Each horse in our lesson program was trained, and is continually being trained by Sarah. Sarah understands exactly what the horse is capable of and what the rider needs to do to perform a given exercise.
Private Instruction: Sarah will focus on you and your riding - you will work together to meet your riding goals. If showing is a goal of yours, you can work toward it, but showing is a way to validate / demonstrate what you have learned, and not an end in itself.
Several of Sarah's students have entered dressage schooling shows. They found that showing confirmed their riding progress and boosted their confidence. If you do not want to show, perhaps you want to trail ride, ride in a quadrille, or even in a parade. Together, we will develop the best way to find your path.
The horses have been trained by a series of exercises to gradually improve their balance, responsiveness, flexibility, and athleticism. The rider will be trained in these same exercises and will learn not only how to sit on a horse, but how to develop a horse. When riders have demonstrated, to Sarah's satisfaction that they are in sufficient control of their mount, then trail riding in the open hills surrounding the property is an option. Advanced riders may also be given the opportunity to occasionally ride on their own to practice their skills. Any student who has an interest can also learn many horse and barn management skills on a "hang around and learn by helping out" plan. Here, Monica is shown learning how to do a trace clip.
Economic times are hard, but Sarah tries to keep riding an affordable option for her students. Compare the following prices to those at any large riding stable in Bonita or Spring Valley:
Lessons: Individual private lessons are $45 each. A prepaid package of five lessons is $150.
Group Lessons: Some students may desire to ride together, especially for jumping or quadrilles. This can be arranged.
Shows: You will be charged as for one lesson for trailering and coaching at a local show. You will pay the entry and any ribbons you win are yours to keep.
Trail rides: Charged as one lesson or a short trail ride can be included in your regular lesson.
Partial Lease Option: For students who are taking regular lessons, a two days per week partial lease option may be possible.
Sarah offers riding instruction primarily on safe and sane Norwegian Fjord Horses. Advanced riders may have the opportunity to ride an upper level show horse. Riders of all ages and experience are welcome. Riding instruction is done in English saddles, either all purpose or dressage, depending on which style fits the rider best and the rider's goals. Instruction is based on classical dressage principles and is focused on the practical control of the horse and the understanding of how the horse / rider relationship functions. Although body posture of the rider will be addressed (since form follows function) the goal is to develop a thinking, functional rider, not just a pretty rider. We have had some fun playing around with Western Dressage and I’m willing to offer this option as requested, but I do prefer to start my students in Basic English riding.
INSTRUCTOR: Sarah Clarke has been riding since the age of 7, competing over the years in everything from hunters, English pleasure, 3 day event, show jumping, and dressage. Sarah once won a bareback equitation class! Sarah has won year end awards at the state and county level
A signed insurance waiver is required before you handle a horse, or ride a horse.
All riders will wear ASTM/SAE approved safety helmets, as well as shoes or boots when mounted. To make this rule easy to live with, we have plenty of helmets and a few loaner boots.
You will respect your instructor, respect the horses, respect Sarah's stuff, and respect each other at all times.
You will respect yourself - No negative self talk is allowed on the premises.
Sarah has taught her own three children to ride, trained horses from birth through fourth level dressage, and has experience with adult beginners. Sarah also has lots of experience working with children from being a mom, a Cub Scout den leader, a school volunteer, and a Sunday school teacher. Contact Sarah at (619) 871-6821 or through the Contact page if you are interested in riding lessons.
Why Forth Downs is different: