Karen Nelson & Robert Baron
|Hillside Stable-Lesson/lease FAQ
- We are located about 5 minutes past where Highway 16 and highway 21 intersect, near
the Hamlet of Ardrossan (East of Edmonton). The roads are paved right to our driveway!
As we are a private facility, we require appointments before new visitors come to our
- How warmly do I need to dress for winter lessons?
- Our barn is kept at approximately 10 C, and the arena is kept at approximately 5 C in the
winter. We suggest that riders dress in easy to remove layers that they can remove as
they warm up during their lesson. It is important that students have warm clothes for
catching and turning out their horses as most lesson horses are kept outside.
- All lessons are currently taught by Karen Nelson, who has been teaching for close to 2
decades, and has show experience in Dressage, Hunters, Jumpers, Halter, and
Western Pleasure. .
- Do you offer private lessons?
- Lessons contain anywhere from 1-4 students. The size of the lesson is determined by
demand for that lesson time, as well as the instructors preference for a particular
student's needs. We find that many students can be helped when able to watch another
student, but that having too many in a group can make it difficult to address specific
issues. There is no extra charge for private lessons.
- Do you provide tack? What do students have to provide?
- We have tack and grooming equipment for our lesson horses. Students are welcome to
use their own brushes, halters and saddle pads providing they do not use them
elsewhere. If students have their own saddle, we can try it on their horse to see if it fits.
Students must ride with an Approved riding helmet, and must have safe boots or shoes
with a low heel. We highly recommend getting paddock boots and half chaps, as having
the proper riding equipment can make finding your position so much easier! Long pants
and suitable (non poofy) tops are required as well.
Students should also have boots/jackets suitable for catching their own horse. We do
have some rubber boots available for muddy days.
- What is your lesson cancellation policy?
- We prefer to have at least a days notice that you will not be attending your lesson. You
can then either skip having a lesson that week, or we can try fitting you in to a make up
lesson if possible. We would prefer riders who are ill not come to lessons! If the weather
is colder than -20 lessons are cancelled as it is hard for the horses to come in and out
of the heated barn. If the roads are dangerous due to severe weather, we do not expect
students to come for lessons, but please call and let us know as soon as possible if we
should not expect you.
- When do you start your next series of lessons?
- We change our lesson schedule seasonally, but new students can start at anytime there
is an opening in the schedule.
- I have a busy schedule. Can I take a lesson every second week instead of weekly?
- Our interest is in teaching students who respect that riding is a physical activity that
requires a regular commitment to continue to improve. Students that are unable to make
a commitment to ride at least once a week will be low in our scheduling priority (the
exception being haul in students who ride at home). We are able to be somewhat
flexible for shift workers who may have to change when they ride week to week.
- I am bored at my current barn and want to jump bigger! Will I be able to do that at Hillside?
- Hillside owned horses are rarely allowed to jump bigger than 2'6". We may make
exceptions if the horse is being full leased, however in general we limit the height the
horses jump to preserve their long term soundness. Riders wishing to move beyond
that height should consider leasing a privately owned horse or purchasing a horse. That
said though, we have many ways to challenge our riders and improve their skills without
making the jumps bigger!
- I want to start showing. Can I do that with Hillside?
- Students who lease or own a horse can join us at local area shows. Students will be
required to pay for the required memberships, entry fees, hauling fees, and coaching
fees. We do occasionally hold in barn events for students and boarders at Hillside, that
all students can participate in as well.
- What can I do on my lease ride?
- Lease rides are meant to give riders a day to practice basic skills on their own and to
give them a sense of ownership towards their lease horse. From the horse's point of
view, lease days are meant to be a day they get a break from lessons, and a familiar
rider. There is NO jumping allowed on lease rides, and horses should not be worked
harder than they are in lessons. Lease rides are not the time to try something new
without asking permission first.
- Can anyone lease a horse?
- Riders must have basic riding skills and have proven themselves to be able to handle
unexpected situations when riding. For riders to be able to ride on their own, they must
also display adequate knowledge to know if their horse is sore or sick, and to display
good judgement when riding. Lease riders must be in lessons.
- If I lease a horse, when can I ride?
- Lease riders select a day or days of the week for their lease ride, and can ride during
operating hours, respecting the same arena use rules as our boarders. Horses are not
used in lessons on their lease day. Preferred days for lease rides are Friday-Monday.
- We do not teach western, however if a student wants to try western a few times we may
be able to accommodate this.
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- We accept cash or cheque. Students can pay per lesson or weekly. Leases are to be
paid at the beginning of the month for that month.
- I haven't ridden much/at all. Is someone there to help me to tack up?
- Trial and beginner lesson rates include assistance in tacking up and untacking.
Beginner lessons include regular theory lessons as well as riding so that you learn how
to tack up and care for your horse. Regular lesson do not include an assistant, however
as the barn is attached to the arena, help is never far away!
- Will I ride the same horse each week?
- Some of our students ride the same horse each week, and others prefer to rotate
between a few horses. Typically we find riders improve the most if they ride a consistent
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