As any horse hobbyist will tell you, great outdoor adventures and horseback riding are synonymous! DAR’s Linda Harrod offers some great tips to prospective horse enthusiasts that start with riding lessons from a licensed stable and licensed instructor. Linda recommends that you first watch a lesson and make the following observations:
- Are students required to wear helmets? (All students should wear a properly fitting riding helmet.)
- Inquire about the horses used in the lesson program. Are they experienced, good natured horses? Do they appear to be alert and comfortable in their surroundings?
- Do the students appear comfortable with what they’re being asked to do?
- Is the riding area safe and without obstacles that might injure the horse or rider?
- Is the tack (bridle and saddle) that is on the horse clean and in good repair?
You might also ask your friends for references to riding stables, and find out if students can swap barn labor (such as stall cleaning) for lesson time if finances are a constraint.
Go and explore on horseback any one of the forty-one state parks across the Commonwealth that feature horseback riding trails.