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New students will learn the basics of grooming, tacking up, and riding a horse.  They, will also learn where saddles, bridles, and halters are kept, how to clean tack, and basic information about how a riding stable works.


Before the Lesson:

What to wear:

Students should wear long pants and shoes or boots with heels.  Riders must have helmets.


Liability Release

Customers should go to our website and download and sign a Release of Liability form to bring with them on the first lesson.  Blank forms are also available in the office in the wooden file cabinet.



The fee is given on our website for the two Introductory lessons.  Customers can pay by Venmo, with cash, or check payable to Hidden Fox Farm.  


Facility Tour

Customers should get a brief tour of the facility, highlighting the board, stall chart, restrooms, school tack room, office, tack cleaning station, and where the halters are located.


HFF Rules and Regulations

Students should receive a copy of the HFF Rules and Regulations for students and their parents.


Stable Management:  First  Lesson


During the first lesson, demonstrate the skills and have the student repeat them as appropriate.


Gathering Tack and Supplies

Riders should get their equipment out before they get their horse.   Get the tack out of the school tack room first:  saddle, bridle, martingale, if needed, and grooming kit.  The grooming kit should include a minimum of a curry comb or curry mitt, stiff brush, soft brush, mane and tail brush or comb, and hoof pick.  Explain the tack and the grooming tools, and describe how they are used.


Haltering and Leading

Pick up the appropriate halter for whichever horse will be used in the lesson. Demonstrate how to correctly open the gate. Show how to properly halter the horse.


Demonstrate the correct way to lead the horse and also ensure to explain how to correctly hold the lead rope (as in not coiled around the hand).  Leave gate open to the inside of the corral.  



Show how to enter the crossties with the horse, clip the chains onto the halter, and remove the lead rope, setting it down near the brushes.



Demonstrate how to use the currycomb or curry mitt, using a circular motion to remove the dirt. Next show the use of the stiff brush, utilizing a flicking motion, to remove the dirt loosened by the currycomb.  Then show how to use the soft brush on the face.


Demonstrate how to brush the mane, starting at the ends of the hair and working toward the roots so as to not pull out the hair.  Discuss how this also applies to brushing the tail and demonstrate where to safely stand.  Do not brush the tail at this time.


Show how to correctly hold the hoof pick and how to clean out the hooves.  Demonstrate where the student should place her feet to ensure they are not under the horse’s hooves.


While grooming, talk about feeling for new lumps and bumps, looking for cuts and wounds, and how important this is in relation to the horse’s health.   Briefly talk about the use of fly spray.


Tacking up

Demonstrate how to correctly place the saddle pads on the horse’s back, being sure to make note of sliding the pad into place by going in the direction of the hair. Demonstrate how to gently place a saddle on the horse’s back and how to pull the pad into the gullet of the saddle so it doesn't press down on the horse’s withers.  Demonstrate how to attach and gently tighten the girth, highlighting the importance of making it tighter in small increments to ensure the horse’s comfort.


Demonstrate how to bridle the horse.  Show how to first remove the halter and leave it on the horse’s neck, the correct way to hold the bridle, get the bit in the horse’s mouth, and how to buckle the cavesson and throatlatch, and the proper adjustment and fit of the bridle.



Ensure the student has a properly fitting helmet.

Demonstrate how to properly lead the horse with the reins over the horse’s head, and not on the neck.

Demonstrate how to check the stirrup length prior to mounting.  Show the student how to mount using the mounting block and also from the ground.

Show the students how to correctly pick up and hold the reins.

Discuss correct position:  heels down, eyes up, shoulders back, back flat, arms at the sides, and ear/shoulder/hip/heel alignment.

Discuss how to ask the horse to go, stop, and turn.

Discuss how to dismount safely.  Demonstrate to the student how to run up the stirrups.


Lead the horse back to the crossties.  Demonstrate how to remove the bridle with the halter around the horse’s neck.


Show how to correctly undo the girth, unbuckle it from the saddle, and remove the saddle.


Groom the horse again, ensuring the saddle marks are removed.  Check the horse’s feet.


Lead the horse back to the corral.  Turn the horse to face the gate prior to removing the halter.  Close and latch the gate, and ensure the chain is clipped into place on the gate latch.  Put the halter away in the correct place.


Tack Cleaning

Take the saddle, girth, and bridle to the tack cleaning station.  First wipe the tack with a damp sponge, then use saddle soap to condition the saddle.  Demonstrate the correct way to wrap the bridle.  Put the tack and grooming kit away in the appropriate place.


Schedule 2nd Lesson

Once the lesson has been completed, recap what was learned, and schedule the next lesson.



Stable management:  Second Lesson


Watch as the student does as many of the above-listed items as possible by themselves.  Have the student spend more time in the saddle, if possible, using the longe line if necessary.


Discuss Further Lessons

Once the lesson has been completed, recap what was learned, and discuss with the student/ parent what they would like to do next.  Explain their lesson options - private, group, packages - and pricing.  When scheduling lessons, request that the student arrives at least 30 minutes early to prepare the horse before the lesson.

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