South Mountain School of Horsemanship, LLC.


No, you don't need your own horse to take lessons at SMSH. We have safe and capable lesson horses for you to learn on! It's best to learn on a calm and well trained horse - then later on you can take your knowledge and apply it to your own horse when you're ready for one!
You will need your own boots and helmet if you plan to continue riding long term. For your first four riding lessons at SMSH you may wear closed toe shoes (sneakers) as well as borrow a helmet. After that you must invest in your own boots and helmet. .
Nope! SMSH takes adult riders of any level. Many of our students have started here without any prior knowledge.
South Mountain School of Horsemanship primarily focuses on western riding. We do have English saddles, and all of our students are encouraged to dabble once they have learned the basics of position, steering, and balance! Many of our students enjoy learning about jumping small obstacles (jumping would fall under the umbrella of English riding). No matter which kind of riding you choose, good basics should span both of the major disciplines.
Yes. For the well-being of our lesson horses our weight limit is 200lbs.
Unfortunately, trail rides at SMSH are only available to current students, no matter the rider's ability. We cannot make any exceptions, sorry!
Yes! Feel free to bring someone with you to your first lesson (or any lesson). Anyone coming with you however should also be wearing closed toe shoes for their safety around the horses.
All first time students sign up through our Scheduling Page. You'll need a debit or credit card to sign up and pay for your Introductory Lesson. No lessons can be scheduled until paid in full. Once signed up, you'll receive a waiver as well as a our current policies - all first time students must print the waiver and policies, fill them out, and bring them to the first lesson.
Private lessons are great for students who: have little to no riding experience, who aren't available to take lessons every week, or for students wanting to work on a specific goal. Group lessons are great for students who can trot and post independently, learn best by watching others, or who want to make new friends while learning. Group lessons only work if a student is able to commit to weekly lessons - otherwise students will find themselves falling behind the rest of the riders in their group.
While there's nothing you need to do, if you're nervous you can watch videos to prepare for what you'll be learning in your first lesson. Look up videos on YouTube about putting on a rope halter, leading a horse, grooming a horse, and tacking up with a western saddle. You can also watch these videos, HERE and HERE to start understanding the knots for your cinch and latigo.
Yes, absolutely! Pay-as-you-go Private Lessons are the best option for anyone that doesn't have time to commit to weekly lessons and can be scheduled whenever your schedule allows. For anyone serious about learning how to ride, please remember that at the end of the day riding is a sport, and a very technical one at that. Progress will be considerably slower without consistent lessons or time in the saddle. One lesson per week is the bare minimum for anyone wanting to make consistent progress. ***With all of that being said, each student is on their own path! If you are just wanting to have fun and don't mind slightly slower progress, you are still welcome here!
When emailing, please include the following information:
1. Student age (this is an adults only program, but an age range will help in determining what groups you might feel the most comfortable in).
2. Student experience level or skill level.
3. Student availability (weekdays before 7am and after 4pm, weekends before 10am, etc).
4. Student goals.
Unfortunately, lesson spots cannot be held indefinitely for students that need to take a break. It's understandable that life happens and students might need to hold off on their lessons for a few weeks or months, but in the mean time the lesson horses are still here eating, drinking, and requiring lots of care. Please understand that lesson spots will be filled as soon as possible from our waiting list. When you're ready to come back to lessons you'll be added to the waiting list if your ideal time and day spots are not currently available.
The more notice you can give, the better! SMSH is devoted to providing our hard-working lesson horses with the very best care possible. Providing notice of your withdrawal will give us time to start contacting the students on our waitlist to fill your spot.

Should a student wish to withdraw from riding lessons, he/she must fill out the one page SMSH Withdrawal Form. Withdrawal forms must be received before the 1st of the student's final month of lessons. Students will be billed for the next billing cycle if the withdrawal form is not received before the 1st. Example: If you want May to be your last month of lessons, you must submit your withdrawal form by April 30th at the latest.
Special events at SMSH are reserved for students that take weekly lessons and are enrolled in AutoPay.
Lessons begin and end on time. Please do not come more than 10 minutes early to get your horse ready for lessons. The gates might be closed altogether, or another lesson may be in progress. It's very hard to focus on the student taking their lesson when other students are showing up and asking questions or pulling horses out of their stalls. If you arrive too early for your lesson, feel free to pet the horses or sit quietly and watch the ongoing lesson! Remember, any student taking a lesson deserves the instructor's full attention - please don't interupt lessons unless there's a problem of some kind.
The more horses you ride the better! Every horse has something to teach you! We want you to enjoy your lessons and have lots of fun, but it's also our job to educate you! We do take into consideration everyone's favorite horses, but please be open to riding new horses - if you are put on a new horse it is always with the hopes that you will learn something new. You will never be put on a horse that we don't think you're capable of handling. Safety first!
Ride and work out regularly! Riding is a sport and must be practiced. The more time you can spend at the barn or in the saddle the better! Open Rides are offered for students that want to come practice on their own. Open Rides are somtimes left off the schedule, but if you're interested just let us know and we will make it happen! Don't forget to work out, and then work out some more. Cardio is good, but riding takes a lot of core and leg strength. Lift weights, do pilates, and try yoga.
Work out! Gain some muscle and work on your balance. Pilates and Yoga are usually a great place to start, but anything you can do to become a better athlete will help you in the saddle. Between lessons it is also very helpful to watch videos online, read articles, or borrow books from the library. We also have quite a few books that we are happy to lend out to students.
Students can stay on a pay-as-you-go plan, or enroll with an SMSH AutoPay account.
Your payment reserves your lesson spot and ensures that you get your preferred lesson time each week.
Unfortunately we do not issue these, but we can schedule make-up lessons. Students enrolled in AutoPay are eligible for 12 make-up lessons every year with proper notice.
SMSH is up and running all year long. Your lessons will continue indefinitely until you withdraw.
No problem! Simply fill out our short SMSH Withdrawal Form and submit it by the 15th day of your last month of lessons. You can find more details on our Policy and AutoPay documents
SMSH is devoted to providing our hard-working lesson horses with the very best care possible. Providing notice of your withdrawal will give us time to start contacting the students on our waitlist to fill your spot.
Yes! Students enrolled in AutoPay are eligible for 12 make-up lessons every year. If you need to cancel, simply let us know by filling out the SMSH Cancellation Form. Whenever you need to skip a lesson, please let SMSH know as soon as you can so that we can offer your spot to students in need of a make-up.
If you still have make-up lesson credits, there's no need. Simply let SMSH know what lessons you'll miss and then make them up when you come back. The more notice you can give the better, that way other students may use your missed lessons as their own make-ups. If you would prefer to withdraw, just be aware that your lesson spot may not be available when you come back.
All students enrolled in AutoPay will be charged monthly on the 25th day of the month proceeding the month for which the lesson cost is applied.