If you’re considering horseback riding as a sport and pastime then you’re likely curious to know how many lessons you should take. While I’m a firm believer that lessons should never stop, and there are always clinics you can go to in order to improve upon existing skills, you should 100% start with regular lessons as a beginner.
Most beginner riders have one riding lesson a week. It will take roughly two years or 104 lessons worth of weekly riding lessons to learn the basics and develop enough skills so that you can comfortably ride independently. This number will vary depending upon age, lesson length, instructor, and more.
Note: Every rider is different and there’s no prescription number of riding lessons to reach equestrian milestones.
But remember, no matter how long you’ve been riding there is always more to learn.
How Many Times a Week Should I Go Horse Riding?
Start horse riding once a week and expand that number to two or three times a week as you improve your strength and stamina.
The number of times you go horseback riding a week when learning to ride comes down to the amount of free time you have and your access to horses. If you’ve just started riding then you should be taking riding lessons and these can be quite expensive.
Start with one riding lesson a week and, if your budget permits, expand that to two or three times a week as you gain more riding experience.
It can be good to supplement your riding abilities with at-home workouts. Because so much of riding at the start depends on your muscles developing and your strength improving, it is important to get in shape while you’re a beginner rider.
At the end of the day, you’ll want to be realistic and try to be consistent on the number of times you can ride a week. Factors for riding frequency may include:
- Cost and your budget
- Your time commitment
- Your riding goals
As a child or teenager, summers are a great time to get extra hours in the saddle with a riding camp.
How Long Does it Take to Get Good at Horseback Riding?
How long it takes to develop your skills as a rider is a case-by-case situation. You can learn the basics and develop a solid understanding within a year but because skilled will take many years.
Some have a more natural inclination and might catch on easier while others take many more lessons to reach the same milestones. Never discount yourself for not reaching the same milestones as your fellow riders.
How long it takes to develop riding skills will also depend on where you ride, your riding instructor’s lesson curriculum, and even age. Here are a few factors to consider when determining how long it may take you to become a good rider:
- Your age
- How dedicated you are
- How many hours in the saddle you can get in a week
- Your natural talent and athleticism
- The quality of your trainer
Younger riders who are exposed to riding once a week may not develop skills as quickly as a teenage or young adult rider riding at the same frequency. This is because smaller children are still learning how to use their bodies while in the saddle and don’t always have the fine motor skills necessary to make tweaks like an older rider can.
While you can expect to learn the basics within a year of riding if you ride consistently, here’s what an average horsemanship roadmap will look like with regular lessons.
Year One: The Basics
Year one should begin with a bombproof lesson horse and the absolute basics. You’ll learn horsemanship skills like grooming, tacking, and leading. In fact, you should be introduced to some of these basics during each lesson.
During the first year, you’ll learn how to walk and trot as well as steer. This is the year you begin learning how to use your body correctly and grow more confident in the saddle.
Depending upon your skill progression, you may begin learning to canter and tackling obstacles or small crossrails. This will vary from rider to rider and your chosen discipline.
Year Two: Refining Skills and Confidence
During year two, you will begin refining what you learned in year one. You’ll learn to ride more difficult patterns and you’ll likely learn to canter if you haven’t already.
Year Three: Building Independence
By year three (and if you aren’t a young child who should be supervised), you will likely be able to ride on your own—or approaching that point. For serious riders, year three is a good time to consider leasing a horse. While many do jump to owning, leasing is infinitely better for a number of reasons we won’t get into here.
By year three you may be showing regularly and developing a long-term plan for your riding career. Perhaps you want to pursue more serious showing, perhaps you are just getting to your first horse show, or perhaps you even want to branch out into a new style of riding. Year three can bring lots of opportunities as you have much more experience and knowledge of the equestrian world.