How Often Should You Take Horseback Riding Lessons?

Now that you’ve started riding lessons do you find yourself just day dreaming about horses and thinking about when you can ride again? Are you starting to get the hang of riding and want to become competitive? Well, you’re not alone, many equestrians wonder how they can ride more and how often they should take horseback riding lessons.

How often should you take riding lessons? The most common frequency for beginner to intermediate equestrians taking horseback riding lessons in the United States is once per week. For riders who plan to compete, buy their own horse or want to learn faster, taking lessons twice per week is very beneficial. There is no replacement for time spent in the saddle when it comes to progress.

There are several factors to consider when deciding how often to take riding lessons. Plus, we’ll take a look at alternatives to get more time in the saddle when multiple lessons per week aren’t an option.

Figure Out Your Riding Lesson Budget

As we discussed in another recent article, horseback riding lessons can be quite expensive. Check out this article to learn more about why riding lessons cost so much! So that means if you want to ride more, you need to be able to afford it. Just like with any other hobby or entertainment, you’ll need to have the funds. So, start thinking about what your lessons cost and determine if you can afford to ride more often. If the answer is no, ask yourself how much money you need to set aside and figure out when you will be able to start riding more. Budget is a key factor in figuring out how often you should take horseback riding lessons.

Check Your Trainer’s Schedule

If your barn has a large lesson program, scheduling can be tough. Not only that, even if your trainer can clear time in their schedule for your additional lessons, there may not be a horse available. Horses can only work so many hours per week and still stay healthy and perform well. That means, if you don’t own your own horse or lease a horse that you have access to throughout the week, adding lessons could be a challenge. Give your instructor a heads up if you are considering taking additional lessons so they have time to figure out a way to accommodate you. You definitely cannot spring this on your trainer and expect them to just make it work.

Set Some Riding Goals

Consider your goals and have a conversation with your trainer or instructor. Get your trainer’s feedback based on your current ability and come up with a plan to meet your goals. Once you have this discussion, it’ll be easier to determine how much more ride time will benefit you. And, you can assess your progress and make changes as you go. Having a base line of where you are and knowing your short and long term goals will help.

How to decide how often you should take riding lessons by analyzing your goals and budget.

Ways To Get More Ride Time

There are lots of ways to get more ride time, check out the options listed below.

  • Extra lessons (for example, one group lesson and one private lesson per week)
  • Practice rides
  • Lease a horse
  • Take lessons at another barn in a different discipline
  • Work at the barn in exchange for practice rides

If extra lessons aren’t an option either based on your budget or your trainer’s schedule, try to squeeze in some practice rides. A practice ride is similar to leasing a horse except they are scheduled and paid for a la carte. And, you need to have the skills and independence to do this safely.

Alternatively, if there is a horse in your barn available for partial lease, you could ride a couple of days per week in addition to your lessons. This will give you the opportunity to practice what you learned. And, not only will you find yourself improving at a faster rate (still be patient, it takes time) you’ll also learn about horse care.

Don’t have the budget for practice rides or leasing? Try working at the barn in exchange for a practice ride. But to be clear, you need to be knowledgeable and independent enough to be safe. Your trainer may say no if you are not ready or they may simply not need the help.

Lastly, take lessons at a second barn. I want to be very clear about this option, if you choose to do this, take lessons in another discipline. Also, this is NOT a good option for beginners. Riding with two trainers who both teach the same discipline and have a different approach will confuse you and make it difficult to focus and grow. Plus, you may think they are contradicting each other when really they’re using a different method to achieve the same result. This is not ok and doesn’t benefit anyone.

If you want to take more lesson and ride at another barn, first you need to be experienced enough to understand how to separate the information you receive from each trainer. And, you need to be able to draw similarities between horses and trainers. Secondly, if you ride at another barn it should be in a different discipline. This will help you stay on track with your riding with each trainer without getting confused. Learning multiple disciplines will help you grow and learn as a rider and horse person. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be able to take lessons in multiple disciplines from quarter horse events to dressage, reining and jumping.

The wider your range of experience, the better you’ll ride. Ultimately, you’ll likely end up focusing primarily on one path and you should so you can excel. But, taking dressage lessons will help improve your flat work in your jumping lessons. The examples are countless, so try it out! Want to try this out but don’t know where to find a second barn? Check out this article where I walk you through finding a great quality trainer!

Pros And Cons Of Riding More

Ok, just to state the obvious, the main pro here is, you get to ride more! And, a pretty straight forward con, your family may become annoyed with you. Now that we have those out of the way, let’s look at some other pros and cons of riding more often that you may not have thought of. Hint; if you’re obsessed with horses the cons don’t matter and you’ll always want to ride more!

Pros Of Riding More OftenCons Of Riding More Often
It’s great exercise!You’ll probably give up on self care or at least it’ll be less important. So you’ll go to the grocery store straight from the barn smelling delightfully of manure with hay in your hair. It’s fine!
You’ll get better faster!You’ll neglect house work, family, chores and eating healthy. It’s also fine. Even if your house isn’t clean, your tack will be!
You get more time to groom and share a bond with the horses.Your legs might be sore. Totally fine.
More time spent in the fresh air away from screens and technology.It costs more money. Boo, not fine. Be creative and find a way to make it work!
You’ll be in a better mood, horses make your soul happy.You’ll become addicted and the withdrawals due to inclement weather and busy schedules will make you cranky. It’ll be fine, you’ll cheer up when you get to the barn.

I hope you found this article helpful! If you did, please give it a share!

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