Lesson FAQS

What can I expect from lessons with This Old Horse?

Lessons are focused on the relationship between the horse and client as well as the technical aspects of riding. It is essential to build a solid foundation and understanding of horse behavior as part of the overall experience. Activities to promote this can include grooming, tacking, ground work, and more.


Our goal is to make riding lessons suit your abilities, ambitions, and interests. That means we adapt to you! Our instructors and horses are ready and willing to help you learn, whether your goal is to someday show competitively or just take things nice and slow while you develop a relationship with your equine partner. Also, we pride ourselves on our welcoming, safe, clean environment.


What can This Old Horse expect from lesson clients?

  • Safety: Our policies are in place to ensure the safety of both humans and horses. We ask that lesson clients help ensure their own safety and that of others by following these guidelines and reporting any safety concerns in a timely manner.

  • Timeliness: Our instructors and horses are ready and waiting, so we appreciate lesson clients arriving on time for their lessons. If a lesson client arrives late, the lesson duration will be shortened.

  • Clear communication: Life happens, and sometimes lesson clients are unable to keep their regular schedule. We ask that you communicate early and often if you have questions, concerns, or changes.


How do I sign up for lessons?

Fill out the Lesson Registration right here on our website. Our Lesson Coordinator will be in touch soon to set up your first lesson.


Do you accommodate riders living with disabilities?

Yes! Several of our instructors have experience working with individuals living with disabilities. Some even are Special Olympics coaches or PATH Intl. therapeutic-riding instructors. We can provide adaptations, such as specialized tack or the assistance of side walkers. Learn more on our Therapeutic Riding page.


Is the barn wheelchair-accessible?


Can I learn about horse care and other elements of horse keeping?
Of course! Because we customize our lessons to our clients' interests and goals, we can incorporate elements like this into lessons.


What disciplines can I learn?

Our instructors teach across English and Western disciplines. There are some limitations as to what our program horses, all of whom are retired from prior jobs, can do for their safety and that of our clients.


What are ground-work lessons?

These unmounted lessons focus on working with the horse using a variety of techniques. They are a great opportunity for those who do not want to ride, are interested in training horses, or want to further their education out of the saddle.


What are the program horses like?

All our program horses have retired from a working background, with past experience spanning from mounted patrol to drill team to therapy, making them perfect partners to learn to ride. Learn more on our Program Horses page.


Will I ride the same horse for every lesson?

Not necessarily. Due to our horses' needs and your needs as you progress with your riding, you might ride different horses. Your instructor will alert you about any changes like this.


Where is This Old Horse located?

Our home is Wishbone Ranch, located at:

19025 Coates Blvd.

Hastings, MN 55033


From Highway 52, go West on 190th Street.

Take the first left to go South on Donnelly Avenue.

We are the first farm on the left.


How much do lessons cost?
Learn more about pricing, including discounts for lesson packages, on our Lesson Information page.


What is the lesson schedule?
We offer lessons seven days a week during normal stable hours, which are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


How long is each lesson?
Lessons are one hour in length. If deemed appropriate by a client and instructor, we are open to a longer or shorter duration and will adjust the lesson price accordingly.


What is the difference between private, semi-private, and group lessons?

Private lessons are one-on-one with an instructor. Semi-private lessons are taught to 2 clients of similar ability level. Group lessons are taught to 3 to 4 clients of similar ability level.


Is there a weight limit?
Yes. To ensure the safety of our horses and lesson clients, the heaviest a rider can be is a balanced, proportionate 180 lbs. for any mounted work. There is no weight limit for ground-work lessons.


Is there an age limit?
Our youngest rider is 4 and our oldest is 85! We ask that lesson clients are old enough to be able to focus on their lesson and work on the tasks as they learn to ride. If appropriate, we can shorten the lesson duration to ensure better success.


Who will be my instructor?

We have a variety of instructors and will match you with someone whose area of expertise and schedule matches yours. Learn more about our team on our Instructors page.


How do I pay for my lesson?

Lesson clients must prepay for their lessons. We encourage you to buy one of our lesson packages to receive a discount (a 5-lesson package receives a 5-percent discount and a 10-lesson package receives a 10-percent discount).You can pay via credit card on our Lesson Payment page or pay with cash or check (payable to "This Old Horse") at the barn. Your instructor will show you where to leave your payment if you choose to bring it to the barn.


What should I wear for my lesson?

Lesson clients are required to wear:

  • an ASTM/SEI-approved helmet (we can provide one if you do not have one)

  • closed-toe, smooth-soled shoes or boots with low heels (no sandals)

  • long pants (no shorts)


We suggest you wear layers that you can shed if you work up a sweat. Riding a horse is a workout!


Do you have a helmet I can use?
Yes, we have helmets of varying brands and sizes available for client use for free. Helmets are sanitized after every use.


Do I need to bring my own tack?
No. We provide all tack, which has been properly fitted for our program horses.


Are lessons offered year-round?
Yes. Our facility is not heated or insulated, so we suggest wearing layers you can shed as you work up a sweat in colder months. An instructor will inform you if lessons are cancelled due to weather.


How early should I arrive for my lesson?
Please arrive 5 to 10 minutes before the scheduled time of your first lesson. Your instructor will let you know how early to arrive for subsequent lessons.


How often do I need to take lessons?

You can take lessons as frequently as you want, whether monthly, biweekly, weekly, or more often.


Do I need to take lessons the same day and time every week?

No. As long as the arena is available, we can adjust to fit changing schedule needs.


What is the cancellation policy?

We require 24 hours notice for cancellation except in the case of an emergency. This allows us to fill the scheduled time slot with another lesson that helps create revenue to support our mission. 


  • 1st non-emergency cancellation within 24 hours (or no show): grace

  • 2nd non-emergency cancellation within 24 hours (or no show): 1/2 price of lesson

  • 3rd and all subsequent non-emergency cancellation within 24 hours (or no show): full lesson price


I need to cancel or reschedule my lesson. Who do I contact?
Contact your instructor directly, whose contact information you received when you first signed up for lessons. If it is within 24 hours, please call (as opposed to emailing).


How do I know if my lesson is cancelled due to weather?

You will be contacted by your instructor if for any reason your lesson needs to be cancelled or rescheduled.


Can friends or family come watch my lesson?

Sure, as long as they will be supportive and not distracting during your lesson. We ask that all guests abide by the Stable Rules. Children under age 16 must be supervised at all times by a responsible adult. We may ask that your guests to sign a liability release/waiver.


Can I bring my children or dog when I come for my lesson?

Children under age 16 must be supervised at all times by a responsible adult. If another adult accompanies you, feel free to bring the kids as long as they won't distract you during your lesson. Because we require dogs to be under their owner's control at all times while on stable premises, plelase do not bring your four-legged friend along for your lesson. All guests must abide by the Stable Rules.


Can I haul in my own horse for a lesson?
Sure! There are certain requirements for hauling in. There is no cost for hauling in unless you need to use a stall. Contact us for more information.


Can I lease a program horse?

Yes! Some of our program horses are available for lease. For more information, visit our Sponsorship Information page and ask your instructor about getting approved for leasing.


Can I show a program horse?

There are limited opportunities to show our program horses, including during our annual Show What You Know. Ask your instructor for more information.


Can I get a gift card for lessons?

Yes! Contact us for more information.


I can't use the rest of my lesson package. Can I get a refund?

Lesson packages are nonrefundable but can be transferred to another client. Contact us for more information.


Do you offer trail rides?



Do you offer pony rides?



Have a question that didn't get answered? Contact us.

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© 2019 This Old Horse, Inc.   .  651 . 437 . 1889  .  info@thisoldhorse.org  .  19025 Coates Blvd., Hastings, MN 55033

This Old Horse logo designed by Sue Shadow.  Principle photography on this site is by Toni Thomas.   Additional photography by Ronnie Hartman Images.