoons since my daughter would just be a beginning rider. PM me if you'd like!
     
  5. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,336
    Likes Received:
    126
    Are you looking for lessons for adults or children?
     
  6. 1grtchr

    1grtchr Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    6
    Child
     
  7. KellyNIke

    KellyNIke New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can't say enough good things about Gap Spring Farms. My daughter is an extremely shy 7 yr old and Debbie has been great with her. Nice place, small farm and Debbie has a great rapport with the children. The horses my daughter has been riding (as a beginner).....incredibly nice horses (all the horses are great). Debbie doesn't only teach riding but about the horses, grooming, and equipment. I am sending my daughter to camp this summer as well...been very happy. Now I am worried about that she will want a horse for Christmas!
     
  8. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,358
    Likes Received:
    249
    We ride at Misty Brae Farm which is at Rt15/R50. Traffic isn't an issue getting there except for a 5:30 lesson (for which there is a slightly diff commuting route to minimize the wait). Normally it's 20-25mins from Broadlands to Aldie. Which isn't much different from when we rode in Beacon Hill which is just on the otherside of leesburg. It takes 10-15mins to get to Rt28.. so that time seems to be about the minimium to get anywhere outside of of triangle of Ashburn.

    We go Belmont, Evergreen, GumSpring, Rt50, to Lenah Rd and the only traffic is really at the light at evergreen and rt50... no traffic on rt50 on that stretch. The 'other' way if you hit that light right at 5 is to go evergreen out to watson to rt 50.

    In short.. I wouldn't let Rt50 be a deterrant :) There are a lot of good riding centers in the area and once they get hooked... commuting seems to be the least problem for a rider's parents :D :D

    I also see lots on Rt15 which I don't have experience with.. but for them you could go Syclin to Rt15.

    We have both our riders at Misty Brae. The oldest has been riding for almost 5 years now.. the youngest just started last year when she was 7, and she started at Misty Brae. They have even younger ones down there in other classes too.

    In retrospect what I like is the owner really cares about the girls, and really knows how to interpret the rider's true abilities at the time and knows where to push or restrain them. Her riders are always safe and in control. All too often we goto shows and you watch these kids going around and you just say to yourself 'OMG, that kid is out of control and just along for the ride...'. That is dangerous and we see plenty of kids on the ground or nearly.. because they were somewhere they probably shouldn't have been yet.

    The Pony Club aspect is another cool angle riders can grow into. Think 4-H, girl scouts, etc but for horseback riding. It's a neat program for learning and competing where the drive is teaching and raising good strong horse people.
     
  9. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,336
    Likes Received:
    126
    I agree with Misty Brae for children. Twin Oaks may be convenient but I've not heard many good things about them.
     
  10. 1grtchr

    1grtchr Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    6
    Thanks for the feedback everyone! Great info to have!
     
  11. tracie

    tracie New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
    97
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi

    Just incase you need further opinions about Misty Brae, our daughter who is nearly 4 goes there aswell. I wanted somewhere that would not just put our daughter in the saddle, but also help her learn how to take care of horses etc and thats exactly what they do at Misty Brae. Our instructor is Carol and she is amazing. Whenever you go, you see kids there just coming to help out with the horses in their own time....a sign of a good stables. Couldnt recommend the farm enough really, and seems like others have the same views.
     
  12. KellyNIke

    KellyNIke New Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    0
    A colleague of my husband rides at Twin Oaks and loves it. It seems like there are definitely some choices of riding stables around this area.
     
  13. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Messages:
    5,358
    Likes Received:
    249
    We are blessed in being on the edge of horse country for those that are interested in the topic.

    Something to consider when 'shopping' that you should ask yourself as barns will differ in their settings, their vision, offerings, etc. You shouldn't be scared of having to find 'the perfect one' up front. You should be able to experiment and find an environment that works for you.

    Some things to consider when 'shopping'

    - Is your child interested in horses, riding, or both? What's the difference? Highly abbreviated.. is the child interested in caring for and loving the animal, or just using it? It seems like a stupid question in a sense, but there is more too it. Are you looking for 'turn-key' riding or is your child interested in the horse when they aren't riding? Some places do offer 'turn-key' solutions where you show up, horse is ready, and you just ride. You focus on the riding and get none of the 'dirty work'. Almost like valet parking :) You get riding with none of the 'barn' stuff.

    The other end is where the rider is responsible for prepping the horse and equipment. This is more work, but it is also where the students learn the 'why' and 'what' that they depend upon when they ride.. in both the sense of the equipment and the horses themselves. It's where the students learn the 'dos and don't' that impact the horse's health and it's attitude with you as a rider. It's the start of learning about 'horse care' or more technically 'horse management'. Not that you need to be studying to own horses yourself, but the education actually helps the rider understand the horse's needs and behaviors and how it impacts their interaction as they ride. This also gives the riders a lot more personal time with the horses. For the young ones.. its also a learning experience about work and reward.

    - Ask questions about how the horses are prep'd for lessons. Who is responsible? Who checks the riders for safety? Will you be getting the horses from the fields or from the stalls? Does each mount have their own tack or do they share?

    - Ask questions about what the riders do outside of the formal lessons themselves. Are there riding opportunities away from the barn, such as schooling at another site, events, etc.

    - Are there opportunities for other types of schooling - such as dressage vs show jumping vs cross country. Some barns specialize in certain disciplines, some do a little of everything... a way to find out more is ask what shows they've been too recently or planning on going to.. and asking other parents what classes their kids enter at the shows. This is an area that will be heavily influenced by the owner/operator.

    - Do they let their riders compete at shows with the barn's mounts and equipment? How often do they show? What areas do they typically travel to? What are their costs for showing? coaching fees, transport, horse fees, etc.

    - Try to gauge how much importance they put on showing. Showing is great fun for the kids, but can be quite an expensive add-on to normal lessons. You want to find out if your expectations are similar with theirs. You don't want to be an a situation where EVERYONE is showing every other weekend and you aren't, as your child may feel left out. Or you want to show more often then they can help with, etc.

    - Try to feel out where the trust factor is. Do they train the riders to be trusted with the horses or are the rider's contained with instruction/oversight 100% of the time. That is a way you can gauge just how much they teach the riders about horse management vs simply 'letting them rent a ride'. Observing the 'regulars' will give you insight into just how far they advance their people to be self-sufficient or not.

    - Ask questions about how many horses they have, as well as horses that would be suitable for your rider. (youth, beginner, adult, etc). Ask how they assign horses to riders.. do you ride the same mount all the time? etc. This is not to say a barn with only a few ponies is bad, but the ability to experience different mounts is important for a rider to grow, plus it gives you some insight into how flexible they can be with schedules. Most barns shouldn't have any problem with having a handful of mounts that would be suitable for your child at the various stages. Of course, some people grow into buying their own mount.. and that becomes moot :)

    - Find out what type of facilities they have for different seasons. Do they have an indoor ring or just outdoor rings? Do they have lighting outside, etc? Again these are things that can impact scheduling and how often you can ride.

    - Find out if you can do a trial. You should be able to start off with a few lessons to see if you like the facility, people, and instructors. You should be able to try a place out without pressure of being 'stuck' somewhere.

    Good luck and hope you find something you like
     
  14. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,336
    Likes Received:
    126
    One last thing to add to Flynn's thorough summary...some places do not allow absences and never have weather days while others will allow a maximum of two missed classes with make-up credit. And paying well in advance usually gets you a little discount.
     

Share This Page