A State By State Guide To The Cost Of Horseback Riding Lessons

If you’re thinking about learning to ride a horse one thing you’ll be wondering is just how much horseback riding lessons really cost. Sadly this is something that there’s no simple answer to with costs varying drastically from state to state. While it’s easy for me as a riding instructor to tell you how much I charge, if you live in a completely different state that won’t help you which is why I decided to write this article. I’ve spoken to hundreds (if not thousands) of riding instructors and schools across the country to find out how much you could expect to pay for horseback riding lessons.

How much do horseback riding lessons cost? The cost of horseback riding lessons will vary depending on the state you ride in but the cheapest you can expect to pay is $25 an hour for a group lesson with up to six other riders. At the other end of the spectrum, you can pay $200 an hour for a private lesson with a medal-winning instructor.

There are many of different factors that play a part in how much lessons cost. For example, if your instructor has qualifications you’ll pay more than you would if they didn’t. Also, the discipline you choose to specialize in (if any) will also affect the price. As will whether you have private or group lessons or if your instructor travels to you and where you live, for example, group lessons in Idaho will cost around $40 while private lessons in California could cost $100. That said though, the table below will give you the average cost (as well as the upper and lower costs) for each state. 

StateCost of private lessons (Average / Range)Cost of group lessons (Average / Range)
($55 – $75)
($35 – $55)
($65 – $95)
($50 – $90)
($60 – $75)
($40 – $60)
($60 – $125)
($50 – $125)
($50 – $150)
($50 – $76)
($40 – $110)
($40 – $60)
($55 – $110)
($40 – $50)
($65 – $80)
($35 – $65)
($60 – $120)
($60 – $90)
($30 – $120)
($35 – $35)
($50 – $75)
($50 – $67)
($40 – $150)
($30 – $50)
($50 – $100)
($45 – $50)
($60 – $80)
($50 – $65)
($60 – $110)
($40 – $50)
($40 – $130)
($35 – $76)
($75 – $107)
($44 – $60)
($56 – $120)
($40 – $60)
($65 – $75)
($45 – $60)
($72 – $150)
($25 – $67)
($50 – $100)
($50 – $85)
($30 – $87)
($40 – $69)
($47 – $130)
($50 – $85)
($45 – $65)
($30 – $50)
($50 – $73)
($40 – $61)
($65 – $85)
($36 – $65)
($60 – $75)
($40 – $70)
($40 – $133)
($40 – $62)
New Hampshire$75
($50 – $100)
($45 – $75)
New Jersey$117
($74 – $160)
($50 – $80)
New Mexico$100
($70 – $130)
($40 – $60)
New York$137.50
($75 – $200)
($40 – $70)
North Carolina$82.50
($55 – $110)
($45 – $73)
North Dakota$95
($40 – $150)
($40 – $76)
($85 – $100)
($50 – $80)
($40 – $150)
($23.50 – $55)
($50 – $95)
($30 – $65)
($60 – $150)
($35 – $50)
Rhode Island$97.50
($55 – $140)
($40 – $70)
South Carolina$67.50
($55 – $80)
($45 – $65)
South Dakota$47.50
($40 – $55)
($32 – $44)
($60 – $80)
($25 – $65)
($40 – $88)
($30 – $65)
($50 – $135)
($55 – $70)
($40 – $70)
($25 – $80)
($50 – $230)
($45 – $87)
($50 – $110)
($30 – $70)
West Virginia$72.50
($45 – $100)
($35 – $75)
($45 – $120)
($35 – $90)
($45 – $65)
($40 – $55)
Average cost of horseback riding lessons, state by state

Mileage fees

While the table above gives you the cost of horseback riding lessons in your state it’s worth pointing out that this is if you go to the stables yourself. If, however, your instructor comes to you, they’ll most likely charge you a mileage fee on top of the cost of the lesson. While this will vary from instructor to instructor, on average they’ll charge $5 for the first five miles and then somewhere between $0.50 to $0.65 per mile after that.

How to save money on horseback riding lessons

Let’s be honest, horseback riding is an expensive pastime, even if you don’t have your own horse but the good news is that there are things you can do to reduce the cost of lessons. In some cases, you may even be able to get a few lessons for free.

Buy in bulk

Paying for each lesson separately is normally the most expensive way of learning. Yes, it makes it easier to budget as you pay a smaller amount each week, but if you can pay for your lessons monthly, bimonthly, or even biannually you’ll reduce the cost a lot. While some stables won’t allow you to do this many will reduce the cost of each lesson if you pay for multiple lessons in one go. Some will even give you a free lesson for every four you pay for.

Help out

This one isn’t for everybody, especially if you don’t have a lot of spare time, but if you’re able to help out at the local riding school they’ll probably pay you with lessons (or if they give you money instead, you can use that to pay for lessons!). If your riding school doesn’t allow this then ask a friend if you can help with grooming, mucking out, and other horsey chores in turn for a lesson. You may only get a few lessons but it will undoubtedly help with the cost.

Look for a junior instructor

Just like so many things in life, you can pay more for an instructor’s experience but everybody has to start somewhere which is why learning with a less experienced instructor can be a good financial idea. They may not have as much knowledge as the owner of the stables but they will already be at a certain level before they can start to give lessons.

Not sure how to find a riding instructor? How to find the right instructor.

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How long does it take to learn to ride a horse?

One thing that everybody wants to know is how long it takes to learn to ride a horse but sadly there’s no simple answer to that question. 

Not only do we all learn at a different pace but how much time (and ultimately money) you put in will make a difference to how quickly you learn. As silly as it sounds, your age will also play a role in the speed with which you learn. As will how easy it is for you to take in new information, and even how much you want to learn.

As a rough guide, it takes around two years of weekly lessons to be able to ride, of course, this is only a guide though.

Want to know more? From beginner to expert: how long it takes to learn to ride.

What’s the best age to learn to horseback ride?

There’s no time like the present and I’d honestly say if you want to learn to ride then you should do it now as there’s no ideal time to learn. Of course, you may be more capable of taking new things in when you’re younger but with age comes wisdom and experience will certainly help you learn.

I’ve taught 5 years olds to ride and have also taught 70+ year olds (one of whom was also blind) so you can see that there’s no perfect time to learn. If you really want to learn to ride a horse then right now is honestly the best time.

Worried you might be too old (or your children may be too young) to learn?  What’s the best age to learn to ride?

Are private or group lessons better?

There’s no doubt that having private horseback riding lessons will help you to learn quicker but sometimes there’s more to something than just doing it as quickly as you can. While private lessons allow for one-on-one instruction some people prefer the social aspect of group lessons and would instead learn in a group.

That said though if you want to learn as quickly as possible but do like being around other people then semi-private lessons may suit you better. They’re smaller groups that tend to have up to 3 to 4 riders and allow for a tailored lesson while still giving you the chance to make friends.

Not sure what type of lessons would suit you? Private or group: what works best for you?

Thinking about learning to ride?

You might enjoy this article on what to expect from your first lesson or this one on understanding what your instructor is saying.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you did I’d be grateful if you could share it please as it would really help me.

Recommended products 

Over the years I have tried hundreds of different horsey products, from various blankets and halters to different treats. Some I’ve loved, others I’ve hated but I thought I’d share with you my top all-time favorite products, the ones I never leave the yard without. I’ve included links to the products (which are in no particular order) that I really think are great.

  • Horse Knots by Reference Ready – If you’re like me and enjoy pocket reference guides then you’ll love this knot tying guide. These handy cards can easily fit in your pocket or attach to the saddle for quick reference. They’re waterproof, durable and are color coded to make them easy to follow.
  • Mane ’n Tail Detangler – Even if you never show your horse you’ll need to detangle his tail from time to time (and possibly his mane too) which is always a challenging chore! I’ve found that if I run a little bit of detangler through my horse’s tails every few days it stops them from getting matted up and makes combing them easy, even if they’re coated in mud. I don’t know if I should admit to this or not but it also works wonders on my hair.
  • TAKEKIT Pro clippers – Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different clippers and while some were obviously better than others I found these to be by far the best. They are heavier than a lot of other clippers but for me, that’s a good thing, it makes them feel more sturdy and hardwearing. On top of that they have a range of speeds so are just as good for clipping your horse’s back as they are his face. I also like the fact that they come in a handy carry case but that’s not for everybody. The company that makes them is super good and incredibly helpful too, a real bonus these days. The only thing I wasn’t keen on was the fact that it doesn’t come with any oil, but that’s not a major problem as it’s not difficult to buy lubricant.
  • Shire’s ball feeder – There are so many boredom buster toys out there but I like to use these every day, regardless of whether or not my horses are bored. I find that it helps to encourage my horses to problem solve by rewarding them with treats (or pieces of fruit) but it also mimics their natural grazing behavior which helps to keep them calm and de-stressed.
  • Horse safe mirror – This is a strange one that many people are surprised about but I like to put horse safe mirrors in the trailers as well as in the quarantine stalls. It helps to prevent the feeling of isolation by giving the impression of other horses being around. Being herd animals horses can get extremely stressed when they feel that they’re on their own but with these stick-on mirrors, they believe that at least one other horse is with them.
  • Rectal thermometer – I know this isn’t glamourous at all but it’s vital for your horse’s well-being to be able to check their temperature and a rectal thermometer is the easiest way of doing this which is why I’ve added it to the list.

Shopping lists

I’ve also put together a few shopping lists of essential items that I’ve found helpful over the years. I’ve broken the lists down into different categories rather than put everything in one massive list 😉

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