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Frequently Asked Questions

What you need to know

Q. My child is interested in riding but I don't even know where to begin.  Do I need to own a horse to ride here?

A. Horseback riding is offered at Ivy Rock to anyone with the passion for horses.  You don't need to own your own horse or have to commit to a set lesson schedule.  Children and adults alike will benefit from the connection and confidence gained while riding.  We welcome all new riders and will help guide each student to reach any goal they have whether it is just riding once for the experience or learning to ride to eventually compete.  We are hear to help you navigate the horse world safely and without pressure.  Here is a link to for more information  https://ihearthudsonvalley.com/so-your-son-or-daughter-is-interested-in-riding-horses/ 


Q. What type of clothing and shoes should I wear to riding lessons?

A. Suitable attire includes long pants or jeans, a shirt that tucks in and hardsoled shoes with a low heel. Absolutely no tennis shoes, sandals, flip flops or clogs! Most hard soled shoes with a flat sole work fine for riding; they don't have to be boots. Oxfords and penny loafers are examples of shoes that are acceptable for riding when you are just getting started. If you don't already have boots, do NOT buy cowboy boots. Cowboy boots are difficult to learn to ride in because there is a very small space for the stirrup on the sole. I recommend Paddock boots, but if you must have cowboy boots, buy Ropers as they have the largest flat sole. Paddock boots have a flat level sole with a low heel which maximizes foot comfort while riding. They come in either a lace up or zip style and are affordable, comfortable, and can be worn with blue jeans for events other than riding. They can be worn with either Western or English style of riding. For purchasing information, see the next question. 


Q. Where can I purchase my own boots and riding helmet? 

A. We recommend trying out a lesson first before investing in riding gear.  The farm provides school helmets to use.  If you wish to have your own gear we would suggest Dover Saddlery, listed below, which offers Paddock Boots in Ladies sizes 5 1/2 - 11 and Children's sizes 10-13 & 1-5. Prices start at around $36.00 plus shipping. Riding helmets used at Ivy Rock Farm must be ASTM-SEI certified. Riding helmets come in a wide array of colors. Keep in mind that the lighter the color, the cooler the helmet will be in the summer! Schooling helmets come in extra small, small, medium and large. To ensure the proper fit, measure the rider's head at the widest part with a measuring tape. Do not give into the temptation to buy a helmet that the rider will "grow into", a proper fitting helmet is essential. Prices start at about $34.00 plus shipping.  doversaddlery.com or 1-800-989-1500 


Q. Should I purchase gloves for my lessons? 

A. While gloves are optional, we do recommend them. Gloves provide a better "grip" on the reins and help resist slipping while protecting the rider's hands. Riding gloves are tailored with specially designed fingers for flexibility and comfort. In cooler weather they provide additional warmth. Lined gloves are significantly warmer but much more expensive. Keep in mind it is impossible to personalize black gloves and remind your kids to keep track of them! Gloves start at about $15 and are available at any tack shop or online.


Q. What if I need to cancel my lesson?

A. Please provide a minimum of 24 hours notice should you need to cancel your lesson. If you know in advance that you will not be able to make your regularly scheduled lesson, please let us know so that we may give another student the opportunity to ride. If you do not show up and do not call, you will be charged for the lesson.

  

Q. What should I expect at my first lesson?

A. All new students must ride in a private lesson (even if experienced) to be evaluated when first coming to the farm. If you are suitatble to ride in semi-private or group lessons you will have that option to start or fit into any an existing group. We ask that all new students come a little early for their lesson to sign a waiver. Your instructor will introduce to your horse and show you where all his/her tack and brushes are. The tackroom is organized in such a way that the student is able to navigate through and pick out their horses tack. We are focused on education here and all riders will learn how to lead, groom, and tack their horse. Proper horsemanship is extremely important to us and you will not only learn how to ride but also learn about horses in general, how they react, how to handle them on the ground and mounted, etc. There is so much to learn and we give our riders a well rounded education.

    

Q. Are all the horses safe?

A.The Ivy Rock lesson horses are extremely safe. We have 15-20 horses to meet the specific needs of different riders. Our horses are accomplished in the school, as well as, out on the trails and at shows. Whether you are a beginner, novice or advanced rider our horses can take you where you want to be.


Q. When will I be able to canter/lope on my horse? 

A. Almost everyone wants to canter or lope their horse before they are truly ready. At Ivy Rock Farms, control of the horse is essential and a rider will not be allow to canter until they have satisfactorily demonstrated they can control the horse at a walk & trot. To ride at a canter, a rider must have developed sufficient leg strength for the task and must have adequate control of their body position at the walk and trot. To canter before these skills have been developed is unsafe and unkind to the horse. It is not our teaching style to push students into doing things that they are not ready for.  

Care of our horses - weight restriction

Riding is a sport and can be a strenuous activity.  Riders must be fit enough to mount unassisted from either the ground or mounting block.  Our horses care is extremely important to us.  Their backs are vulnerable to injuries and we take great precautions to make sure riders move with their horses movement and not harm their backs during lessons.  Height and weight restrictions may apply to availability.