I charge $100 per a-la-carte lesson.
A fair price for a horseback riding lesson depends upon where you live. It has much to do with the cost of boarding horses in your area. For example, horse boarding in Woodside can cost $1500 a month which includes board, feed, turnout, and grooming.
This means if a horse was ridden every day for lessons and was not allowed a day off, $50 of the 1 lesson fee would go to board. The owner of the horse also needs to pay a shoeing/ farrier bill every 6-8 weeks, which can cost between $100- $350/set of 4. (Typically around $150- $250 but it depends upon where you live). The owner will also need to pay routine and non-routine veterinarian bills. Routine vet bills include; annual vaccinations, teath floating, and any joint injections that the horse needs due to osteoarthritic changes in the aging performance horse.
The owner also needs to factor in the cost of equipment such as a saddle and bridle. A high quality, brand new saddle, is around $6500 plus tax. The owner also needs to think about the purchase price of the horse. Also, the cost of providing riding boots, gloves, and helmits of different sizes to her students. The business owner also needs to pay commercial liability insurance for herself and for any employees, workmans comp, and employee taxes.
Horses are so expensive to maintain that most of the lesson fee will actually just go to the care and maintenance of the horse. Your riding instructor isn’t getting rich teaching you your lesson once a week. Please be courteous and kind to your riding instructor. We work very hard and when you run all of the numbers we are not making very much money.
We are riding instructors because we love the horses and we put up with the “naughty students.” Naughty students are the students who show up late, pay us late, give us late notice that they will be missing their lesson and expect a full-refund. My favorite “student” is the student who give us no notice they are going on vacation and will not be riding with us the next month. This notice usually happens in-person during students last lesson at the end of the month. It also happens via text message before tuition is due for the month the student will take his or her riding sabbatical. Guess what [insert students name here], while you enjoy your vacation and your horse free time, our bills continue. Our bills continue and they add up to a staggering dollar amount. I wish that all students would realize where their riding instructors are coming from.
Please be respectful of your riding instructor and her time, her horses, and her equipment. If she’s is like me, she has a B.S. in Microbiology and gave up a potentially lucrative job at Google to work 19 hour days outside, smell bad, and be poor. Please give 30 day notice when making any big changes to your riding lesson schedule, especially if you are taking a short “break” from riding. And lastly don’t forget to thank your riding instructor. She puts up with a lot!
The Author, Nessa Cossentine owns:
Cypress Ridge Equestrian
located in Woodside in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Now accepting new students!