Did you know that Maryland is home to over 700 licensed stables? Many of those offer riding lessons to everyone from beginners to advanced riders. From pleasure riding to the competition ring, Maryland lesson barns have a lot to offer! But how do you know which barn is the right fit for you? Take a look at these tips on finding a suitable lesson barn and read The Equiery’s full “Learn the Ride” guide at https://equiery.com/the-equierys-learn-to-ride-guide/

1. Stables licensed through the Maryland Horse Industry Board (Maryland Department of Agriculture) are inspected annually to ensure that the horse care and riding equipment meet certain minimum standards. MHIB licensing does not ensure the quality of instruction.

2. Maryland does not require instructors to be certified or licensed, however there are many national and international programs that offer teaching certifications. In addition, many colleges offer equine studies degrees which include certification programs or their equivalent. Please note, there are many outstanding instructors who hold no certification whatsoever.

3. One of the best ways to learn more about an instructor before signing up for a lesson program is to watch them teach a few lessons and use your own judgment.

4. Ask yourself the following questions to help narrow down your lesson stable search:
a. Are you looking for a stable that caters strictly to adults? Strictly children? Or a mix of both?
b. Do you know if you want to ride English or Western?
c. Do you want, generally, to ride for pleasure or do you have the goal of competing?

5. After calling a few lesson stables in your area to see if they may be the right fit, visit them in person and meet their staff, instructors, horses, etc. Be sure to call ahead to find out if there are specific times to visit. Some stables offer open houses and introductory lessons.

Below is a list of Maryland’s licensed lesson stables with Horse Discovery Centers highlighted in red. For more information about stables list in bold, please see their ads in this issue of The Equiery.

Is your barn not on this list? Call 1-800-244-9580 to be added to The Equiery’s Lesson and Boarding Stables online directory and check your license status with the Maryland Horse Industry Board at https://portal.mda.maryland.gov/ License renewals are due by June 30!