To start, we ask that riders wear a pair of boots with a heel (Blundstones or the older style rubber boots are perfect) and a pair of long pants that enable easy movement, such as sweatpants or stretchy leggings. Equestrian approved riding helmets are available for students to borrow.
As students progress, and it's worth starting to invest in gear, as it will enable a better feel and less bulk between the rider and the horse. A riding helmet is a good place to start. Next, we'd suggest getting a less bulky pair of boots (Blundstones are still great), a pair of half chaps (similar to gaiters) to protect the lower leg and a pair of gloves.
In winter or wet weather, we layer up with rain or snow pants, thicker gloves, and thin toques (no pompoms!) or headbands that can fit under a helmet.
In most lesson barns, it's still pretty standard to have to commit to weekly lessons in order to spend time with horses. It's also still common for lessons to be taught in larger group formats based on a sports coaching model that has its origins in the military, and has the end goal of its riders doing well at shows, in order to attract more students. At Mountain Horse, we want to change all that. We also want to acknowledge that keeping a barn full of horses fed, healthy, trained and happy is not a cheap adventure, whether we're talking time or money. This means that learning to ride well can require a significant financial investment. With the wealth of activities in the Sea to Sky corridor, it's hard to prioritize becoming an excellent rider. And riding in horse shows isn't something everyone wants to achieve. (I think most horses would be happy to never go to a show again...)
We've created a way of teaching riding that emphasizes the joy, learning and personal development and transformation that comes from understanding and forming a relationship with a horse. We also give the therapeutic properties inherent in being with animals in nature the space to work their magic. When we ride, out perspective is different. We feel the world more, as well as our place with in it. And that changes everything. Which means you might WANT to come back every week... but you have the freedom to choose what works for yourself and your family.
Sometimes! We do our best to accommodate requests for horses/ponies but sometimes we're not able to fulfil them if we're trying to balance that horse's work load for the day. We're also careful to pair riders with horses that match their skill level, and we'll move riders to different horses/ponies from time to time as it's an entirely different experience with each one, and each animal has its own unique collection of teachings they like to impart to their students.
Being under a plastic or metal roof instead of out in the elements? Why on earth would we do that? Mountain Horse Operates a little like a forest school: if the weather is bad, we still go out in it. This means that if it rains, we ride. However, past a certain point, even the horses look at us like we're crazy. So if there is a severe storm or unusually heavy rainfall forecasted (more than 7mm at the time of your lesson) you'll receive a text the night before telling you of the cancellation, and the lesson will be refunded in full. In the winter we follow a similar policy: if there's a huge dump of snow in the forecast or if the ground is to icy, we'll cancel and refund your lesson the night before.
Please be in touch with us by email before registering so we can talk about if it's possible to accommodate you/your child's needs in our lesson program, or if it might be best to work with them through the therapeutic riding/ equine guided learning/ mentorship stream of our programming.
Because of the time and energy that goes into making sure a horse is ready for you, a 48 hour cancellation policy applies to all lessons.