What You Need To Know Before Your First Lesson

August 27, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions about riding lessons at Foothills Farm

You are interested in riding lessons at Foothills Farm? Great! You most likely have a lot of questions about our program, how to get started and what you will need. Here are some things that you need to know before your first lesson at Foothills Farm.

What is the best age for my child to begin riding?

Any rider over the age of 8 is a great age to start riding. By then, most children have developed the required stamina and leg muscles needed to ride. Sometimes children between the ages of 6-7 can also start riding, depending on their physical ability and development. 

If you are an adult, you can learn to ride at any age. Riding is proven to keep you young as many of our favourite riders are over the age of 70! 

What are the lessons like?

Foothills Farm’s instructors and horses specialize in jumping. But we have to walk before we can run, so we begin the lesson program without jumping.

All beginner riders begin with private lessons, one-on-one with the instructor. They will learn about balance, steering, and safety. They will also learn about horse care, how to get ready for their lesson, and about taking care of the horse afterward. Riders can expect to be riding for 30-40 minutes while doing horse care for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after their lesson. 

Once the rider is feeling confident with their balance and is able to steer and control the speed of their horse - they are able to join group riding lessons with other riders at their skill level. Group lessons are a great way to enhance a rider's learning, as you can learn a tremendous amount by watching your fellow riders. 

Riders begin to learn how to navigate over poles at different speeds, working up to a few small jumps and eventually full courses. Riders can expect to be riding for 60 minutes while doing horse care for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after their lesson. 

Riders are required to show up 30- 40 minutes before their scheduled riding time. This is to ensure that you have enough time to prepare your horse for your lesson. 

When do you have lessons?

Many of our instructors have full-time jobs elsewhere so our lesson schedule is not always set in stone from year to year and season to season. 

We usually offer beginner lessons during the evenings on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 

On the weekend, we regularly have beginner and group lessons during the day on Saturday and Sunday. Specific times and days are subject to change depending on coach availability.

 Learn to ride at Foothills Farm
How do I book my first lesson?

You want to book a lesson? PERFECT!

Please reach out to us using this form here. Please be patient as we are often busy in the barn so it may take a few days for us to respond. 

We would love to book a time to talk on the phone to answer any last questions you may have and to discuss times you are available for a lesson so please share your availability so we can find the best time to chat.

From there we will coordinate with our coaches to find a time and horse that works.

I want to sign my child up for riding lessons, how involved do I have to be as a parent?

Learning about horses can be as rewarding for you as it is for your child. Getting to know your way around these beautiful animals is a great way to unwind and improve mental health and wellbeing - you’ll see what we mean when you get here.  Even if the riding lessons aren’t officially booked for you, we welcome and invite all parents and caretakers to dive into the experience. If you have allergies or are fearful around the horses, please let a member of our riding lesson team know. 

What equipment do I need?

It is recommended that you ride in a stretchy pant such as leggings or yoga pants. Please avoid jeans. You will also need a closed-toe boot with a heel. This will protect your toes while working around horses and the heel is needed to prevent your foot from going through the stirrup while riding.

We provide all the equipment needed for the horse such as saddle, bridle, brushes, saddle pad, and girths. We also have a selection of shared industry-approved  (ASTM/SEI) helmets in a variety of sizes available for use. You can learn more about the equipment needed for riding here on our blog.

Having the appropriate gear can make a big difference. Greenhawk Sudbury has an excellent selection of horseback riding equipment. Ask them about their discounted “Learn-to-Ride” package and be sure to share that you will be taking lessons at Foothills Farm. They will make sure you are provided with the right type of equipment for your lessons. 

Please note, you do not need to invest in anything special to get started it is simply an option if you would like to have your own helmet and boots.

We hope that this equipment guide will help you navigate your journey with horses and set you up for success in this amazing sport. Please feel free to check out the other blogs in our My First Riding Lesson series:

Also in Blog

Foothills Farm Rider Averey May Pritchard qualified for the Royal Winter Fair
Foothills Rider Profile: Averey May Pritchard

November 03, 2022

This season, Averey has been riding with three horses that will be competing with her at the Royal Winter Fair. We sat down with her to ask her about her journey to the Royal, along with any advice she has for riders who have their eye on qualifying for the Royal next year.

Read More

The 100th Anniversary of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
The 100th Anniversary of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

October 28, 2022

Foothills Farm is proud to announce three entries to The 100th Anniversary of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair & the official 2022 Canadian National Championships. Congratulations to Holly, Adriana and Averey!

Read More

Information For Competitors: Rick Smith Memorial Horse Show, July 22 - 24
Information For Competitors: Rick Smith Memorial Horse Show, July 22 - 24

July 15, 2022

Come spend a day in the country at Foothills Farm! Bring a couple of lawn chairs and sit back and watch some of Ontario's rising equestrian stars in exciting competition at the 2022 Rick Smith Memorial Horse show. 

Read More