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What to expect for a student who has never saddled or ridden a horse

First time students learn to properly groom their horse and saddle it under the
supervision of the instructor. They are taught about the different behaviors that horses
can and will exhibit and what reactions should and should not be made. Students are
encouraged to wean themselves off of the trainer and are rewarded for grooming their
horses and getting ready by themselves by having more time in the saddle. After initial
grooming practices and saddling has been done, riders are then introduced to riding in
the round pen until control and confidence are established. After this is mastered, they
are moved into the larger arena for more challenging exercises.

We believe above all....safety comes first! Every student is recommended to wear an
ASTM-SEI certified helmet, long pants and proper heeled boots.  Horse Creek Stables
lesson program is designed for individuals of all ages, wanting to learn and further
develop their horsemanship skills in
an environment that is safe, comfortable and
supportive. While you can ride daily or once a month, the majority of students attend a
private or group lesson at least once a week. The lessons develop at a pace tailored for
the rider(s) and teach a broad range of equitation skills from the basics, to beginning
techniques of western horsemanship, trail, barrel racing, or pleasure. Students ride a
wide assortment of horses of different breeds, so they become familiar with  and
understand the differences each new mount presents. Included with the horsemanship
skills acquired, students are encouraged to learn how to bathe and clip horses, clean
and care for tack, and for more advanced students longe horses. We do offer trail
lessons and gaming lessons to break the routine of regular lessons.

Schooling horse shows at the barn are planned 3x a year. These shows are always an
exciting event: all classes are judged, and ribbons are earned for 1st-6th place. The
experience and enjoyment of competing in a real horse show helps students set goals as
they discover their level of skill. Horse Creek Stables recognizes that all riders will
develop at their own pace, so any student who feels they are being either held back or
pushed too quickly should talk to their instructor or Ms. Cindy about making a change. It
is very important to us that each student receive the quality of instruction they require
and deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What type of clothing and shoes should I wear to riding lessons?
A. Suitable attire includes long pants or jeans, a shirt that tucks in and hardsoled shoes
with a low heel. Absolutely no tennis shoes, sandals, flip flops or clogs! Most hard soled
shoes with a flat sole work fine for riding; they don't have to be boots. Oxfords and penny
loafers are examples of shoes that are acceptable for riding when you are just getting

Q. Should I purchase gloves for my lessons?
A. While gloves are optional, we do recommend them. Gloves provide a better "grip" on
the reins and help resist slipping while protecting the rider's hands. Riding gloves are
tailored with specially designed fingers for flexibility and comfort. In cooler weather they
provide additional warmth. Lined gloves are significantly warmer but much more
expensive. Keep in mind it is impossible to personalize black gloves and remind your kids
to keep track of them! Gloves start at about $15 and are available at any tack shop.

Q. What if I need to cancel my lesson?
A. Please provide a minimum of 24 hours notice should you need to cancel your lesson. If
you know in advance that you will not be able to make your regularly scheduled lesson,
please let us know so that we may give another student the opportunity to ride. If you do
not show up and do not call, you will be charged for the lesson.

Q. What should I expect at my first lesson?
A.We ask that new students come a little early for their first lesson to sign a waiver. Your
instructor will introduce to your horse and show you where all his/her tack and brushes
are. The tackroom is organized in such a way that the student is able to navigate through
and pick out their horses tack. We are focused on education here and all riders will learn
how to lead, groom, and tack their horse. Proper horsemanship is extremely important to
us and you will not only learn how to ride but also learn about horses in general, how they
react, how to handle them on the ground and mounted, etc. There is so much to learn
and we give our riders a well rounded education.

Q. Are all the horses safe?
A.The Horse Creek lesson horses are extremely safe. We have 15-20 horses to meet the
specific needs of different riders. Our horses are accomplished in the school, as well as,
out on the trails and at shows. Whether you are a beginner, novice or advanced rider our
horses can take you where you want to be.

Q. When will I be able to canter/lope on my horse?
A. Almost everyone wants to canter or lope their horse before they are truly ready. At
Horse Creek Stables, control of the horse is essential and a rider will not be allow to
canter until they have satisfactorily demonstrated they can control the horse at a walk &
trot. To ride at a canter, a rider must have developed sufficient leg strength for the task
and must have adequate control of their body position at the walk and trot. To canter
before these skills have been developed is unsafe and unkind to the horse. It is not our
teaching style to push students into doing things that they are not ready for.

Below I have included descriptions of different styles of riding

English riding is an equestrian discipline with many different styles, however, at the most basic level, most
versions require riders to use both hands on the reins, rather than just one hand, as is seen in western riding.
Riders also frequently "post" or "rise" to the trot (rising and sitting in rhythm with each stride) in many
circumstances, although there are also times when English riders may sit the trot.
English Pleasure
In pleasure classes, only the horse is judged. But this doesn’t mean you should slump over in the saddle and
look like a sack of potatoes; it means you should be more aware of what your horse is doing, rather than
making sure your equitation is perfect.  A pleasure horse should literally be “a pleasure to ride.” The most
important thing a pleasure horse can have is manners! He needs to be willing, obedient, and sound. He should
get his correct leads when you ask for them and be able to travel in a straight line down the rail — no weaving
around here!
He should be very safe and “fit” the rider, meaning that a super-tall rider shouldn’t be riding a small pony! An
English pleasure class is suitable for all horses that can walk, trot and canter in both directions of the arena.
This class spotlights the horse that moves the most willingly and evenly — he doesn’t have to be the best
The English pleasure horse shouldn’t pull on the reins or refuse to go forward. He needs to be quiet, safe and
obedient. You can ride on a loose rein or rein contact in an English pleasure class and not be penalized.
English Equitation
Equitation classes are a little different. Instead of judging the horse, the judge will judge you and how well you
can control your horse–not how well your horse moves.
The main focus is on how you ride, but the judge will notice if your horse runs away with you or if he’s so lazy
you have to kick him around the arena. Bad behavior by your horse can cost you a ribbon — even in an
equitation class.  The judge will focus mainly on your leg position, your upper body position, your posture, your
hand position and your overall horsemanship. She’ll also watch to see if you are on the correct trot diagonal
and canter lead.  The judge will also take into account how promptly your horse responds to your cues and how
accurate your movements are. For example, if you’re asked to trot a figure eight, are both circles even and
equal in size?
Western pleasure
Western Pleasure is a western style competition at horse shows that evaluates horses on manners and
suitability of the horse for a relaxed but collected gait cadence and relatively slow speed of gait, along with calm
and responsive disposition. The horse is to appear to be a "pleasure" to ride and very comfortable, while being
very smooth. Most light horse breeds in the United States and Canada may compete in western pleasure
classes, either in open competition or at shows limited to a single breed. However, horse conformation and
temperament play a role in this event, and hence animals that are calm, quiet, have collected, soft gaits and the
strong muscling required to sustain slow, controlled movement are the most competitive.
Western Horsemanship
In Western Horsemanship also called Western Equitation  the skill of the rider is tested as well as the degree of
training of his or her horse. Basically, what counts is how well the two work together, how harmonious their
concerted performance is. This is a class only for Amateurs and Youth contestants. Although the judge will
design a pattern which the participants of the class must perform, the correct execution of the pattern is not the
only aspect for this class. Half of the evaluation is based on the appearance of horse and rider, the other half
on their performance. horsemanship class includes the posture of the rider, as well as the horse's condition,
the equipment, and the rider's outfit. This is the only western riding class in which the rider's seat, position,
posture, position and action of hands and legs are being judged, as well as his or her ability to effectively cue
the horse with as invisible cues as possible.
Riding Lessons
Click here to print a release form to bring with you to your first appointment