Because we can teach beginning to advanced students, many of our students stay with us for many years. In addition to Master Classes, we currently teach:
Lessons vary depending on the students' age and skill level. Each student has their own interests and we cater to their goals, which range from pleasure riding to competition.
We focus on teaching people to become a part of the horse's world; to understand how they work, think and interact with both humans and other horses. You will learn grooming, tacking and untacking, horse first aid, nutrition, hoof care and more about keeping a horse. We also link horse history, including breed history and how the use of horses has evolved over time into our lessons.
We start most of our students bareback, whether they've ridden before or not. Our experience in the St. Louis area has been that many students coming from other riding instruction have minimal focus on their riding seat and position. The riding seat and position (either English or Western) is what keeps a rider safe on a horse and it is therefore a critical aspect of learning. Bareback riding eliminates dependence on the stirrups and allows a rider to actually feel how the horse moves. Bareback riding also helps them to better develop balance and the right muscles for riding. The horses can also feel the rider better when bareback, making it easier for them to prevent falls.
Once the seat corrections have been made and/or the beginning student can canter bareback, the student earns their saddle privileges. It is a right of passage on our farm that everyone gets excited about! Then, throughout the next several years of riding lessons, we go back and forth between using a saddle and riding bareback. Our instructors ride bareback in their own training, too.
We partner with the lessons horses in teaching. The horse and instructor are in constant communication throughout each lesson taught. You will find we are unique instructors in that we will walk or run alongside the horse as needed by our students. As students' balance and control improves, we back away to the center of the arena, giving the student full control of the horse.
Our lesson horses know the "syllabus" very well and actively help to teach the student with us. As new lessons horses join our team, they also learn the lessons to be able to engage the student and provide an environment that sets the student up for success.
Our horses and instructors are focused on providing as safe and environment as possible for learning. Horses and instructors alike, work to help prevent falls, in order to help keep the riding experience positive for all involved, even though falls do happen. We also teach students to fall safely, using mats.
HHIA is a low-profit/no-profit business. It allows us to keep lesson costs low, but they are fixed and we do not award refunds. The horses at HHIA depend on lesson tuition for feed and care.
Students may choose whether to ride 2 or 4 times each month. Payment for the month is due on the first of each month.
We accept students beginning on their 3rd birthday. Our students are about half children and half adults.
Saint Louis weather is quite unpredictable. Cancellations due to weather are sent out at least 2 hours in advance (longer if we can be sure the weather won't allow for riding).
Cancelled lessons are rescheduled rather than refunded so as to keep our horses fed and cared for.
Last minute cancellations or no-shows by clients are forfeited.