What are your COVID-19 Protocols for Lessons?
Fall 2020 Lesson Notes & Covid Procedures
- New comers please report to the far door of the upper arena barn to meet your instructor/helper and get ready for your lesson (stay left at the fork of the driveway) – You will need to sign a waiver prior to your first lesson
- Please limit the number of people that you bring to the barn each time to 1 essential parent/driver
- Masks must be worn indoors at all times unless mounted and in the arena. (Riders requiring a non-family member as ground leader will be required to wear a mask for their ride)
- Please use the provided hand sanitizer located at the main entrances to the barns before entering.
- Use your own equipment whenever possible (many tack shops are offering discounts on beginner packages right now)
- Touch as little as possible and refrain from entering parts of the barn not necessary to your lesson.
- When using the grooming stalls please use alternating stalls to leave a space in between. There will also be tie areas in the small arena and tie rings on the fence posts of the west sand ring to enable safe distancing while tacking up. Beginner riders or riders with very green horses should be given priority use of the grooming stalls.
- Please use the provided disinfectant spray on anything you touch (cross ties, saddle racks, gates, stall doors etc).
- If you have your own brushes etc please use them! If not, please spray them with sanitizer when you are done grooming.
- At the end of your lesson, masks back on (you may want to use a bit of light string or ribbon so that it can stay around your neck while riding).
- All leather tack (saddle/bridle) must be cleaned with provided saddle soap and a slightly damp sponge after each use. Your instructor will direct you in proper use of these supplies (too much water will damage the leather)
- Be courteous and let others have lots of room when using shared indoor spaces.
- We recommend parents bring their own folding chairs if they are staying to watch.
- We sincerely ask that you maintain the recommended social distancing protocols and follow the rules outlined in the EC/OE return to business frameworks (links below) to keep everyone safe and sane.
What should I wear to my first lesson?
Long pants, a shoe or boot with a small heel, and upper body clothes to suit the temperature. We have a number of helmets for those who wish to give riding a try, but advise that riders purchase their own once they start lessons to ensure a proper and safe fit.
When can I go to horse shows?
Our in house summer schooling show series starts at walk/trot on a lead line, so showing can start almost as soon as rider shows interest and has trainer/ parental approval to do so.
How old do you have to be to take lessons?
It’s not a bad idea to occasionally put 2 or 3 year olds on a pony for a few minutes. 4 year olds can ride longer. At 5 or 6 they can start in lessons.
Do I need any memberships to ride?
Once you start competing in horse shows you will need to join Ontario Equestrian (OE) which provides liability insurance to riders. Its not a bad idea to have this membership even when not showing. The need for further memberships such as Equestrian Canada (EC), Trillium Hunter Jumper Association (THJA), and Ontario Hunter Jumper Association (OHJA) depend on the level at which you are competing.
Do you train horses?
Yes. We take in a number of young and sales horse for training.
Do you have horse camps?
Yes we run summer camp from July to August and a March Break advanced camp. For more information visit our Riding Camp Page
Can I trailer my horse in for lessons
What shows do your riders go to?
Old Orchard Farm currently shows with a large team on the Silver West Circuit at Angelstone Tournaments in the summers and hosts 5 summer schooling shows annually as part of our own Schooling Show series from May to September.
Can I board my horse at Old Orchard Farm?
Boarding is available for horses in training or for people who are actively taking lessons at Old Orchard Farm. We are gradually moving away from an open boarding model.
How long are lessons?
Lessons are 1 hour for Group Lessons, 45 minutes for Private Lessons and half an hour for Tiny Tot Lessons.
Can I ride if I don’t have a horse?
Yes, Old Orchard Farm typically has upwards of 70 horses under our care, separate from boarders. There is bound to be a horse or pony that will suit you.
Do I need my own saddle?
No, OOF School horses have their own saddles. You may be able to use your own if they fit the horse you are riding. Of course you will need your own saddle for your own horse.
Can we ride in the winter?
Yes, we have a large indoor arena with smaller adjoining beginner/lunging and cool out/warm up ring so lessons continue through the winter. The arenas are not heated, so warm layers are a must!
Where can I find out more about what should I expect at my first Lesson?
You can download our ” What to Expect” resource page under PDFs & Downloads at the bottom of this page or by clicking HERE
Where can I download the OOF Schooling Show Program?
You can download our horse show program HERE
How often can/should I ride?
Most people start out riding once a week then move up to 2 lessons per week as they progress. From here, the sky is the limit depending on horse availability and rider commitment. Riders at the top of the sport ride multiple times per day.
Do I need to buy special riding clothes/boots?
You may borrow one of our helmets but most people prefer wearing their own. Paddock boots (ankle high) with chaps (leather pants) or breeches and tall boots are suggested.
Can we get manure for our garden?
Absolutely – we constantly produce it.
Can I take private lessons?
Most people prefer group lessons because it’s fun to ride with the friends you make at the barn but private lessons are available depending on arena/ trainer availability.
What type/style of riding do you teach?
Hunter/Jumper and Equitation
Do you have clinics?
We run at least two clinics with outside trainers per year. The I’m Riding for Erika Lamb Memorial Equitation Clinic in November and a second variable clinic usually held in the spring.
Do you offer trail rides?
We do not offer open riding or open trail riding but we do have trails available for our students and boarders to use.
Are you associated with any riding or horse organizations
We are members in good standing of Ontario Equestrian Federation, Equine Canada, the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society, the Ontario Hunter-Jumper Association and the Association of Riding Establishments of Ontario. We are also active supporters of The Canadian Pony Club, the Ontario University Equestrian Association (OUEA), and Home Barn of the Guelph OCEA Team.
When are lessons available?
Lesson time availability varies greatly from session to session. Keep in mind that it is impossible to accommodate everyone for a private lesson on weekday evenings at 6pm. We work very hard make a schedule that fits everyones needs but some flexibility is greatly appreciated.
Do you have lessons for adults?
Yes! Many of our riders are adults. We have a number of groups for older or returning riders too.
How big are the lessons?
Class sizes vary. We try to keep the classes at 4 to 6 riders.
Is there any where to sit and watch my child ride in the winter?
Yes, we have bleachers in both our lower and upper viewing area with heated lamps.
Where can I find out more about what to expect at my first horse show?
You can download our “Showtime: Prepping for a Show” resource page under PDFs & Downloads at the bottom of this page or by clicking HERE
Do you offer ship in schooling opportunities?
Yes, depending on availabilty of rings. Please visit our Ship in Schooling Page for more information.