Horseback Riding Lessons
Valley Ridge Farm, Inc – Morgantown, WV
Valley Ridge Farm runs a semester based lesson program. Riding is an endeavor that requires consistent practice to grow and improve, which is why we have a minimum requirement of one lesson per week. Students will ride in regularly scheduled weekly lessons, and can track their achievements as they progress through our riding levels curriculum. One, two, and three lesson per week plans are available. It is possible to join the lesson program at any time throughout the semester. For students welcomed into the lesson program after the semester has started, your tuition will be prorated. Along with lessons, the Future Equestrian Club (ages 7-11) and Horsemanship Classes (teens and adults) are offered throughout the semester at no charge exclusively for our riders to educate them on unmounted skills!
-Small, congenial groups matched according to age & experience
-Well-trained horses & ponies of all sizes
-Close supervision on the ground and on the horse by trained professionals
In addition to being an exciting and challenging sport, the process of engaging in equine sports offers a relaxing, social environment for both adults and children — a perfect escape from everyday tension and stress. Although competition is available in the program, it is not necessary to compete in order to enjoy riding. The process of developing awareness and control of the body and its relationship to the horse makes the learning process itself an inherently rewarding experience.
Tuition payments are paid on a monthly basis and are automatically charged on the 15th of the month to a credit card kept on file.
Time off is scheduled into the semester for holidays, breaks and extra activities. There will be no regular lessons during these times. Special events, shows, and clinics may be added throughout the semester, and will be posted on our website and our Facebook page, Valley Ridge Farm- Clients Only.
Rainbow Riders (Youth ages 4-7)
Our Rainbow Riders program is specially designed for our youngest horse lovers. Our riders between the ages of 4 and 7 begin in this program so that they can learn the fundamentals of riding in order to be able to safely ride in a group. Rainbow Riders will begin in private lessons, which will last 25-30 minutes. They will learn basic horse safety, balance and proper riding position to progress towards independently and effectively steering and controlling their horse at a walk and trot around the arena and over ground poles. Once their instructor feels that they are ready to safely ride in a small group lesson, they will be moved into our regular group lesson program.
Levels Based Lesson Program (Youth ages 8-17)
Riders ages 8 and up will be in lessons based on our Lesson Level criteria. Our comprehensive curriculum covers not only riding skills, but horsemanship skills, equine knowledge, and care. Our Future Equestrian Club and Horsemanship Skills Classes will focus on the unmounted skills that are incredibly beneficial to all riders!
A curriculum levels book is kept for every student so that they can see where they started, where they are, and where they’re heading.
Students are presented with certificates or pins at the end of semester party when their instructor feels that they have mastered all of the skills on their current level. We encourage all of our students to display their pins on their gear so that we can all celebrate each other’s accomplishments!
SCHEDULE AN ASSESSMENT OR INITIAL LESSON
To schedule an appointment for lessons, please call Valley Ridge Farm, Inc at: 304-864-2267 or email us at: [email protected]
A Teaching Philosophy Based On Strong Fundamentals, Support & Positivity
The Valley Ridge Farm teaching philosophy emphasizes a reliance on teaching the fundamentals of classical equitation to a high degree of competency. This includes balance, calmness, and coordination. In other words, learning correctly from the very beginning. We pride ourselves on training skilled, independent riders, not instant riders. Our instructors take the time to explain to each rider not only what to do, but the reasoning behind why they are asked to do it. At Valley Ridge Farm, we aim to teach students so that they can learn to communicate clearly through their aids so that their horse will respond correctly. We firmly believe that it is important that our riders learn in a supportive and positive atmosphere, and we strive to continuously provide constructive suggestions on how to correct the negative.
Our Riding Style: Hunt Seat/English Balance Seat Equitation
The particular style of riding taught at our facility is known as Hunt Seat/ English Balance Seat Equitation. It was developed from over three decades of teaching experience and relies on a practical workman-like approach to the horse and riding, both mentally and physically. It emphasizes the fundamentals of balance and relaxation, and aims to produce correct habits from the start. From the fundamentals of classically correct flatwork to Hunter, Equitation, and Show Jumping, our students receive a broad skill base with a firm foundation.
Riding Can Be Taught, But Never Mastered
Riding is a skill that can be taught, but never completely mastered, and as such, the education of any rider is continually evolving. We encourage the continuation of all of our students’ educations through the avenues of competition, clinics with nationally recognized professionals, and in-house training programs.
Horse Riding May Improve Your Child’s Intelligence
Parents interested in enhancing a child’s intelligence may want to consider avenues beyond textbooks and extracurricular activities and take heed to new information coming to us from the Tokyo University of Agriculture. Japanese researchers have recently found scientific evidence to support the frequently observed phenomenon of the connection between horse riding and cognitive ability and intelligence. The study asked children to complete a battery of mathematical tests and responsive questions both before and after riding horses. The scientists discovered that riding horses does indeed significantly improve a child’s overall ability to learn and perform a wide range of behavioral tasks. In addition, the study, which was published in Frontiers in Public Health, clearly indicated that riding horses can result in improved memory and a noted enhancement of skills related to solving abstract problems.
The scientists believe that the children benefit from the vibrations created by movements transferred from the horse’s body to the body of the child. These movements appear to cause the sympathetic nervous system, which automatically controls various homeostasis functions, as well as the “fight or flight” response, to self-activate. “One important characteristic of horse steps is that they produce three-dimensional accelerations,” says the study’s author, Professor Mitsuaki Ohta, “the movement of the horse’s pelvis may provide motor and sensory inputs to the human body.” The results were only observed in direct relation to horse riding and could not be replicated with other activities, such as running and cycling, which produces similar vibrations/movements. What are you waiting for? Mount up!
SAFETY, NON-ABUSE OF THE HORSE, AND ENJOYMENT
OF THE RIDER ARE OUR PRIMARY CONCERNS.
Riding differs from other sports in that someone else is involved – the horse. We believe that people take up riding because they like horses. We believe that they take up riding at Valley Ridge Farm, Inc because, while they are riding for pleasure, they want to learn to ride well. If you like horses, you should take up riding only if you are willing to spend time learning to ride well. We are here to try to make the learning experience as enjoyable as we can for everyone: you, your horse, and your instructor. We hope you will be with us for a long time.