Frequently Asked Questions…… click on the question to go to the answer.
Of course, this is probably the most often asked question. I have provided an explanation of the Gale’s lesson program, including price information about halfway down the page here: “Our Lesson Program”
We used to say that the youngest age for children to start riding is the age of 6, but we’ve learned in our many years of teaching is that “age” alone is not enough information to determine if a child is ready to start taking riding lessons. Some 6 years olds are not ready…. Even some older children are not ready. And, then there are younger children that are very horse-crazy and can be focused enough to start taking riding lessons. Because of this, all children, under the age of 16, with their parent(s) may be asked to come to a “meet & greet” at the stable, for us to determine if the child has the mind-set, the attention span and physical ability to qualify for starting riding lessons at Gale’s. Please email or contact the stable for setting up the meet & greet.
We don’t have a maximum age limit for riding. You should be in good physical health and you may want to be able to carry a heavy object, such as a saddle (20 to 30 pounds) and be able to lift it up onto a horse’s back.
My best answer to this question is to ask you to give me a call….let’s talk and see what I can come up with for you.
Thank you considering my riding stable for a visit for your children. If you would like to sign up your children for a riding lesson, I may have an opening for you to do that.
If you don’t want a riding lesson, and would only like to have your children have some contact with horses, you may want to contact Farmland Animal Park which is located in Chemung, NY.
I do not take inexperienced “non-client” riders out on “public trail rides”. I do take my riding students out on trail rides as part of their lesson program. On occasion, I will be contacted by visitors to our area, that prove to me that they are advanced riders, so I have escorted these type of riders out on trail rides. If you meet that criteria, give me a phone call. There is a stable in Burdett, NY, only about 30 minutes from here, that specializes in public trail rides. That stable is Painted Bar Stables.
When you visit the stable, you will have to execute our “liability release” (click to go to the document). Everyone, including non-riding guests have to read and sign the liability release.
We also have a handout about some of the important “need to know” (click to go to the document) items for visiting the stable and starting riding lessons.
Those people who want to read about how we do things at Gale’s, can read our “Operations & Procedures Manual” (click to go to the document). All students should read the sections about riding.
At your first lesson, as a beginner rider, after we fit you with a riding helmet, you will be introduced to the safety rules for being around horses. You will learn how to groom a horse, how to tack up the horse, how to assure that your tack is fitted properly (especially the girth/cinch), how to mount the horse, and how to ask the horse to walk, stop and to do simple turns. Then after the riding part of the lesson, we return to the stable to learn how to take the equipment off of the horse, clean up and return the horse to the stall. We finish up the lesson by learning how to clean up the equipment and put everything away.
It is our experience that most students, upon completion of four introductory lessons at our stable, have the skills to be considered eligible to move up to a group lesson. Some of the skills required, but not limited to, are being able to tack up a horse by yourself (or to be able to help your child to do so), tightening the girth, setting your stirrup lengths, and mount up and be able to ride and steer the horse, in control, at a trot in our indoor arena. You will be evaluated with safety in mind to verify that you can do these skills, maybe with a little help, and if all is good, we will invite you to join one of our group lessons. The advantage of the group lessons is the social aspect of horse back riding, in addition, everyone has something to learn from every horse. You can learn something by what another student may experience during the lesson. The biggest advantage is the longer riding time of the group lesson. Group lessons are also cheaper than ongoing private lessons.
If you are not ready yet for the group lessons, private lessons can continue for you with the established private lesson fee.
Students should dress for the weather. In hot weather, it is tempting to wear “beach wear” type of clothing, but this is inappropriate in our horse barn. T-shirts and other “well covering” shirt apparel is the dress code (meaning that you limit the amount of bare skin to be seen). Absolutely NO FLIP FLOPS OR SANDALS are allowed in our barn or anywhere around our horses. Shoes appropriate for being around animals (and can be worn through the disinfectant foot pad) should be worn by all. Although, in warm weather, workers and guests can wear shorts, our riders must still wear long slacks when riding. If you don’t have tall boots or halfchaps, it is recommended that tall heavy socks are worn to protect the inside of your legs, even under your long slacks.
In cold weather, layers of clothing are best, so you can shed a few layers when you warm up during your rides. For starting out with riding lessons, new students should wear jeans or other sturdy long pants, high socks, and a sturdy shoe with a small heel. Fingered gloves are also recommended to protect hand and improve grip on the reins.
Please do not wear dangling jewelry such as bracelets and earrings. Please pull long hair back into low pony tail or braid. Do not wear any jewelry or piercings that could get caught on horse hair.
Please….do not wear loose clothing that could catch on the equipment and cause and injury. Long hair needs to be secured back and out of the way of the helmet straps. I wear my long hair in a french braid to keep it flat and comfortable underneath my helmet.
It is wise to wear undergarments that will “protect” as well as “limit the bounce” of sensitive areas. Sport bras and other such “support” items may be considered for your comfort. Gentlemen riders have been known to wear biker shorts under their jeans.
I teach year round. Because we have an indoor arena, I teach right through the hot summer months and the cold winter months. I rarely cancel lessons due to weather, but if it gets simply unbearably cold, I may cancel lessons for the littlest children.
During the school year, we have lessons six days a week, taking Fridays off from teaching. Because the majority of my students are either in school or working during the week, most of my teaching is done from 3 PM through to 8 PM, Monday through Thursday, and then all day Saturday and Sundays (until about 5 PM). I currently have a full schedule from 5:00 on through 8PM Monday through Thursdays. New students are started on the weekends. Of course, homeschooled children are welcomed for lessons during the daytimes, Monday through Friday by appointment.
Yes…. I support those clients that like to compete. Although, “competition” is not a main objective of Gale’s. I, myself, have set some goals through the years, and have accomplished them at the horse shows. I encourage everyone to have their own goals, but they don’t have to compete. I often compare my philosophy with that of people in other sports, such as “golf”. There are many people that enjoy the sport as a social event, but they don’t desire to enter the professional circuit and play at the PGA’s.
There are many activities to do with horses, here at Gale’s and in the local area, that do not require competition.
So, if you want to go to horse events to compete, I can support and help you to do so. I have experience with horse shows from the local level to the national levels of various disciplines of horse activities.
There are a few guidelines for how much weight a horse can carry. A rule of thumb is that the horse should not carry more than 20% of his own weight. This means that a 1,000 pound horse, should be able to carry 200 pounds weight, but we also have to take into account the weight of the saddle, and the activity that you are learning to do. A horse that is just walking on flat ground, may be able to support more than the recommended 20% guideline. A horse that is galloping over hill and dale on a fox hunt, may need to carry less than the “rule of thumb” weight. So…the real answer to this question is “it depends”.
No. There are many lesson horses here at Gale’s, at various levels of riding skills.
I always tell people that they don’t need to buy anything, nor should they, until they really know that the student is going to be serious about riding and going to continue riding. The first thing that you will want to purchase is a riding helmet. We have loaners for beginner riders, but everyone must own their own helmet before they learn the advanced skills of riding, such as “cantering” or “loping”.
Just as with many other sports, there is clothing and footwear that make the sport easier to perform. Riding boots, riding breeches or riding jeans are made to provide the rider’s legs with support and protection. Serious riders will want to get proper riding attire. I can compare it, again, to golf. I could go play golf in a pair of sneakers, but I will do better if I actually wear golf shoes, to get the traction for a great swing to hit the ball. I always see an improvement in the rider’s ability to “sit in the saddle”, on a moving horse, when they are wearing proper riding attire.
Most people take one lesson per week to be recreational riders. Those who want to be more serious about riding (to improve skills or get competitive), will take two lessons per week, and do a hack session too for practice.
All lessons are done by appointment with me, usually scheduled at least a week in advance. “Private” lesson spots open up as students advance into the group lessons. To be in a group lesson, a rider must be self-sufficient to groom and tack the horse up, and be able to ride the horse, in control, at the walk and trot in the indoor arena.
No. We do not give refunds. For people who are unsure of their future riding at Gale’s, we suggest that you pay for each lesson as you take the lesson. You won’t receive the discount or be eligible for the co-op.
During the summers, we sometimes offer special events such as camps, trail rides and field trips. Each year is different so contact us for updated information.
Although I have carriages and a sleigh, these are for personal use only. I don’t offer public rides in such at this time for liability reasons.
I’m sorry. I stopped selling gift certificates a few years ago. It was too problematic. A gift certificate hanging out there for nearly a year with the recipient then getting angry with me because I couldn’t fit them into a lesson slot at the last minute before the expiration of the certificate, just became too difficult for me to manage. I was chastised and threatened with bad comments on social media, etc. I had no choice but to stop the “gift certificate” sales. So, I recommend to the gifters, as their gift, to tell the recipient that the gift exists. Then when the recipient actually makes the appointment to take the lesson(s), then the recipient will make the payment arrangements at that time. No expiration dates then. AND if the recipient doesn’t take the lessons, the gifter is not out the money.
As with any employer, from time to time, we will have an opening for a new employee. So, we will accept a completed job application to keep on file, for interested candidates. The job application can be found here. Please complete it in its entirety and either mail or drop off to “Gale’s Equine Facility, 219 Sing Sing Road, Horseheads, NY 14845”.