When people begin taking lessons, we begin with groundwork to check the student’s ability to communicate and connect with the horse. Groundwork often includes working in the round pen, leading exercises, in-hand work or working on the lounge-line. Groundwork can be incredibly effective at identifying issues and working through resistance before there is an actual problem under saddle.
Horses in residence at The Balance Point Equestrian Learning Center are often used in lessons. The horses used in mounted lessons are trained to work at least one level higher than what their rider is learning. This enables the horses to help teach the riders. The horses only participate in one lesson a day, for no more than two days a week. The other days they are themselves being worked in ground-driving, dressage, trail riding, jumping, and natural horsemanship.
These horses are not the usual lessons horses that you often find at teaching stables. Most of them have been at one time a “rescue” horse and have gone through emotional and or physical rehabilitation. They are all quite sensitive and enjoy the attention of working with students.
Students are encouraged to participate in a variety of equine events. Each experience allows the student to test their understanding and connection with their horse. At horseshows, our goal is to solidify the horse/human relationships. If anyone brings home ribbons–great. If not: did you and your horse have a good time, a safe time? Yes? Then even better. This attitude enables students to do very well in competitive environments; less tension enables better communication and performance.
After students have developed a good seat, they are invited to participate in training trail-rides. The work we do on the trail is a practical application of the practice done in the arena. And again, the emphasis is on paying attention to your horse, and doing only what is best for them. After students reach competency on the trail, I help them find suitable “trail buddies” so they can have a friend to trail-ride with outside of a lesson environment.
Students who take lessons here over a long period of time, are the type of people who are willing to work on themselves to be able to communicate better with their horse (or their adoptive horse).
Students are encouraged to watch other lessons as their time allows. Often several students are all working on the same issues. Auditing is free; I simply ask people watching to avoid being a distraction to the horse or student in the lesson. I also suggest calling the night before to let us know you are coming: 512-718-4088.
Most lessons are private, one-on-one and last about an hour.