What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
All serious riders go to clinics with visiting equestrian "stars" who visit Michigan. There are always top notch people coming through and although it is expensive, even to audit, let alone ride, it is considered part of one's continueing education. That, and reading. Horse magazines have become much improved over the years with excellent teaching articles in every edition and there are many excellent books worth reading.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I fell in love with horses as an 11 year old girl, about the typical age and this passion never left. I had many opportunities to ride but my family had no money for lessons. When I started to earn my own money I spent most of it on getting really good instruction, then came the years in the showring and working race horses, and I always wanted to pass on to others what I had learned along the way.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Watch a lesson. No one minds that. Ask permission to arrive at a certain time and observe carefully. Are the horses obviously groomed and well cared for? Is the tack of good quality? Is the instructor friendly, encouraging and patient? Not intimidating? Our instructors are particularly articulate, the owner having been a freelance writer in another stage of her life, another who specilizes in children is a highschool teacher and another a PhD scientist with a history of showring success.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
You need to know that there are many people hanging out shingles as riding instructors who are well meaning, but little more than enthusiastic amateurs, If you are serious about learning riding using classical dressage principles, you want someone who truly knows their stuff. Just riding well is often not enough. It's the ability to actually TEACH with great specificity that matters. And we wish people knew just how much it costs to keep nice horses on hand for others to ride. When people cancel you can't say to the horses "ok chaps, no lessons today, so I won't feed you." It is very expensive to maintain both animals and the property, so that is why lessons cost what they do.