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  1. Ed Lawrence
    January 16, 2020 @ 4:03 pm

    Excellent! And, spot on.

  2. sally king
    January 16, 2020 @ 4:15 pm

    The lawsuit businnes is also destroying us. Many kids got thier start with my small herd and some one on to be horsr owners. But now with no liability insurance, i seldom take the risk.

    • Laura
      January 18, 2020 @ 1:22 am

      Sally, I feel your pain. It is so cost prohibitive because of the liability. Unless you have a lot of money to start a barn, a lesson program, give instructions, have liability insurance on your lesson horses (most people forget about this aspect), it is very difficult to do.

    • Dona Corley
      January 18, 2020 @ 5:17 pm

      Same thing here, just can’t afford the insurance.

  3. Nancy McMinn
    January 17, 2020 @ 1:41 pm

    As Sally King says, the insurance that is needed these days to offer any sort of lessons or equine “meet n greet” is difficult to get around. In my own situation, even though I acquired a coaching certificate in 1984, the insurance would cost me $1500 per year. I live in a small town, and would not cover the cost of the insurance with lessons. It’s even more if you are offering school horses. Instead, I bring in an insured coach from a more popular and populated area to give the lessons a few times a year at our facility (donating the use of the facility to keep costs low). But it is difficult to get enough riders to make the lessons “go”, even though there are no other sources of riding and training information of this caliber in our area. I would like to add that a great place to entice new riders into the sport discipline is at “Fall Fairs”. These competitions are often not as high level as your local A circuit, but often offer great prize money and low cost entries. Their goal is to create a “show” for the public, YOU AND YOUR HORSE are the “show”. As such, you are ambassadors of the equine industry. These shows attract the public that does not usually go to horse shows, and has the barn area “open” to the public, which can be a hassle for you, but has it’s positive side As such, it is an excellent place to let a city kid pat your horse for the first time, if you happen to have the right sort of horse for this. Infect a city kid with the horse bug, and the next thing you know, their parents are asking where they can take the kid for riding lessons.

    • drjenniferweeks
      January 17, 2020 @ 1:49 pm

      Thank you for your input Nancy. Insurance sure makes things difficult and expensive. I completely agree with you about letting a “city kid” get close to a horse. It can have a great effect! There is so much hidden talent out there in people who don’t have the opportunity to be around horses!

  4. Kelly Hankee
    January 17, 2020 @ 1:42 pm

    Great article!!!!! Well written! We are a small beginner farm…..Every Winner Was Once A Beginner….I have 3 lessons plus my 3 kids ride. It’s enough! The cost of a farm/horses requires me to hold a full time nursing job. Rising costs for hay/grain/health care/training/fuel really dampens most equine facilities that run on a smaller scale. Many folks are forced to get a job to support this passion!!!! Professionals included.

  5. Angela
    January 17, 2020 @ 4:00 pm

    This is right on the money!! Couldn’t of said it better myself…

  6. Kathy Alleman
    January 17, 2020 @ 4:39 pm

    Also you may want to invest in program for middle age people who now have time to ride but never had the opportunity or had to give up riding to raise a family. I would like to get back into riding and lessons but don’t know where to start?

    • drjenniferweeks
      January 17, 2020 @ 7:36 pm

      Great suggestions…where are you geographically

  7. Linda J Kiesow
    January 17, 2020 @ 7:28 pm

    Great article. I agree we need to get kids up on the horse. No hand held game can top the great cadence of a trot, or the wind in your hair while cantering. Insurance is a problem. The be nice advise is spot on. I have had horses for 50 years. The last show I went to as a spectator, I walked around smiling saying hello to people. It was the Sat, night barn party. Groups sat tight at their stalls, no one mingled. Not one person asked if I were showing or watching, no one engaged in any way. I ended up leaving before night classes started.

    • drjenniferweeks
      January 17, 2020 @ 7:38 pm

      Thank you. Totally agree we have lost some of the social feel

  8. Sharon
    January 17, 2020 @ 10:05 pm

    The state I teach lessons in used to be 2nd in the horse population 20 yrs ago. Plenty of trainers in all disciplines & a great selection of barns covering all locations of the city. As the horse population started to dwindle, prices of horses went up & knocked out many potential buyers in the middle class & now we are back to society rich owning horses. This caused many of the older trainers to sell their farms to developers, because young trainers could not afford land prices. Now in my area of a large city, there are less than10 barns down from 25. Knowing the demand for leases or space at these remaining barns for young trainers, many barn owners have taken unfair advantage & the leases in this area can go as high as $10000 a month for a 15 stall barn, which then drives a horse owner’s fees up to $850-1000 just for board & add another &1000-1500 for training & lessons. Any parent or individual who wants to spend that serious amount of money monthly isn’t in to this activity just for fun. That is a house payment! Only option is to drive 45 min – 1 hr to barns way out of the city for affordable pricing. Is a parent willing to do that with their kid, if the kid has 5 other activities for free or small cost. Therefore I have gone to the adult groups & senior riders. who now have their own money & time schedules. Just like therapeutic horsemanship, we can keep all age adults in great physical & mental health with balance, flexibility, strength & stress relief that a horse provides. And you never know which one of these riders has their own child or grandchild, who catches horse interest. Used to be the other way around, but time for a change.

    • drjenniferweeks
      January 17, 2020 @ 10:46 pm

      we have the same struggles where I am. All available land is being bought up to build warehouses and land is super hard to afford. Glad you found a way to keep going and are there for the adults and senior riders who want to ride! Though we might not like the changes, we need to be flexible! sounds like you are doing a great a job.

  9. Scott
    January 18, 2020 @ 4:02 am

    Great article. Just started riding/showing again myself after a 30 year layoff. Great reason to get back in shape

    • drjenniferweeks
      January 18, 2020 @ 1:33 pm

      glad you are back in the saddle 🙂

  10. troylnorris
    January 18, 2020 @ 4:07 pm

    I started a trail logging program in 2013 and it’s based on the rider recording their trails with a GPS (usually an smartphone GPS app) and then uploading the track to their account with both the horse ridden and the rider getting credit for the mileage. It’s a lot of fun and a great community (we connect on the website, on our Facebook group and often times get to meet in person). We just need to figure out how to reach the younger demographic!

  11. Paul Marchand
    January 21, 2020 @ 4:06 pm

    Actually, I’m doing every single suggestion actively to some degree. I offer to wave ALL fees (including show entries, haul in, and everything else) for U.C. Davis riders. New clinicians are under social pressure to take novices of all ages (you promise to teach people who have never been within 100 yards of a horse?). We have also offered scholarships for winners of essay contests (Why would you want to learn Dressage?) at local high schools (free lessons for the Summer, lend of a horse, saddle, tack, boots, riding habit – with all show and clinic fees waived – sponsored by the county Dressage group). Our ranch has a weekly potluck (we are in the wine country North of San Francisco so you can imagine what that’s like)! Our ranch is positively a bargain with boarding and plenty of turn out (check out our reviews). Now all I need is more horse people.

    • drjenniferweeks
      January 21, 2020 @ 4:11 pm

      Wow Paul! you are an inspiration! I want in on a pot luck in wine country!

  12. Marty
    January 21, 2020 @ 4:43 pm

    The Kansas Horse Council (KHC) has launched a HORSEMANSHIP REWARDS PROGRAM where both young, vintage and in between equine lovers can get rewarded while doing what they love: spending quality time with equines. You don’t have to own one. If you are a horse rescue or therapeutic volunteer this is your program. You get to log in hours of grooming, ground work, driving and riding. Horses, donkeys, mules, minis, registered or grade. All you need is a KHC membership and pay an initial $35 enrollment fee (non Kansas members are WELCOME!) For more info go to 🐴💚