As a horseback riding instructor of almost a decade, I have had a good number of students, from different backgrounds, levels, and abilities.
One thing I was often asked by my students was how often they should be taking riding lessons.
So how often should you take riding lessons? How often you should take horseback riding lessons depends on different factors. It depends on your riding goals, how fast you want to learn to ride horses or get good at riding horses, what you can afford, and what you have time for. The average equestrian takes 1 lesson a week.
Now that you know the factors involved with deciding how often to take riding lessons and the norm for how often most equestrians take lessons, you may be wondering but what is the right number for me. How many lessons should I personally take a week?
Figuring Out How Often You Should Take Horseback Riding Lessons
I mentioned the different factors that you want to consider when you are trying to figure out how often you should take riding lessons. Now I am going to break it down and help you figure out what’s best for you and your goals.
What Can You Afford For Riding Lessons
- First, figure out what is the most you can afford to spend on riding lessons every month.
- Divide that number by the cost of a riding lesson.
- Then take that number and divide by 4 which is roughly what a month is made up of.
- This will give you how many riding lessons you can take a week at the top of your budget.
The top of my budget for riding lessons is $1200 a month. (Haha, I wish… it’s not!) The riding lessons are $45 for a half-hour and $65 for an hour. I want to do the hour lessons.
So I do 600 divided by 65, which is 18 lessons a month.
Then I divide that by 4, which comes to affording up to 4 riding lessons a week
Here is another example of someone who has a lot less money for the top of their budget.
The top of Sally’s budget is $250 per month. The riding lessons are $40 for an hour group and $70 for an hour private. Sally decided to do group lessons because it is more affordable. So 250 divided by 40 ends up being 6 lessons a month. Then 6 divided by 4 means she can afford only 1 lesson a week.
If you really want to take more riding lessons but you can’t afford it, and you have the extra time, you could always ask the barn you ride at if you could work off extra riding lessons.
Whether that is through doing barn chores, cleaning tack, bathing or grooming horses, braiding for shows, tacking up horses for your trainer.
Be creative and see what you can do to earn extra lessons.
I have also known riders that couldn’t afford once a week and didn’t have time to work off lessons.They were only able to afford once every other week. That’s okay if that’s where you are right now.
Enjoy the time you do have to ride, try to get the most out of your lessons you can and try to improve in your riding off of the horse.
Related Article: How You Can Improve Your Riding Skills Without A Horse
How Much Time Do You Have For Riding Lessons
You now know how many lessons a week you can afford. But even if you had all the money you could ask for, if you don’t have time to take lessons, then you aren’t going to be riding.
Look at your weekly schedule and see what days and times you are free. Are there things you can move around to make time for riding lessons?
I looked at my schedule and I have time available Monday Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I can afford up to 4 lessons a week but I am only available 3 days a week. So I go to set up 3 lessons during those times. When I go to set up lessons for 3 days a week only 2 of the 3 lesson spots I want are open. So I will be taking lessons 2x per week.
Our other example with Sally:
Sally has time available for 5 days during the week. But she is only able to afford up 1 lesson a week. So she finds out what is available for lesson times at the barn and there are 3 available days she can choose from. Then Sally picks the best day and time out of the 3 that are available.
Keep in mind the lesson schedule at the barn. That can affect how often you are able to take lessons.
However, you could always find another instructor to ride with if your instructor doesn’t have extra lesson spaces available.
Using Different Riding Instructors
Just know that riding instructors differ with their approach to teaching and the methods they may use which can help by giving you more ways of trying things.
It can be helpful because one thing may work with one horse, but not work for a different horse.
However, learning different ways of doing things in the beginning if you don’t already have a solid foundation can make things more confusing sometimes.
Remember how many lessons you ride a week will be affected by your availability as well as the barn you lesson at.
Using Your Riding Goals To Help Determine How Often You Should Take Riding Lessons
What are your riding goals? By this, I don’t mean the small goals you are working toward in your riding. I mean the overall picture.
Figure out what your overall goal of riding lessons is for you.
- Do you just want to take riding lessons for fun recreationally and maybe as a stress reliever?
- Do you want to take riding lessons because you are interested in competing in horse shows?
- Are you just wanting to learn the basics of how to ride and that’s it?
- Do you want to learn how to ride and become good at it?
- Do you want to learn how to become an expert rider and potentially ride professionally?
- Do you want to learn to ride because you want to buy a horse?
- Do you want to take riding lessons for exercise?
These are just some ideas of goals or reasons people have for taking riding lessons. Take your time and figure out what things are motivating you to want to take riding lessons.
If you want to take lessons for fun you may be happy with riding once a week. Whereas if you want to strive to become an expert rider then you will want to take lessons more often and maybe lease a horse or do some practice rides as well.
Keep in mind the more weekly lessons you take the faster you will reach your riding goals. Though your progress speed toward your goals will look different than someone else’s.
So don’t feel bad if it is taking you longer to reach certain goals than other riders.
How Much Do You Want To Ride
The last factor to consider is how much do you want to ride. Do you only want to take a lesson once or twice a week? Do you want to ride as much as possible?
If you want to learn to ride as quickly as you can but you don’t want to take lessons more than once a week, then you’re probably going to be disappointed. Unless you are riding and practicing between lessons with your horse, a lease horse or in practice rides.
If you want to ride more and can’t afford it. Remember what I said earlier, try working at the barn if possible to earn extra lessons.
Keep in mind you can also improve your riding out of the saddle. Check out my post: How You Can Improve Your Riding Skills Without A Horse
So figure out how many lessons a week you actually want to take and create a plan to make it happen.
How many lessons does it take to learn to ride a horse? I’m sorry but there are no magic numbers for this. I have taught over 400 different people who mostly took weekly lessons and they all progressed at different levels and speeds.
Okay if you really want some sort of number I will give you a real-life example of myself. It took me 2 years of lessons every other week and 4 years of lessons every week before I had the basics down for walk trot canter and jumping and beginning levels of dressage.
It took me 10 more years of regular riding lessons, equine degree, college dressage team, owning and retraining thoroughbreds, being an eventing working student, teaching, training and starting my own horse business among other things to get to mid to lower end of professional level.
Personally, I was not a natural. I have always had trouble remembering new things. I wasn’t the fittest kid and I had a good amount of fear when it came to riding as much as I loved it. These types of issues are factors that will affect how many lessons and how long it takes you.
To help you assess your factors here is a list that will help you get an idea of how long it may take you.
How many lessons it takes to get you there will depend on:
- Your natural balance and ability
- Your stamina, strength, and flexibility
- Your coordination
- Your ability to follow directions
- Your ability and willingness to learn
- Your level of anxiety and fear
- The horses you are riding
- Your instructor
- How often you are taking lessons.
An example of student progress speeds:
One rider learning how to post at the trot, figured out the up-down motion with the horse in the first lesson, no previous riding lessons and she was able to move with the horse in rhythm while staying balanced.
Another rider who also had no previous lessons, could not get the rhythm and was bouncing in the saddle. It took them 6 months of weekly riding lessons to get a steady rhythm and stay stable at the posting trot.
I want to point out taking more lessons weekly will help you learn faster but not just because you are riding more.
It will also help you learn faster because the new knowledge will be fresher in your mind if it was only a few days ago as opposed to a week ago.
Then you can build upon what you know and move along faster. If you had a lesson a week ago you may need more of a review and a refresher taking that extra time to get back in the groove and remember what you learned.
Lastly, I just want to point out that you will never stop being a student with horses and riding. There is always more to learn and more to improve. I have been riding for over 20 years and still consider myself a student.
Horseback riding is more of a lifestyle than a skill you master and finish.
Are horse riding lessons worth it? Horse riding lessons are worth it when you find a riding instructor that will challenge you enough to create progress but at the same time help you feel safe and secure.
Riding lessons that have goals and structured plans to reach those goals will help you to feel like you are accomplishing something because you actually are. You are moving forward and getting better when you are working towards your goals.
Good lesson horses are also valuable in riding lessons. Maybe you have ridden mostly green horses. Riding a well-trained schoolmaster will give you the opportunity to focus more on yourself as a rider, your position, balance, body mechanics and learn correct ways of riding.
If you are just starting out riding it is much safer for you, and kinder to the horse to take riding lessons. In this case, riding lessons are definitely worth it.
An instructor will teach you safety around horses, the fundamentals of riding, better communication between horse and rider, help improve your balance and position.
You will be much less likely to fall off or get taken off with if you have an instructor guiding you along the way keeping you at a safe pace for the level you are at.
Some horse riding lessons are not worth the cost! When the instructor doesn’t have enough experience and is teaching you incorrect principles or techniques.
When the horses are not being well cared for and they are not well trained, misbehaved may be due to insufficient training or pain. When the instructor doesn’t seem to be engaged in the lesson.
When you feel like you are never learning anything new and it’s the same thing every lesson.
Did you find this article helpful? Check these out:
- How You Can Improve Your Riding Skills Without A Horse
- 7 Reasons Moms Should Horseback Ride as a Hobby!
- Can I Wear Leggings Horseback Riding?
- Do I Need My Own Riding Helmet For Horseback Riding Lessons?
- The Budget-Friendly Guide For What To Wear Horseback Riding
- 10 Must Read Horse Books For Getting Started As An Equestrian
Poll: How Many Times A Week Do You Wish You Could Take Riding Lessons?