Riding school INFORMATION


Getting Started

  • Lessons may be scheduled with Hidden Hills by calling or texting 423-488-3993 or emailing info@hiddenhillsfarm.com,  or by calling/emailing a Hidden Hills contract instructor directly (find their information here). 

  • If you are new to horseback riding, you will often start with at least one private lesson to introduce you to horses.  Once a new rider is competent with handling their horse on the ground and basic riding at the walk, we encourage riders to join group lessons.

  • If you have previous riding experience, your first lesson at Hidden Hills will be a private Evaluation Lesson.  It will consist of a barn orientation, tacking/untacking procedures, and a brief riding evaluation to help us determine which class level would be the best for you.  Evals are $40 and may be booked with any Hidden Hills instructor.  From here, your instructor will recommend a riding group or set up private lessons with you. 

    • Private or Group? We encourage riders to join our group lessons for several reasons:  1.  It’s more fun riding with a group!  2.  Learning happens during direct instructor interaction and by watching other riders; and 3.  It is more cost effective.   Private lessons are great for students wishing for one-on-one instruction.  All of our lessons, private or group, include tacking/untacking the horse, about 30-45 minutes of mounted and/or unmounted horsemanship instruction in the arena or on the trail, and some barn chores.

  • Riding Levels (click here to see the skills learned in each level):

    • Pony Pals (ages 5-7; balance and basic aids at the walk):  These 15-30 minute lessons use games and riding exercises to help young riders develop balance and become familiar with horses.  Generally taught by Junior Instructors (15-18yo) under the supervision of an Instructor.

    • Level 1 (generally ages 8 and up; ground handling and aids at the walk):  Students learn basic ground handling of the horse, general horse/barn/arena safety rules, grooming, tacking and untacking, and how to use the basic aids to direct the horse at a walk.  Usually these are private lessons, preparing students for group lessons. 

    • Level 2 (beginning trot):  Riders no learn how to ride in the arena with a group, start identifying footfall  and start developing rhythm at the trot. 

    • Level 3 (trot and beginning canter, crossrails):  Riders should  be able to tack/untack independently or with minimal help.  Now riders solidify the trot:  sitting, posting on the correct diagonal, and two-point.  They also begin learning the basics of jumping and start the canter.

    • Level 4 (canter and jump): 

    • Other riding options: Some seasons we offer other riding opportunities, such as Drill Team, Vaulting, or a Trail Riding Group. Check to see what's available!

Lesson Fees

  • The cost varies per session, depending on the number of lessons per session.  In general, when paid in full per session:

    • Private Lessons (age 7 and up):  $45/60 min. lesson; $25/30 min. lesson

    • Semi-Private Lessons (2 students, ages 8 and up):  $35/60 min. lessons

    • Group Lessons (3-5 students, ages 8 and up):  $35/90 min. lesson

    • Pony pals:  Ages 4 , $10 for 15 minutes; ages 5-7, $20 for 30 minutes

    • Lessons paid for individually:  add $5/lesson.

  • Lesson payment is due at the beginning of each session.

  • Cash or check is the preferred method of payment, though we can take credit card payments with an added 3% service charge.  

Cancellation/Missed Lesson Policy

  • Cancellations must be made at least 4 hours prior to your lesson time or your lesson will be forfeited.  Missed lessons may be made up at no extra charge by attending another scheduled same level group lesson if space is available (student’s regular horse may not be available), a Sunday Youth Trail Group (sign up required) or the make up/optional lesson between sessions (sign up required).  Make up lessons must be scheduled in advance, and may not be made up after the new session begins. 

  • Classes cancelled by Hidden Hills due to instructor unavailability or inclement weather will either be rescheduled or will be credited to the student’s next session.  No refunds will be given.

  • Cancellations may be made by calling or texting your instructor (preferably) or Tara at 423-488-3993.

Procedures for Inclement Weather

  • We are thankful to have a covered arena so that lessons can generally carry on despite the weather.  Plan for your lessons unless your instructor calls you to reschedule.

  • If you choose to cancel or reschedule due to inclement weather, please contact your instructor at least 4 hours prior to your lesson.  Cancellations due to extreme weather conditions may be waived from the 4-hr Cancellation Policy.

  • If it is below 40⋄F, it is usually too uncomfortable to ride, though some riders are die-hards!  Please contact your instructor to confirm a cancellation.

Lesson Procedures

  • Hidden Hills teaches total horsemanship from the ground up. Toward that end, we teach our students how to prepare their horses for their lessons and how to clean up afterward. 

  • Do not handle horses without first checking in with your instructor.  Do not mount your horse until your instructor is ready.

  • After your lesson, you will untack your horse, unless another student is waiting to use your horse in the next lesson.

  • Parents are welcome to drop their children off or stay, but instructors do prefer that parents give instructors the courtesy of teaching uninhibited.

  • We encourage our students to participate in the schooling shows and other events hosted at Hidden Hills and off site.   These are great ways to “show off” learned skills and discover strengths and weaknesses in student riding.  Ask your instructor about upcoming events and how to prepare for it.  All events will incur extra fees. 

  • Level 3 students ages 12 and up may help with Pony Pal, Level 1, and Level 2 lessons as approved by their instructor for reduced rate practice rides.

What to Wear

  • Approved riding boots, jeans or breeches, and helmets are absolutely mandatory for all lessons at Hidden Hills, including Evals. 

  • Hidden Hills provides helmets for beginning students.   After that, I’m sure you’ll be ready to wear your own sweat!  Your own helmet must be SEI/ATSM Approved - look for the certification sticker inside the helmet.

  • For your safety, no tennis shoes, hiking boots, or “equestrian style” fashion boots once your rider starts trotting, though we recommend proper riding shoes from the beginning.  No sandals or open-toed shoes are appropriate ever, and lessons may be forfeited if proper riding shoes are not worn.

General Info

  • PAYMENT: Payment is due in full by the beginning of each session.

  • CANCELLATION POLICY: Cancellations must be made with your instructor at least 4 hours prior to your lesson time or your lesson will be forfeited.

  • MISSED LESSON POLICY: We are sorry that we cannot guarantee a make-up for a missed lesson. It is important that you give proper notification if a lesson is to be missed. As long as proper notification has been given, private lessons may be rescheduled within the session if an instructor can do so without much trouble. A missed semi-private or group lesson may be made up in another same- or lesser level group if there is room. A private make-up lesson may also be scheduled, if possible, though regular private lesson fees will apply. Any possible make-up must be made up within the session of the missed lesson (or the week after if during the last week of the session).

  • You may credit 1 missed lesson a session to the riding session immediately following the missed lesson, up to 4 credits per calendar year. If you know you will miss more than 2 lessons per session, you may choose to pay for lessons weekly at $5 extra per lesson, keeping in mind that students paying in full for the session will have priority to all lesson slots and you may lose your desired spot.

  • Make up lessons may not be made up after the new session begins.

  • Classes cancelled by Hidden Hills due to instructor unavailability or inclement weather will either be rescheduled or will be credited to the student’s next session. No refunds will be given.

  • ATTIRE: Long pants, closed toed shoes, and an ASTM certified riding helmet are required for all riders. We provide helmets for new riders. Students in Level 2 and above should have their own helmets and proper riding boots (smooth sole with 1” heel). For examples of proper attire, check out the examples we put together here.

  • Our Rider Apparel Exchange is a great place to exchange, buy, or donate your good, clean used riding clothes and shoes! All items, unless otherwise marked, are $10 or can be exchanged.

  • Want to know what’s going on? Check out our Facebook page! Hidden Hills Farm & Saddle Club.

The Beginnings of a Horse Girl

 When the horse's hoof still weighs more than you do . . .

When the horse's hoof still weighs more than you do . . .

 And they're too tall to groom . . .

And they're too tall to groom . . .

 And, if no one's around to help you ride a horse, there's always a bucket!

And, if no one's around to help you ride a horse, there's always a bucket!