The camaraderie that takes place at the barn is a strong, healthy influence on a developing young person. In today’s world of instant everything, developing a relationship with a horse can be extremely rewarding and beneficial. It is a life lesson in patience, creating and sticking to a plan, and the rewards that are associated with the progress. At Windermere, we offer riding lessons for all levels of riders.
Our riding program is geared toward learning how to ride and improve a horse — real horsemanship. Many of our riders are competitive on the Michigan Hunter/Jumper circuit(s). Many of our riders choose not to compete — they just desire to continually improve their horsemanship both on and off the ground. We place a strong emphasis on position, as proper form creates a stable platform for communication. We also place a strong emphasis on developing ‘feel’, as without it there will be no real communication with the horse.
Our school horses are the best teachers, and Windermere has over twenty, allowing for riders to progress with horses suitable for their level of riding. With four instructors working throughout the year and climate controlled indoor riding arenas we have the ability to offer lessons for everyone no matter what their time constraints might be.
Windermere welcomes students of all ages. Our Pony Pals Program is geared toward students as young as four years of age. It is an informal class setting where students become comfortable riding the horse and learning basic horsemanship on the ground. click here for more information on our Pony Pals riding program. Hour and half hour private lessons and small group lessons are available for horse owners and non-horse owners alike.
Horsemanship and safety are important parts of your instruction. At Windermere, all students start with private lessons. All students will learn how to care for the horse and prepare the horse for the lesson. In most cases, students require one to three months of private lessons before progressing into a class situation.
What to wear and expect
Beginner riders are expected to wear hard-soled shoes with a flat sole and small heel and long pants. (No tennis shoes please!) We require students to wear a helmet at all times while mounted. During a student’s first month of riding, while mounted attached to a lead line or lunge line, we find a bike helmet acceptable. However, if it is decided to continue on in our riding program, we do require the purchase of an ASTM/SEI approved riding helmet. We do have approved helmets available to borrow. We also require the purchase or tall boots or paddock boots and half chaps as this makes riding more comfortable and allows the rider’s leg to be more secure.
Students are expected to arrive approximately 30 minutes before the lesson to groom and tack their horse. Riders are also likely to spend an additional 30 minutes after the lesson practicing horsemanship; cooling out the horse, un-tacking, grooming, and putting away any equipment used.
It is our mission to create the next generation of horsemen and horsewomen. Riding is only a small part of your education. “Horse” comes first in all aspects of Horsemanship. With instruction and time spent you will develop the instincts and skill set necessary to be a true horseman.