How to properly fit your riding hat

The easiest way to shop for a correctly fitting helmet is to go to your local tack shop. The staff will be eager to help you select and fit a helmet. However, if you find yourself shopping alone...
Find a helmet designed specifically for equestrian activities and like how it looks; remember you will be wearing it every time you ride.
Check inside the helmet for a tag stating the helmet is ASTM-SEI certified. If it is not, since you are shopping for a RIDING helmet, put it back. It will not protect you in a fall.
Put it on. It should fit all the way down onto the top of your head, and cup your entire skull. If it doesn't it is too small.
Make sure the front of the helmet is no more than about 1-1/2 inches or two fingers above your eyebrows.
Give your head a vigorous shake like you are saying "No." If it slides around it is too big.
Grab hold of it and gently rock it back and forth or nod "Yes" vigorously. Your skin should move with it so that your eyebrows go up and down. You don't have to wiggle it very far. You just want to make sure it's not too long for you.
Buckle the chin strap and adjust it so that it fits comfortably under your chin back against your throat. Make sure it is not too loose, but you should be able to chew comfortably. Another method is to yawn as vertically as possible.
Way to go, you have a helmet that fits! Now go wear it and have a great ride!


TIPS!

Try a hat one size smaller and one size larger than one that first fits. It doesn't hurt to try and you might find one that fits better.
If one size is too big and the next too small, check to see if it has pads that go inside that can change the size a bit. If not, you may have to try a different style or brand.
Take the time to find one that fits right and comfortably. It is too easy to decide not to wear it if it's not comfortable.
Helmets bearing the ASTM-SEI certification are not expensive and worth every penny.


A hat that is not worn or one that does not fit properly will not protect you in a fall. Ride smart!
NEVER use a bike helmet for riding a horse. They do not cover the back of your head well enough and are designed for riding bicycles, NOT horses.
Never buy a second-hand helmet, you cannot properly determine if it has been previously damaged.
Always replace your helmet if you have a big fall or if it gets otherwise damaged.
When showing a horse in hunters and jumpers, contestants are required to have their hair secured neatly in a hairnet and tucked up into their helmet to give a neat and polished appearance. Depending on your hair length, this usually requires a different helmet (plus you don't want to use your show hat every day). Keep this in mind when purchasing a helmet for lessons or frequent use. If you have longer hair, decide ahead of time on how you will secure it while riding.

Riding a horse is a sport in which we take great pride; you will receive
outstanding instruction and personal attention in your
QUEST TO LEARN ABOUT HORSES.

WHAT TO WEAR TO YOUR RIDING LESSON
ENGLISH OR WESTERN
An ASTM-SEI Certified Riding Helmet must be worn when mounted at all times. Please carefully read below on how to fit it properly.
Riders must wear a long or short sleeve shirt that covers the shoulders, no tank tops.
Long pants like jeans or riding pants/jodphurs. No sweat pants or shorts.
Boots that have at least a 1-inch heel; they can be paddock (short or ankle) style. No tennis shoes.
Optional items include, chaps or half-chaps & gloves.

Hunter/Jumper
Equitation
Field Hunter
Riding to Hounds
Casual Rider/Trail Rider
Competitive Trail Rider
Western Pleasure
Barrel Racing/Pole Bending
Natural Horsemanship *our most popular*

Inclement Weather

Lessons are not cancelled for poor weather, when schools are closed or delayed for inclement weather the lesson will then be rescheduled with out a fee on a day that is not your regular lesson day and time. However there will be a $15.00 charge to reschedule. If the weather is not suitable for riding, lessons will be conducted in the barn if indoor arena is not available, focusing on barn management and animal husbandry skills, which are often neglected in favor of time in the saddle. "Barn Lessons" will be given. Normal cancellation rules apply.

Lessons Policies

Your First Lesson about Horses and Ponies..."
...They do not leave town for vacations or business trips like we do!

The policies outlined below are designed to help us keep a predictable schedule. This is necessary and allows us to properly care for our Horses and Ponies on a daily basis and throughout the year.

PLEASE REVIEW OUR LESSON POLICIES
1. Lessons are scheduled and paid for in advance on or before the first of each month.
2. Riding a minimum of 1x per week is required to guarantee your riding day and time.
3. YOU ARE BILLED BY THE DAY(S) YOU RIDE. Please remember, for example, If you ride on Fridays, there may be 4 or 5 Fridays in any given month.
4. Payments are considered late after the 7th and are subject to a late fee. (if using the billing option)
5. There is a 24-hour cancellation policy to reschedule a missed lesson.
6. If you cancel with less than 24-hours notice, or inadvertently miss your lesson, the lesson is subject to full charge.
7. If you cancel with more than 24-hours notice, please arrange with your instructor to reschedule your missed lesson within the month. You may need to ride with another instructor for your makeup. Private Makeup lessons will not necessarily be Private and Group Makeups must be scheduled in an existing Group Lesson.
8. Periodic or bi-monthly lessons can be taken as available, however, we cannot guarantee the day and time.
9. There is a $25.00 charge for a missed lesson plus your lesson fee. A $35.00 charge for a missed journeyman lesson plus your lesson fee. If you miss two or more scheduled lessons without notice, you will be put back on the waiting list for lesson times.
You must cancel your lesson before 9:01am the day of your lesson and no later. Thanks, Management.


We only offer private lessons
Our lessons for beginners include ground time, grooming and tacking instruction. Once young riders are proficient in this process, then lesson time will begin when mounted. All riders need to wear proper riding boots and a safety approved helmet. New riders must have a copy of a current medical insurance card and a signed release waiver on file. Lessons may include mounted exercises as well as theory lessons (unmounted). We ride both in and out of the ring for a well-balanced riding education. Travelling to your barn for lessons and clinics is available. Please call for rates. 24 hour cancellation notice is required.

Specializing in English Riding Instruction

Lessons are tailored to suit your needs whether for recreation or showing. Our training staff is experienced preparing horses and students of all ages and ability for the show ring while guaranteeing a fun, friendly and safe learning environment.  We have wonderful show quality lesson horses to give every rider their start while preparing you for the next step toward leasing or owning a horse of your own.or Learn How to Ride & Improve your skills Private and group lessons are available for students of all riding abilities, beginner through advanced.  Lessons are tailored to suit your needs whether for recreation or showing. Our training staff is experienced preparing horses and students of all ages and ability for the show ring while guaranteeing a fun, friendly, and safe learning environment.  We have wonderful show quality lesson horses to give every rider their start while preparing them for the next step toward leasing or owning a horse of their own.

Lessons operate year round.

We believe that learning the physical aspects of riding is important, and we will teach our students to sit, balance, and ride the horse at different gaits and under differing circumstances. We will teach them to ride with skill, confidence, and consideration for the comfort and ability of their mount. However, just as important, is learning to understand the Mental and Emotional state of mind of the horse. As each riding student advances in his or her training, we will teach them how to recognize the feelings and thinking of the horse. For example, why does your horse not want to cross that stream, go over that jump, go through that gate, transition smoothly from a walk to a canter, step onto a bridge, go by that bush, or take the correct lead? The answers to those questions may be as wide and varied as the response the rider should take to the "problem." Too many riders respond to situations such as these with the "universal solution" of kicking and whipping and forcing the horse to "obey." While this may provide the desired short-term result, it may also create more long-term problems. 

Since we teach our students to understand the "Why's," they will become more adept at "problem solving" issues that come up during riding situations. There are many reasons a horse may exhibit behavior undesirable to the rider. Examples of some of the questions the rider should understand the answers to are: Is the horse just being "stubborn?" Or, is he afraid? Is he "testing" the rider? Or is he just in a playful mood? Has he lost his concentration? Or, is the rider giving him incorrect signals? Is he confused? Is he being "mean and ornery?" Is he tired? Bored? Hurt? This list goes on, and becoming a good rider depends upon understanding the horse and his reasons for acting the way he is acting. Once a rider learns to understand the reasons (and they may be different from one time to the next, with the same horse and situation), the rider can then work with the horse to overcome the problems or difficulties. Learning the language of the horse involves watching and feeling many things simultaneously while doing ground work and while riding.

Students at Dogwood Knoll Farm will learn to recognize ear movements, eye and body movements, muscle tension, and many other signals of the horse language to help them become better riders in partnership with the horse. Learning to feel the horse's muscle tension or relaxation under the saddle comes with lots of experience and lots of pointers from the instructor. Depending upon the horse's behavior and language signals, the rider should be able to know how to react. Should the rider show authority, encouragement, sympathy, direction, or confidence? The students at Dogwood Knoll Farm will learn these things all along the way, in conjunction with improving their physical riding skills, as they advance in their lessons. We believe that the key to becoming a good rider is learning to understand the horse and learning to get the horse to understand you, the rider. Our lessons are always full of the explanations as to the why's: Why the horse is doing something and why the rider should react in such a way. The students are never told to do something without the explanation of why it is important. Building a trust and confidence between horse and rider to forge a true partnership will enable a joyful experience for both.

 Have you ever been injured by a horse? Have you ever had your foot stepped on by a horse? Horses' brains have been wired to remember the negative/ survival memories. These survival memories have evolved the need to remember danger, potential danger and to act as a herd when another horse is acting suspiciously. They don't always have the same thought patterns as humans, so if we plan to ride them, train them, teach them and teach with them it is in our best interests to understand them as much as possible. The next time a horse shies, bucks, kicks out or even if one stands on your foot, then try to understand from their point of view what made them do it. Real horse people don't blame horses; they only continue to deepen their understanding of them.



Safety
The Dogwood Knoll Farm Philosophy is always "Safety First." Fun, enjoyment, and learning are important components to our program and they are always implemented by the use of games and various exercises. Every lesson and skill we teach, whether to our oldest adult student or our youngest Day Camper is geared to the individual’s skills and physical capabilities. It is wonderful that your parents are investing in you to become an equestrian, but this is a privilege that you should not take advantage of.

We teach lessons Beginner through advanced, Children (Ages 5+) through Adults.
Whether riding for pleasure or training for competition, you will be provided with safe, fun, confidence-building instruction.
We offer private and Group Lessons (only up to four riders). Lessons are offered: at very flexible times. Please call or e-mail to set up your lesson schedule!
All students must wear Certified ASTM Equestrian Helmets which we do not provide as a rule.
All students must, to the best of their ability, follow the directions of their Instructor.
Our selection of lesson horses and ponies are well trained, very safe and excellent teachers. They were chosen for their gentle natures and patience for human errors no matter how large or small.
Abilities and contributing factors (such as weather conditions) are all considered for every lesson.
One lesson a month will be a non-riding lesson, which will include anatomy, tack care, barn rules, and other aspects of horsemanship, which cannot be attended to while mounted.
We teach safety to our students, because horse & ponies are large animals, not cute puppies. Safety must be followed at all times. Our barn rules are only in place for your own protection and the safety of others. All students and visitors must comply with the Safety Rules posted in the barn.

Lessons