In case you have forgotten, riding stables make horseback riding their business. Some business owners do not have any qualms about telling lies to get people to sign up for their lessons or board at their stable. Have you ever dealt with unsavory business people? If you have then you know they are in all businesses and the horse business is no different.
Do your own due diligence. Asking the right questions can save you some definite heart ache in the future.
Here are some ‘untruths’ which I have heard.
Yes I am insured – Insurance is expensive and having it cuts into horse boarding and horse riding stable’s profit. If you are at all concerned about the waiver and insurance consider asking the stable owner about their insurance. If you are boarding your horse, it is not unreasonable for stable owners to ask horse owners to provide additional insurance for liability and theft.
All instructors are certified. When really they are slightly better than the people they are teaching and have no certification. I have seen people teaching riding lessons who have minimum experience. Not only minimum experience teaching but minimum experience in life. If you are concerned about their qualifications check the local equestrian association for certified coaches. Some coaches, which are very good, have no formal certification but stand on their show record or horse training record for their teaching and level of competency. Safety is first and having educated instructors is important.
Students can show the horses at horse shows. This opportunity is usually met with squeals of delight from new riders. This, to me, is a half truth. Yes they can go to horse shows and being involved in the competitive stream is usually an expensive endeavor and involves financial investment. Money for horse(lease or purchase), extra lessons, show entries, transportation to shows, day fees for the show,show cloths. This is one of the biggest ‘hooks’ for parents of children who want to ride.
The other half truth of this is yes they can show, but it is a non-rated show.
Everything is included in the price or a price is quoted which is different. When signing up some stable charge hidden fees which are not discussed. I had one friend who boarded her horse and the coach instructed her to use a martingale. As she was a new horse owner she didn’t have one and the stable owner lent her one. When she got her board bill at the end of the month there was a charge for a martingale rental and a price per day for rental of the martingale. She was surprised at the extra charge and then promptly when out and bought her own. Ask if there are any fees and what is included.
photo credit: Svadilfari
This is also true for boarding horses. Confirm other costs associated with your boarding costs. Check to see if there are other costs, add ons for holding the horse for shoeing, blanketing, putting on boots for turnout. If you are unsure ask. Ask for a price list of additional costs. Be prepared to discuss any additional costs if the owner/manager is interested.
Before signing up for lessons the stable should ‘feel right’ if you get a bad feeling chances are you should look at a different stable. Have you ever been mislead by a stable owner to get you to sign up for lessons? we’d like to hear from you.