Please review these frequently asked questions…thanks!
What happens when it gets dark?
In the Fall/Winter when the days get shorter, we lose our sunlight to ride in the evening hours. When this happens, we have flood lights that will be used to shine on 2 of our rings. For those riders who continue to ride in the 10-month programs, we try to move the last lesson to an earlier time slot after the Fall Riding program ends.
What equipment does my child need?
We strongly suggest a riding/schooling helmet that is well-fitted, long pants, and boots with a 1/2″ heel.
We are happy to suggest local tack shops where you can buy your equipment…some offer a discount if you mention you ride at Hybid Farm.
Many of us are moms too, and we like to save money when we can…so we have a few boots and breeches that we can loan out. We ask that you return it after your riding session is done, laundered and boots clean for the next child to borrow. We do not loan helmets, for explanation please see the following Q&A.
Does my child really need a riding helmet?
If your child is riding, the most important piece of equipment for you to invest in is a properly fitting ASTM/SEI approved riding helmet. Bike helmets are better than nothing, but if your child falls from a pony/horse and hits his/her head, they are not meant to protect them in that type of fall, just as a riding helmet would not be the best protection for a fall from a bike.
Helmets have a 5 year lifespan. Heads do not usually grow after age 5, changes in hair style can affect how the helmet fits, but kids do not generally outgrow their helmets. Helmets react to changes in temperature and therefore should never be left in a hot/cold car.
Helmets should not be thrown or dropped from a height of more than 3 feet. They should also be put someplace where they won’t be tripped over or stepped on. A helmet does not know the difference between falling off a table or a child falling from a horse…..in both instances the helmet is damaged.
Some sort of bag (plastic, duffle, or fancy helmet) are the best way to keep your helmet clean and protected.
It is important to remember head injuries are difficult to deal with and to heal. A properly fitted helmet is your best protection against this!
Is the barn ever closed during the year?
Hybid Farm is closed in December for approximately 1.5 weeks (depending on the calendar) and also a week in March when the horses have their “spa week” (we schedule the vet for vaccinations and physicals, our equine dentist for the care of their teeth, our chiropractor and massage therapist to address muscle and skeletal needs, etc.)
How are classes/horses selected?
Great question! Rita and instructors design the make-up of classes according to the rider’s ability, age and skill. For example, we would not plan a lesson with a 12yr old and 6yr old together even though both are beginners. Horses are chosen very carefully. We take into account the child’s age, ability, length of leg and personality.
Some riders may have a horse preference, and we try to honor that request, but Safety is our first and foremost priority.
We will change horses occasionally if we feel the child is frustrated or not progressing or if the child feels unsafe.
We do not change horses just because “it is hard”. Horseback riding is hard! Anyone who makes it look easy has ridden many, many hours and makes it just LOOK easy! Keep working hard and you will someday make it look easy too! We have a saying at Hybid: Hard is okay!
Sometimes we make horse assignment changes because a child has outgrown their pony either in size or ability. Does this mean if your child’s horse has not changed your child hasn’t progressed? NO! It could mean many things: The fit is just right, the rider still can learn something that particular horse can teach, they have overcome a fear and we do not want to change their horse too quickly, etc. We are happy to answer any questions you have about your child’s horse assignment.
There are connections between rider and horse with personality, and we try to find that perfect match that will encourage growth and development with riding.
Are classes made up for holidays?
We do not offer any make-up classes for holidays that riders “take off’”. We strongly suggest that you carefully check your calendars for special holidays honored in your family and coordinate it to your riding schedule.
What happens if you have to cancel a birthday party?
We would be sad if a party had to be cancelled, but understand that it happens. The only time we would cancel is if the weather was unbearable or dangerous to horse and rider. We would then work with the family, and try to make another weekend happen. We will ride in rain or shine, so please come prepared with the appropriate weather gear. (There is a non-refundable $100.00 deposit which we can apply to a rescheduled party).
When can I talk about my child’s progress?
PLEASE NOT DURING A LESSON. We are devoted to our students and time spent along the rail chatting with a parent is time robbed from a lesson…both for your child and any other student in the ring.
NOT WHEN THE INSTRUCTOR is trying to be on time for her next class. Again, our time needs to be with the students who have paid for their classes so please do not stop us on our way for “just five minutes” or a “couple of questions”. It is not fair to the next class.
How do I communicate with the instructor?
Please let us know you have questions! Email McKenzie to suggest a couple times when we can call you and we will do our best to accommodate.
Can we call the instructor directly?
No. Please honor our instructor’s privacy. We will let them know you have questions and we will make sure your questions get answered.
Why are we asked to wait outside the barn while my child is tacking/untacking?
Great question…it has everything to do with safety! If we have all the parents and siblings in the barn, it becomes quite congested. Often non-riders are not dressed appropriately (sandals, flip flops, etc) and don’t understand how to be around horses safely (running around the barn and trying to feed horses hay/treats/fingers unsupervised). If you would like to take pictures of your child during their barn time, just please check in with us. We want you to enjoy your child’s lesson as much as they do, but we always have to put safety first. Some of our parents are experienced horsemen and like to help their child groom and tack….we welcome those parents if appropriately dressed…as long as you are not doing the tacking for them….but encouraging them to be independent and capable equestrians.
I want my dog to get used to horses….can I bring them to the barn?
No dogs should be out of the car while any child is at the barn. We love dogs, but not everyone does and some children are extremely afraid of them. For safety and insurance reasons, we can not have any dog, no matter how cute, in or near any of our students or on the property. In the past we have had dogs barking and disrupting the classes.
Why is my child sometimes paired with a student not at his or her level?
There will be times when your child is at the “bottom” of the class and times when he or she will be at the “top” of their class. Everyone has to start somewhere. We try to place your child with a student who is at the same level, but sometimes it just might not be a perfect match. We are often asked to “place my child in a class with riders who are above her to challenge her”. There will be times where we can do this, and other times when your child will be the one who is accepting a student who needs the challenge.
We ask that you have patience. There was a time when your child was not at the same level with other riders in their class and they were patient with your child. Please extend the same kindness to another rider. Our instructors and staff work very hard to make this a community where all are accepted and given opportunities to learn. We ask that you and your child join us in allowing everyone, no matter their skill level, to be part of the learning process.