for Riding Lessons thru Horsemanship
Learning to ride thru Horsemanship and loving horses is a one-of-a-kind activity and new to many of our parents and riders.
For the most part, our parents are not 'horse people', and are unfamiliar with this sport, so we go the extra mile to educate and include you about horses and the sport of riding.
Read on to get a feel for the program we offer!
We are a HORSEMANSHIP Program and Riding Lessons is one of the sk
Once you are done reading this page you will have completed Step 1, and will be
Step 2: Pick Your Rider Level!
Please take the next 5 minutes and 15 seconds to carefully read this page and the links contained.
It's important because It's the pact between us that clarifies what we both expect from one another. In furtherance to maintain the integrity of the agreement between us and given our extensive experience in the business we uphold the commitment to the welfare of the horses, riders and parents by delivering our program and business practices precisely as it is stated on our website and communication materials.
Once again, please read so you know what our policies, procedures and programming are before you sign up.
Since many of you are new to the sport of riding and because it is so unique (and fantastic!), we have provided this "Information for Newcomers" section intended to give you the basic knowledge we feel will help you the most right now.
Throughout your time at Clip Clop, we continually inform and educate parents and riders through our Clip Clop Communicator Campaign. You will receive all sorts of super cool horse and rider related information to make sure you are well-informed Rider Mom's & Dad's.
Horsemanship Comes First - from passenger to partner
You will notice in the very word itself that the horse comes before the man. Clip Clop lives this in everything we teach and in how we deliver our program.
The very first thing that non-horse parents will learn is that horsemanship comes before riding - it's the dryland training for the sport of riding. Consider the amount of knowledge and pre-skills necessary for a surgeon to perform surgery BEFORE they get to have a scalpel and a real patient. The same goes for riding.
When riders know how to and take care of their horse(s) - their horses take care of them.
Consider that the horses are living animals...
Horses are Live Animals - there is a code, welcome to the club.
This is the by far, the most vital element to explain to, and thoroughly understand by parents and riders when getting started. Riding is the only sport where a live, and very large, animal is required for participation.
This makes ALL the difference, and it's why this sport is so special.
As professional horsemen we, Clip Clop and it's agents, are required by moral code, and the law, to uphold the standards of horse education, care and love to the horses, riders and parents.
Welcome to the club. You and your riders are part of the horseman's club now!
Two Sets of Expert Skills and Parents are Valued Contributors to Our Horses
In pursuance of teaching riders how to ride - a professional horseman must possess two sets of expert skills; one for teaching riders and one for caring & training for horses.
As the parents of riders, we have learned that you are a critical component to the success of your rider, and in part, a valued contributor to how our horses are treated and respected because you have a tremendous influence as to how your rider will regard horses.
Horses are ever changing biology, and are rarely the same from day to day, and each horse is vastly different making the learning intriguing and never ending.
We explain that when the horses needs are taken care of, then riders have a horse to ride. Its that simple, and its our reality.
For this reason, we help 'non-horse' parents help their 'horse-loving rider' how to learn about and love horse's from the perspective of the horse. After all, we have been brought together by our shared love of the animal, and it only seems logical that we let the horse teach us the best way to learn and love them.
Clip Clop accepts riders aged 5 - 18 years old.
The sport of riding happens all year around and does not have traditional 'seasons' like hockey or basketball mainly due to the needs of the horse who requires love, care, and attention constantly. And because our riders love to ride all year!
Roll Over Clip Clop!
When you register for riding lessons, our registration platform will automatically continue your rider's registration, and 'roll it over' to the next month. Yes, you can manage this.
See the Policies Page for details.
Intermissions- Stopping and Starting Riding Lessons Throughout the Year
Your rider can stop and start monthly throughout the year, taking as many 'intermissions' as you’d love to take. After an intermission your rider will start back at the same level they were at before the intermission.
See the Policies Page for details.
3 Months’ a Charm
We suggest that to gain the most benefit out of your horse experience and investment that you participate for at least 3 months at a time. By doing so, your rider will see marked progress in their skills, and thereby experience the pride of achieving ever progressive confidence and ability in horsemanship and make the effort feel worth it!
4 and 5 Week Months
There are a few times each year that your rider will have 5 lessons in a month because the 52 weeks in a year aren't distributed evenly between the 12 months. Additionally, the months do not stay the same from year to year.
We base our standard pricing on 4- week months because there are many more of them then there are 5-week months- usually 8-10 months are made of 4 weeks.
Usually there two months of the year where your rider will receive 5 lessons and you will see this additional week (lesson) reflected on your GoMotion statement.
Clip Clop Makes it's Own Month(s)
Clip Clop creates it's own months to create continuity throughout the schedule and an equal distribution of lessons per rider and consistency in monthly billing fees. Therefore, you will see that certain months look something like this: Clip Clop April is April 3 - May 1, which ensures that each rider regardless of the day of the week they ride, receives 4 lessons (or 5 for the 5-week months). This way fees are consistent month to month.
Cold Weather - we ride all year inside
Our program runs all year and because of our indoor facility we are able to learn about and love horses in all weather conditions.
We rarely cancel lessons due to weather, however, if road conditions are dangerous due to a serious storm, we will send out an announcement and postpone lessons for that day.
All riders will receive a make up lesson for the lesson missed.
Horsemanship (the whole enchilada)
Horsemanship is a combination of "on the horse" learning and "off the horse" learning.
There is a tremendous amount of information to be learned about horses!
Riding Lessons (half of Horsemanship)
Learning how to ride horses is an incredible gift to give a child.
There is no other activity quite like it.
Please note that we teach riders how to ride vs. how to 'passenger'. That's way too easy to do!
Our riders are taught how to make decisions that influence the horse to submit itself to the control of the rider. Please consider what we are stating here.
This is very different than the "trail ride" or "pony ride", where the horse is in control, and the rider is the passenger, with little to no influence.
Because we teach 'riding'- your rider will be taught based on a progressive set of skills, carefully mapped out, and specific to teaching youth how to bond with horses and gain mutual respect.
We teach the 'aids' (the language used by humans to communicate with horses) of horsemanship; hand, seat, leg, voice, body, and balance through body-awareness, and self-control over balance, emotions, and actions that influence the responses from the horse!
Imagine! Just imagine! How confident and empowered your child will feel when they have a big horse yielding to their lightest 'aid', because your rider learned how to earn respect! - through trust, and leadership. I mean, it doesn't get any better than that!
Woohoo! That's incredible for a youth rider to learn! (pssst....and, we're really good at it!)
Off-Horse Learning (the other half of Horsemanship)
Riding is only half of Horsemanship. In addition to learning how to ride, we lead the industry in teaching Off-Horse Skills, too!
If we were not convicted with the knowledge that the Off-Horse skills was one of our secret ingredients to creating bold, strong, knowledgeable riders, light years faster than by not teaching the skills - we wouldn't do it, because it takes a particular expert skill set and considerable time to create the Off Horse program. It's much easier to mount up riders, teach a basic passenger lesson, and send the riders home, and the non-horse parents would be none the wiser.
But that's not who we are. We made a promise to our horses and to you, that you will receive the real-deal at Clip Clop.
Off-Horse Skills are all the critical skills that create influential vs. passenger riders possible in the first place. It's all those life-saver skills related to keeping a horse alive, healthy, safe; feeding, hoof care, water, leading, vaccinating, deworming, wound care, etc.,
and all the life-saver skills related to keeping the riders healthy, safe, confident, focused and competent; leading, tack & equipment identification, tacking up, tying knots, fastening the saddle, bonding with horses, barn and stable care, etc.,
There are more than 1000 Off Horse skills in Clip Clop to learn throughout the levels!
The riders love learning about horses as much as riding, but often times a few parents struggle with this because some feel they bought their rider "riding lessons" and that's what they expect exclusively.
In addition to a moral and duty bound obligation, we teach Off-Horse skills because it is impossible to separate them from riding. It would be like trying to teach a dancer to dance without teaching them about music. It is an intrinsic part of riding. Without Off Horse skills, trying to learn how to ride becomes discouraging and frustrating and for some riders, impossible.
Off-Horse Learning or "Horse Play", as we call it, will be reserved, as much as possible, for those times when the weather is extremely cold, but, will also be taught throughout the year during ambient weather, but we do our best to reserve the topics for colder weather.
Coldest Place on the Planet
Alberta is one of the coldest places on the planet where horses are ridden formally (lessons, training, etc.) and because of this it is imperative that our riders learn how to take care of horses and look after themselves during the arctic times safely and humanely. Usually, we have 1-2 weeks of the deep freeze, and depending on when it occurs will affect, or not, riding lessons.
Expectations about the riding lessons must accommodate for these limited times.
When the weather is very cold (-15 or colder) we may, or may not ride, for the lesson.
If we feel it's harmless for the horses to be ridden during cold weather (temperature is not the only indicator), the riders will learn how to correctly and humanely ride and take care of horses for our climate.
Most of our Clip Clop horses live outside, blanketed and with winter shelters. Their bodies are able to acclimate to the cold and have an interesting mechanism related to digestion, and the heat produced by the digestive process, that keeps their bodies warm.
A sudden and large spike up or down in environmental temperature (outside paddocks at -15 or colder, to inside stables of +15 and visa versa) can be quite a jolt to the horses body causing a response in heart rate, sweat production, respiration and digestion. If not handled correctly, horses can become very sick.
We carefully manage the horse during spikes in temperature. Our main concern is when they come inside and get exercised; hot and sweaty, and are expected to go back outside. There is not enough time to sufficiently dry the horses.
Therefore, it is our duty, to ensure our riders learn, very early on, how to humanely manage cold weather and horses, and how to adjust their expectations regarding lessons/riding in Alberta during winter.
Thank you for remembering that Horse Play (Off-Horse) will be taught during the cold times, and throughout the year, and thank you for supporting the welfare of the horse and riders by recognizing the vital importance of off-horse learning.
Rider Progression and Recognition- Building a Solid Foundation One Skill at a Time in Our Success Trackers
In fulfilling our promise to you and unlike, in many other stables, Clip Clop has a detailed and expertly developed and implemented horsemanship curriculum that teaches horse care, riding, bonding, and stable management to our riders creating for them a solid foundation of horsemanship.
Our curriculum is called the Passport to Excellence in Horsemanship and has guided more than 5000 riders into becoming well rounded horse people.
To make sure our riders (and parents) know how well they are doing we pay close attention to their ongoing development and our recognition process identifies when a rider has achieved a new skill both off and on the horse.
Riders receive feedback constantly and are praised for their efforts and accomplishments and encouraged to grow and learn in areas requiring more development. Feedback is sent home to parents regularly by way of Success Trackers.
My Rider Already Learned That
To become competent at any skill requires attentive practice, lots of it.
Each skill in itself has different progressive levels of competency to learn. Grooming a horse in LTR 1 is very different than in LTR 2, and so on.
Academically knowing how to do a skill is very different than physically being able to exhibit the skill. Both are required in horsemanship.
Therefore, riders will attentively practice skills that they (and/or you) think 'they already did', but at ever increasing levels of competency both academically and physically.
Dressing Like a Rider- Equipment and Rider Dress
Upon completion of registration parents will receive the Clip Clop Registration Package which contains all the information needed to get their riders started.
Clip Clop supplies the horse, saddle, bridle, instructor and assistant.
The riders supplies their helmet, riding pants, footwear and jacket.
Riding Pants: Dark, solid colors ONLY.
Please note during Covid we have been advised NOT to lend helmets when riders forget theirs. Please, please, please remember your helmet.
Helmets for Their Heads
Concussion Cure, Brain Buckets, Skid Lids, Brain Bonnet, Head Hardware- whatever you call a safety helmet - they are the MOST important piece of safety equipment your rider requires.
We take heads and brains seriously.
We are asked regularly to loan helmets to riders to "see if the they like riding" or "just for the first month" before making the purchase.
The fit of a riding helmet is essential for function and comfort and it is imperative that your child's helmet fits correctly, therefore, and in addition to Covid, we no longer loan or rent helmets for the Riding Lesson Program.
Seasonal Registration Boosts
Although we ride all year Clip Clop, Inc. boosts the program seasonally to make sure everyone is updated on our program offerings, contests, achievements, seasonal changes, and to give friendly reminders to parents with riders on intermissions to get back to the saddle!
It does not mean a “season” or “session” has come an end or a start.
Each season focuses on a different aspect of Horsemanship and we don't want anyone to miss out!
The Seasons of Clip Clop
Fall: September to December
Winter: January to March
Spring: April to June
Summer: June to July
Riders Who Require Extra TLC
We receive many requests to accommodate children who require extra TLC.
Please note that we are unable to accept children whose conditions leave them prone to uncontrolled and unpredictable outbursts of anger, frustration, fear, violence, etc. whereby it puts them, horses, and others in a dangerous situation.
And, we are unable to accept children whereby their conditions leave them unable to hear, see, cognitively process instructions, communicate clearly, and control their body movements that would keep them and others safe on a horse and remain atop the horse.
We encourage you to contact our office and we’d be happy to learn about your child and decide together the appropriateness of our program!
We have colleagues in the industry who run fantastic licensed, therapeutic riding programs, and we can guide you to them.
If you're unsure if we are fit for each other then please call our office and we can make the decision together!