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Is Full Training Board Standard for H/J Programs in Northern Virginia?

As you look at options at either your current barn or another, I would also inquire about half lease options. That’s where we started with my daughter before purchasing a horse. It gave her a consistent horse to ride and bond with, two lessons, and one independent ride a week for half the monthly cost of ownership (and in our case no long-term commitment). For us it helped us decide we wanted to step up to full ownership.

Even if you end up going down the path of purchasing, if your daughter really only wants to ride three days per week it might be worth asking the trainer whether they have another student who would want to lease half the horse/pony from you.

You could also ask if your trainer would be interested in partially leasing the horse/pony from you for school horse lessons - a friend of ours did this quite successfully with her horse, leasing 1/3 of him back to the barn to use for lessons two days per week. You would want to have a clear understanding of what the horse would be used for, how much the workload would be, what type of lessons, etc. to go down this path, though.


Thank you so much - good idea! Half leasing does seem like an option that could work for us.

Just curious but doesn’t the kid ever get to ride the pony without instruction?

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If we owned or leased our own pony, then yes. But currently just able to lesson as part of the lesson program. The lessons are only 30 minutes, so even at 2-3x week it’s not a lot of time in the saddle and a free ride or two I think would really help.

I’m wondering this too. I learned to ride at a little hunter barn. I loved my weekly lesson and going to local shows but I also loved to hang out at the barn on weekends and breaks from school. You could rent one of the school horses and ride on your own. As I became a better rider, my friends and I would get to ride horses that needed to be ridden or we would exchange chores (tack cleaning, moving jumps, cleaning stalls) for riding time. I also did some half-leasing. Other than our weekly lesson and at shows, we rode unsupervised. Sometimes on the property, sometimes off because there were woods and trails and dirt roads in the area where the stable was located.

I have fond memories of riding on my own or with friends when I was growing up. Maybe that isn’t allowed as much now because of liability. My friends and I definitely did some things that we shouldn’t have been doing! :laughing:


I was just going off of what the OP had stated as their expected schedule. I agree the kid should ideally be riding more and spending time practicing without the help of a trainer, but if their schedule doesn’t allow for that, the pony may need someone else to work him in order to stay fit and properly exercised.

OP, feel free to PM me. I thought you were a parent from my barn until you said $2500 a month for training board! I’m in Loudoun and pay $1500 a month for 4 rides a week and full care board (no grooming). The barn is not fancy but the program and trainer are great. She mostly focuses on kids/ponies and could be a good fit for you. I think if you had your own pony she would recommend a partial training program, but to be honest she doesn’t have a lot of kids with their own ponies - most of them half lease hers.

FWIW, my horse has had a lot of issues over his life with injuries etc. and we’re going on 3 years of boarding at this barn and he is thriving.

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I figured as much but I asked anyways.

In my thinking ( and as I was as a kid). When you have a horse to ride why would you do anything else after school or on weekends?? OP not having their own horse would make it a different situation but I was going off their desire to buy or lease a pony of their own and the child would ride on non lesson days.

I mean, I want to ride every day too, but there are a LOT of reasons kids (and adults) can’t ride every day after school or on weekends. Parents schedule, family obligations, siblings with after school activities, and school related sports all come to mind. Many barns kids can’t just be dropped off at either. Someone needs to be supervising kids who are not at a level of independence yet. Non-horsey familys struggle with the idea that horses are a full-time commitment.


I see your point and coming from a non- horsey family myself I realize people have other things they may want to do. I have no idea how old this young person is, I rode unsupervised growing up, so I tend to think more along those lines.

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So did I, but its less common now. Many kids at my barn still do it, but usually the more educated kids.

That said, I haven’t been out to ride since Thursday… hopefully I can get out tomorrow :disappointed_relieved:. The joys of adult responsibilities!

Sent PM - thank you!