How Much Are Horse Riding Lessons? (Average Cost & Factors)

After teaching riding lessons for over ten years, I’ve learned that the price varies greatly depending on a few different factors.

Learning to ride is amazing but the cost is expensive, I’ve taken and taught lessons of every type so I’ve created this guide to answer all of your questions.

Find out whether private or group lessons are the best option for you, and if riding lessons are worth it. 

How Much Do Horseback Riding Lessons Cost?

As I mentioned before, the price of horseback riding lessons varies.

Location, discipline, and the type of lessons, such as group or private, play a big part in finding options within your budget.

Let’s take a look at each of the areas I just mentioned to see how they influence how much horse riding lessons cost. Read on to find out.

Factor 1. What Kind Of Riding Lessons Do You Want To Take? 

man practicing horseback riding

First, you need to decide what kind of riding lessons you are looking for. There are many different types of horse riding disciplines, and now is the time to determine what kind of long-term riding goals you have. 

Are you looking for something casual and relaxing? Finding a barn that offers trail riding may be the best choice for you.

You will be able to enjoy the scenery, chat with others, and have plenty of time to get comfortable in the saddle at your own pace.

However, there is generally less instruction during trail rides and you will receive less “hands-on” training. If you want to progress in your lessons, look for more formal riding instruction to learn horseback riding skills.  

Are you looking for something a little more exciting? Equestrian centers offer lessons in the various English and Western disciplines. 

Do you picture yourself learning to jump one day? Or does the grace of competing in the dressage arena appeal to you? Start with English riding lessons, which teach you the basics of both of these riding styles. 

 English horse riding is very popular. Because of this, you can find many varieties and options for lessons. Many barns offer English lessons to all age groups, and it is fairly easy to find a barn and price that will match your budget.  

Western riding instructors will help you lay the foundation for learning to barrel race, rope, cut cattle, and much more. Barns that offer western riding to the general public are a little less common but are still a great option. 

Make sure to check our review of the best Western style riding boots.

Now that you know some of the options you’ll come across, let’s see if age affects the price of horseback riding lessons.

Factor 2. Riding Lessons For Children Cost Less Than For Adults 

Most barns offer lessons for children. Some even let children as young as four years old start riding with introductory lessons!

young boy riding a horse

Introductory lessons are ideal for younger children, as they are often shorter and cheaper than beginner adult riding lessons.

Once your child advances through a lesson program the price will go up and is often the same as for adults. However, some barns offer special packages for riding families, which gives you some savings.

Remember to let the barn you are booking with know the age and size of your child. This will affect which instructor and type of lesson horse they are assigned.

In fact, I find that shorter lessons for children are much better physically and mentally. You can increase the length as they get more serious about horse riding.

There are also lots of fun options specifically for kids like Pony Club, different riding clubs, and summer camps to keep your young horse enthusiast busy. Often the cost of these activities is a cheaper way to learn great horsemanship than higher-end barns or options for adults.

Some barns will let teenagers assist with chores and help the instructors in exchange for discounts on lessons. Though this is increasingly hard to come by due to insurance rules and costs.

ALSO READ: Summer Horse Riding Outfits

Factor 3. What Location Are You Taking Lessons At?

man riding a black horse

Another major factor affecting the cost of horse riding lessons is the location of where you want to ride. 

If you live in a city, you will be looking at a higher price for learning to ride. The cost of keeping horses in a populated area is much higher than keeping one in the country.

That means that the equestrian centers will need to charge more to stay in business. 

If you live in a rural area, lessons are more difficult to find. However, with the lower cost of keeping horses in the country, the cost of riding lessons is more affordable. 

The rate of insurance can also vary depending on the location, which will factor into the rate of lessons. 

To illustrate this, take a look at these prices at two different equestrian centers in the US. the Jamacia Bay Riding Academy in Brooklyn, New York charges $110 for a 50-minute private lesson. [1] 

For the same type of lesson in Nebraska, Ponca Hills Farm charges $60 per private 1-hour lesson and $45 for a group lesson. [2]

Once you know what options are available where you live, what can you expect if you want to take more advanced riding lessons?

Factor 4. Would You Like to Improve Your Skills With a High-Level Trainer?

kid riding a horse with a trainer

While your first riding instructor is very important for giving you a solid foundation, as your riding skills progress, you often outgrow this trainer.

If like me, you develop big riding goals, it will come time to look at a high-level trainer. This is a trainer that will take you to the next level. They usually only take on advanced students looking to specialize in specific disciplines.

Moving up to this level of horse riding training means that lessons become more expensive, often considerably more! You can expect to pay upwards of $80 per lesson and don’t be surprised if the price is $100 or more!

Just like any sport, the more specialized and upper lever the trainer, the higher the cost! When you get to this level, lessons are almost exclusively private, which affects the price.

Do Prices Vary For Private Lessons? 

The cost for a one-hour private lesson can vary greatly depending on the riding instructor and the location of the equestrian center. Private lessons are the ideal way to progress quickly with your riding.

One-on-one instruction will help riders receive personalized help to reach their riding goals. Many barns offer one-hour private lessons.

However, if you are just starting, I recommend a 30-minute private lesson.

I’ve had a number of students just beginning that think they can handle 1-hour as they are fit from other activities only to realize after 20-minutes that they don’t have the right type of fitness for horse riding!

These riders never make it through an hour and quickly realize horse riding is a lot harder than it looks!

Many riders feel that their attention span cannot be maintained for that long, so many barns offer both 1-hour and 30-45 minute private lessons. These shorter lessons are an excellent option for riders with a limited budget as they cost less. 

Private lessons are usually not your only option. Most equestrian centers will offer semi-private or group lessons as well. These are cheaper and often more fun for children who have the skill levels suitable to join a group!

What’s An Average Cost Of Horseback Riding Lessons?  

Now that I’ve covered the reasons for such a wide range of pricing, how much can you expect to pay for riding lessons?

trainer and 2 kids riding horses

On average, horseback riding lessons cost between $40-$100. Of course, if you’re lucky, it is possible to find prices below $40, especially if you live in a rural, lower cost of living region.

Private lessons always cost more than other options.

How Much Do Private Horse Riding Lessons Cost?

Private lessons are the most expensive option. This is because the horse riding instructor can only work with, and get paid for, one person at a time. It is also more hands-on and exclusive for both the rider and instructor.

Private lessons usually range between $45-100 for one hour.  

Semi-private horseback riding lessons are a cheaper option, as the instructor can teach 2-3 riders at the same time. Riders will still enjoy the attention of their instructor in a smaller group, but many enjoy having others to ride with as well.  

Semi-private lessons range between $45-80. 

The most cost-effective option for horseback riding lessons is taking a group lesson. Usually ranging between 3-8 riders, group lessons are great for those who want to make friends and improve their riding, while enjoying a more relaxed lesson option.

Riders may not be able to progress as quickly as they would with one-on-one instruction, but they can still receive quality attention from their instructor and learn to ride in an environment with less pressure. 

Group lessons can cost between $30-70.

FAQs 

Are Horse Riding Lessons Worth it?

Horse riding lessons are extremely worth it. Nothing compares to learning how to correctly work with your horse. Lessons are the best way to ride safely and effectively.
Depending on your riding goals, you can find a program of lessons that fit the best with your lifestyle. 

How Many Lessons Does it Take to Ride a Horse?

It takes many lessons to ride a horse and hundreds to become very proficient! Some people think that they can effectively ride after just one time on a horse. To learn how to safely ride, you need patience and dedicate much time and effort to learning.
Most instructors wait months and make sure their student is extremely comfortable at the walk and trot before they are allowed to canter. It takes even longer to learn how to jump.

Is Horse Riding Hard To Learn?

lady riding a gaited horse

Horse riding is very hard to learn! It takes a surprising amount of strength and stamina. You will be sore the first few times you ride, and when your trainer introduces something new into your lessons. Many call their riding lessons their workout for the week!

Conclusion

Whatever effort you put into your lessons is how much reward you will receive from them. Work on being patient, listening to your trainer, and having fun. Then you will quickly be on your way to becoming an expert rider!

So, how much are horse riding lessons? It depends, as I hope I’ve helped you understand. The best part about starting horseback riding lessons is that it is completely customizable to your budget and riding goals. 

It can be overwhelming to start lessons, but once you find the best barn and instructor for you, learning to ride a horse can be an extremely rewarding process. 

family having horseback riding lessons together

References

  • 1. Horseback riding NY: Brooklyn: Jamaica bay riding academy. mysite. (n.d.). Retrieved March 7, 2022, from https://www.horsebackride.com/
  •  2. Omaha | Riding Lessons | Training | Ponca Hills Farm mysite. (n.d.). Retrieved March 7, 2022, from https://poncahillsfarm.com/lessons
Alexa Bowring
Alexa Bowring

Alexa has been working with horses for over 10 years. She began helping in barns as a teenager in exchange for riding lessons, and had never stopped! Alexa has worked as an English and show jumping riding instructor, a working student with an eventing trainer, a trail guide, and a private barn manager.


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