outdoor_ring_and_rider-300x225My child loves horses! How can I get her involved?

Bookmark Farms has a variety of options for parents whose children express an interest in horses! Weekly riding lessons are for those kids ready to commit to learning to ride. Riding lessons are great for kids who like coming to the barn year round and it is the best way to truly progress and build riding skills. For small children we offer “mini” riding lessons (15 minutes in length). These lessons are good “orientation lessons” and are usually scheduled during the day while older kids are at school. Our summer day camps are packed with information about safety, caring for horses, daily riding, and of course, fun at the stable with other kids. In the Fall, our Sunday Pony Rides program is great for families to drop in and let their child get in the saddle for a lead-around ride.

I’m an adult and used to ride… or, I’m an adult and have never ridden before… or, I am an adult and am a skilled rider. Would Bookmark Farms take me as a student?

Bookmark Farms has a variety of lesson horses suited to the beginning adult or the experienced equestrian. Likewise, our instructors, being experienced teachers and skilled equestrians themselves, are qualified to teach all levels of adult riders. No matter what the age, we have started or continued adult riders in pursuing their equestrian goals. Whether you are interested in showing and jumping, looking for a new fitness challenge, overcoming fears, or wanting to partner and bond with a friendly lesson horse at Bookmark Farms, we welcome the adult rider.

May I start riding lessons with a group or in semi-private lessons?

Bookmark Farms requires most new students, regardless of age or skill level, to begin lessons in one-on-one, private instruction. For safety reasons, our instructors believe it is of the utmost importance give new students their undivided attention. Instructors may decide a student is ready to ride with others when the rider is physically ready and able to keep full control of their horse under a variety of situations.

How long does it take to learn to jump?

There are many factors that go into the progress of a student’s riding ability. The short answer is that Bookmark Farms requires students to be able to canter and execute transitions and turns with their feet out of the irons (the stirrups) before beginning their jumping training. When a student acquires these abilities, the instructors will allow them to begin jumping low cross rails. Important to note: New riding students will work on jumping position and body readiness (balance and strength) during their very first lesson!

My child has been riding for six months. Why isn’t she progressing more quickly?

Children progress at different paces and there are a variety of reasons for this. More importantly, parents should take into account the actual time in the saddle that a child receives when riding once a week. If a child takes half-hour lessons, she is riding two hours per month. At most, a child taking weekly hour-long lessons may be in the saddle for five hours in one month. We understand the cost of riding lessons may be prohibitive to riding more than once per week. Have patience with your young rider. As with any new skill, progress tends to come in spurts. Also, consider enrolling your child in a week of riding camp. The repetition of riding every day (even if only for a week) gives campers a great advantage in making good progress.

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