Services: Lessons

Lessons include 2 hours of horse time!

In the beginning, I will be there every step of the way. Once you can lead your horse from the field, groom, and tack independently then you may do this before/after your lesson while I do other tasks around the farm - this means I may "meet you in the arena" for 45 min, but you will always get a minimum of 2 hours with your horse.

Lesson Pricing:

$45 / each

$200 / 5-pack

$375 / 10-pack

See info on the Volunteer Program to learn about getting discounts on lessons!

Riders who supply their own horse get $10 off their lesson. Travel fees may apply depending on your location, or haul in's are welcome (with negative coggins & vaccine record required).

Why Ride at SKE?

The SKE Lesson Program supports my in-house rescue program.

 

Lesson horses are all in the rescue program.  I am a firm believer that horses are not happy in a "lesson string" setting. This means do not intend to keep horses as "lesson horses" long-term and would prefer them to find a forever home with their person.

 

The lessons help to further the horse's training and experience as well as yours. This also means lesson horses are available for adoption, in case student happens to fall in love!

Steph K Equestrian is home to quality show horses who are treated with the kindness and respect they deserve.

 

I am the only barn in Missouri and one of only a handful of barns in the US to offer a lesson school with horses trained on positive reinforcement principles. No whips, no spurs, no force. Only treats and happy relationships!
 

Steph K Equestrian has the highest safety standards, including being the only facility in the area to provide Hit-Air Safety Vests - airbags for horseback riding! I also provide top of the line helmets, safety brake-away stirrups, and ensure you are on a healthy horse who is happy doing their job.
 

Steph K Equestrian is located at our own private facilities. Amenities include indoor & outdoor arenas with high-quality performance footing, a large climate-controlled tack room & lounge, and large grooming stalls.
 

Steph K Equestrian offers competitive pricing with rates starting at $20/lesson with volunteering, or $40/lesson without.

Here is an article written by Steph, of Steph K Equestrian, on why horse accidents happen & how she's working to eliminate them.

 

Safety First! That's why we feed so many treats here at Steph K Equestrian.

So many horse accidents can be attributed to two easily avoidable factors:

  1. The horse cannot do what is being asked of it

  2. The horse does not want to participate

I don't want to be on the back of a 1200 lbs animal who doesn't want me there and I definitely do not want to put my students in that situation!!

Most accidents begin with the horse saying "no." Horses might do this by:

  • Ignoring the rider. The horse will not respond to a cue that they know and is clear to them (ie, not moving forward off a clear leg cue)

  • Offering replacement behavior. The horse will do something else instead of listening (ie, trotting quickly in response to a canter cue)

  • Offering conflict behavior. The horse will act out with a kick/rear/buck, this is the horse's strongest way of saying "no."


If the rider continues to push the horse, the horse will get louder and louder - eventually they will offer conflict behavior (a kick, bite, rear, or buck), which can then lead to an accident, and even rider injury. The use of crops, whips, spurs, strong bits, and other painful coersives will only make the horse react more strongly. If the horse does not decide to give in to the painful coersive, the rider can end up in a very dangerous situation.

Another option is that the horse will give in to the painful coersive - but we aren't out of danger yet. If the horse is willing and able, then the situation is no longer dangerous. However, horses often say "no" because they physically cannot do what is being asked - maybe performing the task causes pain, maybe they have an injury that makes them feel unstable or insecure, or maybe they are afraid they cannot maneuver safely (ie, they can't jump high enough to clear the fence, can't safely climb down the hill, or they can't safely cross the rickety old bridge). If the horse is pushed to continue anyway, then you run the risk of a very severe accident - one where the horse falls, with the human still attached (called a "rotational fall," this often leads to the rider being crushed under the horse).

So how do treats fix this? Steph K Equestrian is home to Positive Reinforcement Based Training! This means that horses are enticed to do what we ask by offering rewards for good behavior, and removing attention & rewards when bad behavior arises. This is different than traditional training, where horses are punished for bad behavior and the punishment is removed when the behavior improves. By eliminating punishment, not only are the horses happier, but the horses are more willing to comply. Plus, if they don't want to comply, then they can simply say "no," we respect that, and then we use good horsemanship and training to develop a plan to get the "yes" we wanted - happily and safely!!

 

I also ensure that my horses are healthy & capable. This is a key preventative for serious injuries (such as rotational falls). Not every horse is an Olympic athlete - and that's ok! However, all horses have limitations. My horses see specialist veterinarians and get regular bodywork and maintenance care to ensure they are at their best. This also means I have diagnostic information to tell me there limitations, so I won't ask them to do unsafe behaviours (like jumping too high).

 

Finally, my facilities are immaculately maintained for safety. Poor footing in riding areas, dangerous obstacles, and hazardous handling areas can all cause injury. I am always doing my best to ensure I have the safest environment for my students & horses to learn. 

 

That said, horses will always communicate if they feel uncomfortable with a movement or in a certain environment. There are many factors that can impact rider safety, but the best step to take is to watch the horse's willingness & listen when they say "no." Horses are strong, powerful animals - it's one of the reasons we love them, one of the reasons that the relationships we form with them are so rewarding, and also one of the reasons safety is so important! Make sure your horse is on your side. Are they listening and obeying because they want to, or is it because you're giving them no other choice? Pay attention to what may be safer.

Steph K Equestrian also offers other important safety features to students - top of the line helmets, Hit-Air Safety Vests, and protective contact training.

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