There is a long driveway with a gate at the end. Simply pull up to the gate, open the gate, pull through, close the gate behind you, and proceed to the parking area to the left.
The driveway is only wide enough for one vehicle. Do not pass in the driveway. People who have tried to do this have had to call a tow truck to get themselves out of the ditches! If someone is already in the driveway, please wait at the end of the driveway for that person to completely clear the driveway before proceeding. Do not drive or park on the grass. It is a big project to maintain the landscaping at Maplewood and we are proud of all of our lawned areas.
Drive at a walking speed only. There are people, horses, our personal dogs and barn cats about. You can scare horses and cause falls and injuries to riders by "suddenly appearing" from behind bushes and shelters along the driveway.
Our horses at Maplewood are precious to us. Please make sure that if you have visited another farm or stable, do not wear any clothing, footwear, or accessories that have been worn at the other facility without completely cleaning them first (including your boots). Our school horses all have their own tack and grooming equipment. Personal grooming tools, saddle pads, and/or tack are not allowed for use with the school horses. The tack and equipment for each schoolie is also not interchangeable between the schoolies!
To the left of the barn (when you are facing the barn) is a door that is labeled "Lounge". Follow the signs for students to show you where to line up for your lesson. The Lesson Prep Leader will look for you here. For spectators, there is a set of glass doors into the arena with a viewing bench available when lessons are in the indoor arena. When lessons are outside, please feel free to sit in one of the benches or bring your own seating.
The height of the boot doesn't matter, but the heel is VERY important. Without a small heel on your footwear, you won't be able to ride in your lesson. Rubber boots are recommended for spring, summer and fall, because you never know what you might be stepping in! Also, the paths are not paved and can be wet/muddy. Horses, and people, are expected to walk on the paths (yes, through any puddles!), and NOT on the grass. Walking on the lawns when they are wet, either by humans or horses, will destroy the lawns and turn everything to mud. Spectators should also wear appropriate footwear - you won't be walking on sidewalks, so don't wear your best shoes to the barn!
We use a wonderful shared calendar on an app called TeamUp. This is where you can look to verify when your lesson is and to confirm the date/time. We strongly recommend checking the calendar before every lesson because if we need to cancel a lesson for any reason (for example, extreme weather), we will update the calendar first. We will also try to make a post on social media (Instagram and/or Facebook), and possibly send an email, but the calendar will always be updated first, so that is the "go-to" place for the most up-to-date information. You should receive a link to the calendar when you become a regular weekly student, but if you do not have a link to the calendar, please contact Rhonda!
It is important to be on time for your lesson, and it is best to be a little early, rather than being late, so make sure to factor in traffic and weather when planning your visit to the barn. The staff in the barn will expect you at the beginning of the preparation phase of the lesson, and the policy is that there is a maximum 10 minute grace period before the lesson is forfeited. In order to be on time, you need to be in the waiting area in the entry between the Lounge and the Green Barn, properly dressed and with your helmet in hand (or on your head!). This rule is rigidly enforced. Why? The following are only a few reasons:
Equestrian lessons teach much more than riding. You are responsible for preparing the horse through grooming and tacking up. The Lesson Prep Leaders are there to guide and supervise, answer questions, and to help new students learn the processes. The goal is for each student to become independent in the process (over time!).
Care of the horse is always the #1 priority: these equines are our partners, not tools. As part of this partnership they deserve the best care and respect from their riders. This means proper grooming both before and after their rides to ensure that they are always comfortable under their tack and that they do not develop any skin conditions or other problems. Horses that are tacked up on top of dirt and debris are at risk of developing sores and rubs. Horses not groomed properly after lessons are at risk of developing fungal and dermatitis type infections due to the moisture that may be trapped in their coats. Grooming time also helps to ensure that they feel a bond/connection with their riders. A big part of horses’ social interactions is touch. They groom each other in the field to show respect, care, and love and they deserve the same from us. Grooming (especially curry combing) also helps to promote blood flow and will help the horse's muscles to relax and recover both before and after rides. All riders should also be using their grooming time to inspect the horses for any cuts, swelling or bruising which needs to be reported to lesson prep immediately so that it can be dealt with properly. The grooming process could take hours! So we expect at least 30 minutes for those in the Pleasure lesson program, and at least 45 minutes for those in the Recreation and Competition lesson programs (since we expect the Recreation and Competition students to go even further with the care, grooming, and inspection of the horses).
Horsemanship skills are just as important (if not more so) than the riding skills. Should you wish to compete, lease or own your own horse you will need to not only understand why grooming and horse care is so important but also be able to implement those skills consistently and independently. If you do not develop these grooming and tacking skills now then you will have a very difficult time implementing them in situations when you may be on your own.