1. Do I have to bring/provide my own horse?
We have school horses that are kept fit and in regular work for the purpose of teaching our students. However, if you have your own horse, there are many options from horse training to student lessons depending on his/her level of education.
2. Do you do lessons or just camps and parties?
We have a full lesson
program – Monday through Saturdays – year round or seasonal according to student preference.
Private lessons run for 1 hour from the given time eg 2.30 to 3.30. Please arrive 10 to 15 minutes early so that we know you are here. If the student chooses to remain on private lessons then eventually they will be granted the extra time to get their own horse ready – see item below regarding group lesson responsibilities.
4. You have given us a group lesson time of 4:30, what does that mean?
a. The lesson time is the time we expect the riding portion of a group lesson to start. However this will vary according to the experience of the students in the group. More experienced students will arrive up to 30 minutes ahead to get their horse ready. Less experienced students will arrive up to 30 minutes ahead and wait until supervision is available. If the student arrives at exactly the lesson time they will delay the lesson for the other students and/or miss out on their own riding time as they get their horse ready.
b. At the end of the lesson each student is expected to take responsibility for the care of his/her mount and equipment including the chores listed on the tack room door.
c. We accept responsibility for the students in group lessons for a 2 hour period. So for a 4.30 lesson we would expect the student to arrive at 4pm and be picked up at 6pm. Sometimes we are having so much fun that we run over. We appreciate advance warning if the student needs to be picked up early so we can give them time to complete their chores.
5. What clothes/equipment do we need/should provide?
a. Head protection. Everyone MUST wear a helmet approved for equestrian use whenever mounted on Kaizen Farm property. You may borrow one of ours for the initial private lessons or for camps. However we STRONGLY RECOMMEND you purchase your own correctly fitting helmet. Ask us about local stores or online sites or any fitting questions.
(Note we do not recommend bicycle helmets as they are tested for different impact zones).
b. Foot protection.
i. Riding. Leather boots with a smooth sole and 1 inch heel are required for riding. Again you may borrow ours until you have decided whether you are continuing.
ii. Barn. Closed toed shoes. Leather recommended. Sneakers allowed at your own risk. No sandals, water shoes, flip-flops etc. (At least you’ll never do it again once you’ve been stepped on!).
c. Leg protection. Long pants not shorts or capris. May be jeans, but they can restrict the movement necessary for English style riding and/or rub the skin. You will notice that most of the students wear riding breeches. (Men/boys need not be put off – there are special designs for them).
d. Arm protection. Sleeved shirts please – long or short. Falls do happen and the upper arm needs protected from road rash and sunburn.
e. Hands – warmth and/or extra grip. Gloves are optional. We like it when students use them to keep warm but try to get actual riding gloves that assist with correct grip.
6. My child already has experience, where do they fit in the program?
All new students start with 3 private lessons regardless of what they have done in the past. In this way we work one on one to address expectations, terminology, how we do things and where everything is. At the end of the introductory lessons we discuss where we believe the student best fits. We have students ranging in experience from just starting to many years, so there is a place for everyone who wants to join us.
7. My child loves Kaizen Farm and wants to come and help, can I drop them off early so they can work for you?
We do have many volunteers that have learned the safety levels to be able to help. However, we are a business, and like Starbucks, cannot let just anyone “behind the counter” no matter how much they “like” the product, without proper training. When a student has been with us for a while and demonstrated sufficient maturity and interest, we will advise them of volunteer opportunities.
8. When will my child be on a big horse rather than a pony?
Suitability is the word to consider here. When your teenager first obtains their driver’s license, what vehicle will you provide? A Ferrari, or a Honda Civic? Several factors come into play here – including temperament and physical abilities of both student and horse/pony. Many students arrive telling us about the “real” horses they have ridden (Quarter Horse walking nose to tail in a dude string? or the one they fell off at the neighbor’s house and are now scared?) and quickly discover the joys of being assigned a mount with whom they feel safe, both on the ground and in the saddle. The horses that the students ride change as their comfort zone, experience and physical size changes.
9. My friend is here and I was wondering if they could join our lesson?
Although it’s very exciting to share your passion with your friends, they have not been through our program. They would be a distraction for the instructor and other students who are expecting to continue with the normal lesson plan. We would be delighted to schedule a private lesson for visiting friends/family or a semi-private if you would like to ride with them.
10. My friend/sibling is here and I was wondering if they could help in the barn?
Sorry but no. Remember our number one rule is safety. The students have paid to be in a program that teaches them to be as safe as possible around the horses. The staff of Kaizen Farm cannot accept responsibility for visiting friends or family. We would be delighted to schedule a lesson for friends/family who would like to learn about our barn procedures.
11. If it rains/snows – do we reschedule, get a rain check or lose out on our lesson?
Rain, wind and/or snow do not necessarily stop us from riding since we have a covered arena.
The only times we do not have lessons on the horses, is if the arenas are deemed unsafe eg ice, flooded (we keep working on drainage) or excessive wind.
Instructors and horses tend not to like hailstorms and either may run for the barn 🙂
If you are on our monthly group program, we will provide four lessons per month. If the conditions are unsafe for riding, we hold un-mounted lessons ie not on horse-back. We cover many of the theoretical topics that often there is not enough time for, such as:
how-to’s of riding without the complication of the horse
discussing equipment – care and use,·
chance for newer students to practice grooming and tacking,
doing exercises to help the human body be better prepared,
and so on.
Some students and/or parents are resistant to this idea but you will find our more advanced students are generally those who embraced the full program.
So the answer is no – we do not reschedule, we do not offer refunds and it is completely up to you as to whether you choose to attend.
12. We are on the monthly contract for the discounted lesson program, and wanted to know if we can deduct the lessons we miss?
No, we cannot deduct for missed lessons. Think of our lesson program like a gym membership with four opportunities to ride each month. However, we offer a make-up class once a calendar month for those who were sick or had another engagement they couldn’t miss. If weekly attendance is too difficult, we offer private lessons that can be tailored to individual schedules or you may use the drop-in group rate and take whatever horse or pony is available.
13. When can I/my child canter and jump?
When you/they have established a balanced position that will allow horse and rider to attempt it without physical or emotional damage to either. Our progressive program will get them there. Just come to our shows and see the high standard of riding.
14. What is your policy on spectators?
We are very happy to have parents, grandparents, friends, siblings watch from outside the arena or teaching area within the barn. You may also watch from The Loft. However please be respectful and do not coach. If you have any concerns or questions, please approach the instructor after the lesson. Well meaning coaching from the side can confuse or create unnecessary pressure.
15. Do you ride over the winter?
Yes, we offer a year round program and some of our favorite rides are in the snow covered pastures. However, it is an outdoor winter sport and students must dress and be appropriately equipped.
- you are not able to invest in the extra clothing/equipment;
- your student really does not do well in cold weather;
- your student is not willing to dress appropriately;
- or the driver does not like venturing out in the winter:
we offer the chance to take some time off. See or ask about the contract details.
16. We are going to be late or can’t get there this week, how do we let you know?
If you can give us 24 hours notice, an email is the easiest way. If it is the day of the lesson please either call or text your instructor’s cell phone. Numbers and call/text preferences will be provided once you are in the program. If you let us know you will be late, we can get the horse ready. If you don’t turn up and someone got your horse ready and then has to put it away again, you can imagine how irritating that is 🙁