The Savage Riding Academy delivers equine education in a progressive way to promote comprehensive, deep learning in all aspects of horseback riding and care, as well as life skills that help both in and out of the saddle. We specialize in taking in brand new riders, building a solid foundation, and guiding them up the levels as they learn a variety of equine sports and skills along the way.
We run four semesters throughout the year that are each 12 weeks long, followed by a horse show to celebrate progress with friends and family, and then a week off to make sure we honor the rest required by the superstars of the operation - our lesson horses! Enrollment spots are limited, so make sure to enroll before the semester fills up!
- Our program delivers 60 minute lessons for ages 5+ who want to learn all about horses. They will learn to brush and saddle their horses, ride in a variety of disciplines, and learn all there is to know over the course of their time in the program.
- It is $420 to enroll for the full semester ($35/lesson for 12 sessions) or $240 for a half ($40/lesson for 6). You can schedule, cancel, and reschedule whenever works for your schedule to fit in the 12 lessons.
- Special exceptions can be made for riders under 5 if they are able to be accompanied by a friend or family member who is able to lead them during the lesson until they are old enough to steer on their own.
***We are now booking for Fall Semester***
New Student Enrollment
- All students wishing to join need to complete the Enrollment Form to get enrolled, or added to the wait list in the event of a full semester.
- You will be emailed an invoice for the enrollment type of your choice.
- Once the invoice is paid, you can book, cancel, and reschedule sessions as needed online or through the Savage Riding application (available to download in Google Play or the Apple store)
Our program runs on four 12-week semesters throughout the year. Booking for the upcoming semester will open the month prior to its start date. If you would like to join mid-semester and spaces are available, you can purchase prorated enrollment for the remainder of the time, or book by class. Our booking is done through our Savage Riding app, and allows you to schedule, cancel, and reschedule whenever works for you with no penalties.
Our program is designed to group students by riding level, so when you book, you should select a class at the rider's current level. The levels are made up of a variety of skills that are present in your book, but as a quick summary:
- Level 0 lessons are geared towards learning basic stop, go, and turn controls with an Assistant Trainer at your side.
- Level 1 broadens your control of a horse as you pilot it independently, and you will learn to trot.
- Level 2 begins to push you to trot in patterns and around obstacles, and will teach you how to ask for a canter.
- Level 3 leads to proficiency at the canter across all horse sports, and handling all types of horses to be an independently skilled rider.
- Level 4 is considered Graduation from the program, and will guide you to the specialty of your choosing.
Leveling up will be determined before the end of each semester to allow for accurate class booking for the semester ahead. The rate of leveling up is unique to each rider's coordination, discipline, attendance, and perseverance.
Short of your lesson book, you do not need to bring much to lessons. Any close-toed shoes are appropriate, though something with a heel is safer for riding. We provide certified riding helmets, so you do not need your own, however many students choose to purchase one. The most important thing is to dress for the weather - while we have a climate controlled office and an indoor arena, you will be exposed to the elements, so check the weather and come prepared. We do have weather-based apparel in the office for purchase (fleece tights, riding gloves, neck gaitors, etc).
What makes us unique
Our program is truly unlike any other in the world! We take a progressive and unique approach on teaching the art and science of horseback riding.
Most barns focus on one type of riding (eg. Western), or even one specific sport (eg. Jumping), and their students only get the skillsets and knowledge associated with that. We take students through nearly every discipline and sport as they work through the program, and they will experience the common sports like barrel racing and dressage, but also more rare ones like vaulting and mounted archery. We believe that building a broad foundation helps to deepen skill learning, and gives the riders the power to choose what they really want to specialize in when they graduate the program.
Many barns' focus is on perfection of form and developing a competitive show team to win trophies. We will certainly discuss form and how it impacts your riding, but we're not going to nitpick and nag as you and your body learn. Instead, our efforts go into developing the rider as a whole and creating a deep understanding and connection with horses. What is your horse trying to tell you? How do you and your horse work together to reach a goal? Why did that outcome happen, and how do we address it? How can you bring out the best in both yourself and your equine partner? Beyond horse-specific skills, our program also incorporates mental health, physical fitness, artistic expression, literacy, leadership skills, and so much more during lessons, events, and at home. Winning trophies can be fun, but there is so much more to it than that!
There is no overall licensing branch for riding instructors, so many are just riders or owners of a barn. While you can (and should) learn from all kinds of people, those who have a background in teaching have undergone extensive work to learn how to design learning experiences, make meaning out of daily situations, and build the delicate line of confidence in a student. The founder and main instructor of the Savage Riding Academy is certified in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Teaching English as a New Language, and had six years of public classroom experience prior to devoting her full time to the Academy. All other instructors and assistants are brought up through the program and coached in educational best practices for how to assist students just starting out.
Most barns don't have a curriculum that they follow, and if they do, it includes minimal involvement with skills outside of those directly related to horses. Our curriculum was designed by a licensed educator, and has been revised and reissued for over a decade to make it what it is today. It covers riding skills, horse sports, hippology (knowledge about horses), but also personal skills to develop our community into one that supports one another, builds each other up, and looks for positive leadership opportunities. It also provides opportunities for students to make connections between their "horse life" and home and school/work, so that the hobby doesn't just stay put.
In short, we are here to develop positive people and communities through the power of horses, not just good riders who can go out and win ribbons.
Check in: Please come to the front office before your lesson's start time to check in. You must remain in the office until your instructor comes to get you, and are welcome to any of the activity or library materials while you wait. If you are late and the lesson has started, go straight into the barn to find your instructor.
Grooming: Our lesson format allows about 15 minutes for grooming and tacking at the beginning of the lesson. Our model is a community one, so if you need assistance, reach out to your fellow lesson mates, your instructor, or any other assistant staff you see to make sure you are ready on time.
Payment: Payment is due before the lesson begins in the front office. We accept cash, check, and major credit/debit cards. For students who have enrolled in a semester, you can simply check in. *Electronic invoices can be sent upon request, but must be paid before the next lesson's start date.
Cancellation: Cancellations are allowed up to 3 hours prior to the scheduled lesson via app. If you are enrolled in a semester, it is your responsibility to reschedule before the semester's end. We will almost never cancel due to weather (instead do half inside/outside lessons under 20* and over 90*) or staffing shortages (we'll combine groups and work on a skill that is expandable across all levels). However, in the event we do need to cancel, we will provide additional opportunities for booking before the semester's end.
No Show: Students who do not show up for their scheduled lesson, and did not let the office know in advance will be charged the full rate for that lesson, as preparations for staff and horses were made, and that slot was not reopened for another student who might have been waiting for it.
Kristen Savage has been teaching riding lessons for over a decade, and working with horses for three. She is a certified elementary teacher, and brings her prior public teaching experience into building her lesson curriculum and creating fun and confidence building learning experiences for her students. She grew up in the Hunter/Jumper ring, but also rode in many other English and Western events all throughout her riding career. Her training is focused in Natural Horsemanship, with experience in starting horses, working through behavior issues, and show finishing.