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Western Equitation Lesson Program Policy Updated March 2023

The primary goal of the program is to teach students of all ages the art of horse riding and horsemanship.  To achieve this, our instructors will provide the necessary guidance to students and structure our lesson programs so they are teaching equitation fundamentals that can generally be measured in accordance with the 4H Alberta Horsemanship Assessment Program Levels 1-7.  Students will also learn the important aspects of ground horsemanship skills necessary for working with horses such as those outlined in the 4H Alberta Horse Reference Manual.

All students will be assessed for their current horsemanship skills and assigned a Level from 1-7.  This will be their level until they have acquired and are suitably able to demonstrate thru a formal assessment that they have the required skills to graduate to the next level.  Please keep in mind it may take several blocks of lesson sessions before a student may master a single level.

While our program attempts to closely follow the skills required for 4H Level Assessments, there are fundamental differences in our program, it should be noted we are in no way affiliated with 4H Alberta or Canada nor is it a rigid outline of our program explicitly.  Our instructors may evaluate and assess students to be in different levels than students that are registered in a 4H Club and program.  By referring to the 4H guidelines it is not our intent to provide any confusion in this respect but simply provide students and guardians some insight into the goals of our program as well as to provide a clear path of goals, measurement and succession planning for our students.  Often our instructors see our students on a weekly or more often basis and may assess students at a higher level than other program instructors that may only see students periodically or in different environments and settings.

Our lesson blocks are typically 8 consecutive weeks long but may be adjusted by a week or two depending on major holiday breaks etc.  Our lesson blocks are intended to be provided in a group setting with anywhere from 2-4 students per group.  While there are Levels 1-7, we can not guarantee we will always have all levels available during each lesson block time frames.  It could be possible we have an insufficient number of students to conduct a particular level during our block and students could potentially have to wait until the next level is offered and sufficient students are enrolled at this level.  Of course, we will always try our best to ensure this does not happen so students wishing to maintain continuity can do so.

We do often have a waiting list for new students, and we maintain this list and provide intakes to our lesson program for new students on a first come first serve basis with priority given to returning students. 


Fees And Payments:

  • Each 8-week (or less) block must be paid for in full prior to the start of the first lesson.  An invoice will be sent approximately 1-2 weeks before the start of the lesson block.  Interest shall be applied to all overdue accounts following non-payment by the first lesson and students who have not paid in full by the second lesson in the block will not be permitted to participate.

  • The cost for a single lesson session is posted at the arena and/or on our website and notice of any changes will be done in advance and typically also posted on our social media sites.


General Rules:

  • All students must wear an approved safety helmet regardless of age or level at anytime while riding and part of the lesson program.


  • All students should arrive at the arena 15 minutes prior to their allocated lesson time to ensure they are ready and in a calm and collected way to share their time with their equine friend.


  • Students who’s lesson session is conducted on one of our arena horses will be assigned a horse when they get to the arena.  A horse will be assigned that our instructors feel are best suited for that student’s level and demeanor.  While once we assign a horse and both are a good fit, we will do our best to pair students to the same horse for the duration of their lesson block, this may not always be possible.  Please keep in mind our equine partners are our utmost priority and we closely monitor each horses daily/monthly usage, health, and rest days.    Often our partners need time to recover from minor pains and injuries or just not having a good day, so substitutions are often necessary.  The safety of the students and the heath of the horses always comes first, and the ultimate decision of pairing will be deferred to the instructor.  Please keep in mind horses are just like humans and have a mind of their own with good days and bad days.  A horse’s behaviour and learning to work with them in partnership during difficult times is part of learning horsemanship and often as important a lesson in development of skills as the actual riding skills lesson being taught.


  • Guardians, guests, and siblings are more than welcome to attend our lesson sessions however it is the responsibility of the lesson student guardians that they be monitored accordingly and remain within the viewing platform arena and not be disruptive to the lesson program in session.  Minors are not permitted in the dirt riding arena or in the horse alleyway area unless under direct supervision of a guardian AND with the explicit permission of an instructor.  Minors are also not to be left unattended to loiter in areas of the arena such as washrooms and meeting rooms or the general outdoor grounds.


  • Lessons are conducted in groups of 2-4 students as noted, our instructor’s primary goal during these sessions is to set out an objective for the session and work with each student equally to progress along this objective.  There may be times when either the equine partner or the student is having difficulty with a task.  Please understand that the instructor’s role is to work with all the individuals in the group setting to ensure equal time is spent with each student fairly.  It may be necessary to book a private lesson to work through some of these specific issues outside the normal lesson program.


  • For the well being of our lesson horses, there is a weight limit of 220 lbs for lesson students which considers guidelines for the typical carrying capacity of 20% for quarter horses and considers tack weight.


Cancellations, Make-Ups, and No Shows:

  • If a scheduled lesson session during a block needs to be cancelled due to issues such as an outbreak, arena bookings/maintenance, weather, or an instructor absence at the initiation of the arena, a make-up session will be scheduled such that it is completed within 1 week of the end of the lesson block period that it occurred.  Please keep in mind lessons are in groups of students and it is important to attempt to work with our instructors to attend this make-up and be as flexible as possible so all students in this session can attend together.  If a student or the group lesson make-up can not be conducted within this period a credit for the missed lesson will be applied to the next block session or a refund processed by the arena at the discretion of the arena staff.


  • While we certainly understand that cancellations may happen due to sickness or other circumstances that life throws at us, our policy is that students are permitted a single cancellation make-up session during a lesson block should our instructor be provided 24 hours notification that the student will not be in attendance.  The make-up session must be made up within one week of the end of the block and you must work with the instructor to find a suitable date that works for you both.  Please keep in mind these are group lessons and as such you will potentially be asked to attend a different level group session to make-up the missed lesson at the discretion of the instructor.  Private one on one make-up sessions will only be permitted at the discretion of the instructor.  No credit or refund towards future lessons will be provided by the arena for student cancellations so please work with your instructor to find a suitable time slot!


  • No shows or cancellations without 24 hours notice will not be eligible for a make-up session, refund, or credit.  The lesson and fee will be forfeited. 


  • If you are more than 15 minutes late for your assigned lesson start time, it will be considered a no show and you will not be permitted to attend the ongoing lesson session.


  • No Make-Up sessions will be permitted for students that are in attendance for their lesson session but are not able to participate in the group session due to issues beyond the instructor control.


  • If you know prior to booking a lesson block that the registered student(s) will be absent for a particular or group of lessons such as a school trip, family holiday etc., please let your instructor or arena management staff know of this in advance of the start of the block session and billing period and we should still be able to accommodate the missed sessions into the block and you will only be billed in advance for the intended lessons i.e. 6 out of the 8 in that block.  All other absences will be subject to our policy for cancellations and no-shows outlined above.


  • Students that miss more than 3 sessions during a block may not be permitted to re-enroll for the next lesson block and their spot may be granted to someone on our waiting list at the discretion of the arena staff.

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