Horseback Riding Lessons at Valley Ridge Farm
All Ages & Skill Levels From Child to Adult
Valley Ridge Farm accommodates riders of all ages and skill levels. Group lessons are available in small class sizes ranging from two to six students. If you prefer, private lessons are available, as well. Students are grouped as closely as possible according to age and skill level. Our instructors assist the youngest children with becoming comfortable around horses and learning the fundamentals of horsemanship according to their level of comfort. Older children are able to learn riding basics and increasing levels of horsemanship and care. Adults who have never had the pleasure to try horseback riding can choose to take lessons with a group or on an individual basis.
-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.
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.
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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 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.