View Full Version : Teaching Horsemanship

May. 1, 2010, 07:19 PM
Curious to see how overall "horsemanship" is taught at your barns? How are lesson riders progressed to leasing and finally owning? There is a lot of knowledge needed to care for a real horse of your own vs. just showing up and tacking up a lesson horse. I'm talking teaching things like clipping, lunging, basic veterinary care, wrapping, nutrition, etc.

Do you charge and teach horsemanship in a formal way? Do you except the rider to just "pick up" knowledge from being around the barn? Do you expect other owners to show new owners the ropes? Do you show them things when time permits for free and consider it part of the job?

May. 1, 2010, 07:41 PM
when i was taught it was included in the lessons,but i also learned things just being around the barn on top of that..so when it came to teaching students i did it the same way...the only thing that does come a problem,is that time constraints and riders and or parents just want to pay for just ride time.
i didn't really charge for horse management portion and just up the lesson length.
you might have to charge a bit more for lesson and include time doing that stuff before riding portion.justly talk to rider/parents about the changes you might make to lesson program.
or another option is have little horse care clinics/lessons open for people that are wanting to work towards owning their own horse,sepeerate from regular riding lessons..

May. 1, 2010, 07:50 PM
i teach everything from the ground up in my lessons plus the riding

May. 1, 2010, 08:13 PM
My barn just started doing horse care clinics which I think is a fantastic idea. I had to learn through someone knowledgeable teaching me things here and there, but it would have been great to be able to go to a clinic as well. The last clinic taught basic clipping(bridle path, legs, whiskers, etc. on dead quiet horses), mane pulling, and show turnout(tack cleaning, horse bathing, proper rider attire and horse tack). The one before was all about the riding aspect of showing; the participants had to learn a mock course, then go ride it a few times, and get feedback from the head trainer at the barn. There's talk of a braiding clinic next...

ETA: In the beginner lessons, learning basic horse care and horse to tack up is included. Once you're ready, the trainer suggests a lease. And when you're ready to own and/or move past a low intermediate stage in riding, you start taking lessons with the head trainer.

May. 1, 2010, 11:49 PM
The kids I teach are a little young compared to the ones I assume you are speaking of, however it has to start somewhere!

We require our students to take a pony class that we run through a local school district. They work hands on with the horses, learn to drive a mini (which I find is a great introduction, learning to use the reins without having to worry about their leg/ seat too!), craft, and basic horse care (grooming, feeding, nutrition) as well as educational (saddle parts, bridle parts, horse anatomy, and so on) all in a fun way because the kids are sometimes young!

For example last week with the course (we have a 4, 4, 4, 4, 6, 6, 6, year old) We read them a clue and they had to go on a scavenger hunt to look for the item. Ex. Find the part of the saddle that you put your foot into. They learn a lot and have fun too!

We have even let them clip, sure it doesn't come out very good, but they have to start somewhere.

May. 2, 2010, 12:02 AM
Riders at my barn, and at my previous barn, are expected to groom and tack their horses before their ride. The little ones get help, obviously, but everyone is taught this and is expected to learn it. Once they do, they are expected to show up early enough to be ready and in the ring by lesson time. I've never ridden at a barn that did not have this expectation.

As far as other basics, most of the lesson kids are in 4-H, and we cover those things in depth at meetings.

Fun Size
May. 2, 2010, 01:41 PM
pretty much everyone at my barn progressed from lesson program, to lease, to owning and "knows the ropes" so to speak.

Trainers spend time questioning the younger kids and making sure they know the basics, because there are several upper level medals and things that they do that ask you these questions, and some even have a written test that asks them to identify parts of the horse, equipment, things like that.

So I guess to answer your question it is incorporated into the training program as needed.

May. 2, 2010, 04:44 PM
I require all lesson students to use "rainy day lessons" for horsemanship. So if it's too wet to ride, we do parts of the horse, wrapping, confirmation, etc. Boarders aren't required to take them, but are encouraged if they are having issues with something or want to know more.

At my annual schooling show we have a horsemanship challenge which consists of a written test with a practicum for the top three testers. I give out really nice ribbons and a silver tray for the winner. It's great motivation for them. :)

May. 2, 2010, 05:04 PM
A lot of the instructors I've worked with have been willing in theory to teach more about horse care, but it was very difficult to get them to follow through in practice. Even when I offered to pay the full lesson price to work on things like braiding, clipping, bandaging, etc. on a rainy day (no indoor), they didn't want to spend the time on it. I found an eventing instructor who did teach me, usually as things came up (ie. putting on shipping boots before trailering the first time, braiding before our first show, etc. I was able to get some help from other boarders at the barn on occasion. I've also attended local clinics on various aspects of horsemanship, including hands-on trimming of an actual horse, and dissection of frozen legs/hooves. The Vaulting Regional Championships had a series of classes on horse care (farrier tools and evaluating hoof balance, poisonous plants, functional conformation, etc.).

May. 3, 2010, 02:34 PM
I trained with several individuals as a youth (all at different times). I was lucky in that each of them, and one in particular, really taught me a lot about horsemanship. I also did (and still do) a lot of reading. Teaching horsemanship seems to be something of a lost art, unfortunately.

I think the mentality at too many barns these days is that the BO/trainer/BM will take care of everything so it is not important that the owner know basic horse care. I also think it makes some BOs, trainers, and BMs uneasy if owners are well informed horsemen. It is much easier to feed someone a load of BS if the individual has no way of knowing what is and is not correct.

May. 3, 2010, 02:48 PM
I have set up a formal program here at our farm for horsemanship. All students go through it as they can. On days not suitable for riding, we do horsemanship lessons. Students progress through levels, via classes and testing, starting with basic horse care, and eventually working up to everything that a horse-owner should know. I have always felt it is very necessary to know about the animal you are sitting on in order to work best with them and therefore have made that a very integrated portion of our program here.