Horseback riding can mean many different things depending on the rider’s skill level and interests.
There are lessons for doing shows, jumping, rodeo, dressage, trail riding, racing, and more.
You don’t even have to own a horse to take horseback riding lessons! So, how much does it cost to learn to ride?
Horseback riding lessons cost $45 to $100 per hour. Group lessons may cost less, starting around $30 per hour per rider. Semi-private or small group lessons are the next cheapest, ranging in the $45 to $70 range, and private lessons are the most expensive. On average, they’re between $60 and $100.
Are Horseback Riding Lessons Expensive?
Horseback riding lessons can be expensive, but usually they’re in the same average price range as other lessons or private instruction.
You should expect to pay around $65 per lesson for group instruction and around $85 per lesson for a private session.
|Private Lessons||Group Lessons|
|Low-End Price||$45 – $55||$30 – $50|
|High-End Price||$90 – $120||$50 – $70|
|Average Price||$55 – $85||$40 – $65|
There are many factors that go into how much horseback riding lessons will cost. Your geographic location plays a significant role.
For example, some areas are known as “horse country,” so there are many options for lessons and an abundance of instructors.
However, in some more urban areas or big cities, the opportunities for horseback riding may be fewer options.
The stable itself also has an impact on price. A new and modern facility will almost always charge higher rates than an older barn that’s not in the same condition.
However, that doesn’t always mean that one establishment provides better instruction than the other.
The instructor’s qualifications may also play a role.
A certified instructor, someone who has more experience teaching or working with children, or award-winning riders usually have higher rates than those who teach to ride as a hobby.
How Much are Private Horseback Lessons?
Private horseback lessons are usually between $55 and $75, but you may find them cheaper depending on your geographic location. Still, some people pay $100 or more per lesson with skilled or high-demand instructors.
Private lessons (for any kind of instruction) are almost always more expensive than group lessons.
However, beginning riders should almost always begin with a private introductory lesson.
Even if you plan to do group lessons, don’t discount the value of an introductory session that’s one-on-one with the instructor, especially for children.
Many people – adults and children alike – are nervous around horses, especially at first.
A private lesson will help ensure the rider feels safe and comfortable around the horse and ensure that they know the safety rules related to riding.
This can be a huge advantage to beginner riders that’s well worth the added cost for some people.
How Much are Horseback Riding Lessons for Kids?
Riding lessons for children typically run between $30 and $80 per session. Horseback riding lessons for kids are usually less expensive than adult lessons for a few reasons.
First, introductory level classes are usually cheaper than advanced lessons in any discipline, whether you’re taking music, art, or sports classes.
The rate for instruction almost always increases as the level increases. The reason is because as the rider advances, they’ll need more personalized and intensive instruction to develop their skills.
Another reason is because kids’ lessons are usually shorter. Young children have a shorter attention span than adults, so they do better with shorter lessons.
Adults can handle hour-long classes easily and will get more out of the instruction than little kids.
What Kinds of Horseback Riding Lessons Are There?
Horseback riding is typically designated as either English or Western. However, the differences between the two are minimal.
The type of saddle is different, there are different competition events, and some of the riding techniques and posture may vary slightly.
In either case, there are many different types and styles of riding, all of which require instruction from a professional or experienced rider.
Let’s take a look at the different kinds of riding lessons so you can better understand what to look for.
- Dressage: This is a traditional and competitive riding style where the rider guides the horse through a routine from memory. There are even Olympic events for this type of competitive riding. Dressage training develops the horse’s flexibility, balance, obedience, and athleticism.
- Show Jumping: This English style of competitive riding is also sometimes called stadium jumping. It involves riding horses through a course of obstacles and fences. The horse is trained to jump the fences and is penalized for knocking them down or refusing to jump.
- Eventing: This is an English competitive riding style which involves dressage, show jumping, and cross-country events. Eventing can also be described as an equestrian triathlon, because the rider (and horse) compete in the three events. It’s also an Olympic sport.
- Western Pleasure: This style judges how well-behaved the horse is and scores the horses and riders based on how well they seem to be suited for pleasure riding. The horses complete simple commands and must be well-mannered.
- Reining: Reining is the Western form of dressage. In this style of riding, the rider guides the horse through a routine of circles, spins, and loops, riding at a higher speed. The rider’s commands are typically invisible to those watching.
- Rodeo Riding: There are many events and disciplines which fall under the rodeo category. These may include barrel racing and cutting, as well as other arena routines.
- Endurance Riding: These are long-distance horseback rides of 25 miles or more, sometimes as much as 500 miles. The riders stop every 25 miles for a health check (for both the rider and the horse).
- Racing: Horse racing is popular all over the world. Usually, the horse’s breed and lineage are the most important factors in racing, but the rider (or jockey) must also be skilled to ride and control the horse.
Of course, there are other styles of riding like Western saddleseat, Gymkhana, and just leisure or pleasure riding.
Depending on what your goals are and the kind of training investment you want to make, be sure to select an instructor or facility that includes the style of riding you’re looking for.
Other Cost Factors for Horseback Riding Lessons
The rider’s skill level, the instructor’s qualifications, and the type of riding lesson will all have an impact on the cost.
Still, geographic location plays a huge role in determining the going rate for each lesson.
Let’s take a look at the average cost for a single lesson across some of the major cities in the US to get a better idea:
|Location||Small Group Lesson||Private Lesson|
|Orlando, FL||$40 – $65||$55 – $80|
|Dallas, TX||$55 – $70||$80 – $95|
|Las Vegas, NV||$35 – $50||$50 – $65|
|Los Angeles, CA||$70 – $85||$85 – $100|
|New York City, NY||$75 – $90||$90 – $105|
|San Francisco, CA||$60 – $75||$80 – $95|
|Tulsa, OK||$40 – $55||$60 – $75|
|Cleveland, OH||$45 – $60||$55 – $75|
The duration of the class also plays a role in the cost. Some instructors offer lessons in 30 or 45-minute sessions, while others stick with a standard 1-hour class.
Half-hour classes are usually cheaper per session but more expensive over time compared to hour-long lessons.
Extra Expenses for Horseback Riding Lessons
It’s not just the class itself you’ll need to pay for. Whether you’re an adult or child, you’ll need to have the right clothing and gear for the lessons.
You’ll usually receive information in advance outlining exactly what you need to bring and the type of clothing and shoes to wear.
Most stables provide tack and a helmet, but it’s always best to double check whether you need to bring one.
You’ll also need to make sure you wear long pants (you’ll eventually want to buy some riding pants), closed-toe shoes or boots with a small heel, and a comfortable shirt that will allow you to move.
Learning to ride a horse can be a fun, exciting, and rewarding experience for both kids and adults.
However, it’s not a hobby that comes cheaply. In most cases, you should plan to spend between $50 and $75 per lesson.
Plus, if you ever decide that you want to own your own horse, the expense will increase astronomically.
Still, there are ways to save money on horseback riding lessons if you’re dedicated to the idea.
First, shop around to see what the options are in your area. If you live somewhere that has a lot of farms and stables, you’re likely to find some cheaper options out there.
Another cost-saving strategy is to consider group lessons instead of private instruction.
In some cases, it can cut the expense in half. It’s an especially good value if the instructor limits the number of students to five or fewer.
Some stables may even allow you to exchange helping out with chores for lesson credits.
Owning and caring for horses is a big job, and many stables accept volunteers in the form of horse-loving youths looking for some riding time.
Of course, these arrangements will vary depending on the stable and owners, but it never hurts to inquire.
If you can find a way to afford the lessons, you’re sure to enjoy the time you spend on horseback.
It’s an impressive skill to learn and one that teaches patience, responsibility, and dedication.
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