Stillmeadows offers English riding lessons for riders aged 7 and older. We offer hunter, jumper, and equitation training from beginner lessons to showing at the top level on the A circuit. Stillmeadows has a successful IEA team at both the Middle and High School levels, and hosts the Virginia Commonwealth University IHSA team.
In order to evaluate a prospective student’s skill level and potential, we start by giving the interested rider an evaluation lesson. This private, one-on-one assessment allows the school to better accommodate the student. If the rider has ridden before and/or shows sufficient ability, the instructor will work on placing that rider in a group lesson appropriate to their skill level. If the rider has never ridden before, or is not yet ready for a group lesson, the instructor will find a suitable time for the rider to continue with private sessions. Once the student is comfortable, they will be worked into a group lesson suitable for them. Group lessons are kept small, typically no more than four or five riders.
Please make sure that Stillmeadows has a release form signed and on file before mounting the horse! New students/parents should arrive at least thirty minutes early in order to take care of the necessary paperwork.
- Hard soled shoes that come past your ankle with a small heel. Paddock boots are preferred. Tall boots are not recommended for beginner riders. Sneakers, hiking boots, and high heeled dress type boots are not permitted.
- Long pants – jeans, jodphurs, or breeches are recommended. Leggings or tights are permitted for the first few lessons, but are too thin to properly protect the rider’s legs. Tall socks are recommended to help prevent rider’s lower leg from being rubbed by the stirrup leathers. You may want half chaps to prevent blisters. No shorts.
- ASTM-SEI approved riding helmet – available at any tack shop. Used helmets are not recommended. If you do not have one, we can provide one for the first few lessons. Riders should have their own helmet by their 4th lesson. No bike helmets!
- Shirts should cover the shoulder and be long enough to tuck into the rider’s pants. Excessively loose shirts, midriff baring shirts, and spaghetti straps are not permitted.
Long hair MUST be tied back with a hair tie. A low pony tail at the base of the neck or a braid is acceptable. Hair may also be contained in a hairnet and properly fitted under the helmet. Riders will not be permitted to ride with their hair loose. Additionally, high pony tails, buns, and excessive high braids make it difficult to fit a helmet properly
We ask that you arrive 20-30 minutes before your lesson to get your horse ready, and that you are prepared to stay 20-30 minutes after the lesson to put your horse away. Lessons begin at your scheduled lesson time. Riders should be mounted or prepared to mount, in the case of beginner riders, at the lesson time. If a rider is late, the lesson will still end at the designated time. Riders who are more than 10 minutes late to their lesson will not be permitted to ride, and will forfeit that lesson. Riders who are consistently late – 3 times – will be asked to find a new lesson time that is better suited to their schedule, if there is one available. If there is not another suitable lesson time, the rider will be placed on a waiting list to join another lesson.
We believe in teaching the basics of horsemanship. All students are taught how to groom and tack up their horse, as well as how to take care of them after their lesson and how to clean their tack. Instructors may do periodic partial or full ground/barn lessons to enhance and review horsemanship skills.
Cancellations and Make-ups
Cancellations should be made at least one day in advance. Any less than eight hours notice, and you will forfeit the lesson and the fee. If a student does not show up for a lesson, the lesson and fee are forfeited. Make-up lessons may be scheduled for any prepaid lessons cancelled with proper notice, but must be done so within the same month. Lessons missed with no notice will not be made up. Make up lessons are subject to availability. Lesson payments do not roll over month to month.
*Illness exception: In order to protect the health of our staff and other riders in the barn, we ask that riders cancel their lesson if they are feeling any sign of illness. Please do not try to “tough it out”. Not only is your rider not likely to get a quality lesson, but it puts those around them at risk. Prepaid lessons that have to be missed due to COVID related illness or quarantine will be carried over to the next month. *