Sundance Manor Farms
Thinking Horsemanship Lessons
  • Platinum Lessons in saddle seat or western is approximately two hours of ground/riding time.  Single lesson, Subscription Packages of Four to Sixty Prepaid Discount Lessons and Major Discount Lessons with our Membership Annual Lessons are available without horse ownership.  Major Discount Coaching or Lessons with your horse are available. Contact us for details with your contact information as we may be with the animals or customers.
  • Gold Lessons in saddle seat or western is approximately one hour of ground/riding time. Single lesson, Packages of Four to Sixty Prepaid Discount Lessons and Major Discount Lessons with our Annual Lesson Contract are available without ho:rse ownership. Major Discount Lessons with your horse are available. Contact us for details.
  • Silver Lessons in hunter seat is approximately one (A) or two hours (B) of ground/riding time. Single lesson, Packages of Four to Sixty Prepaid Discount Lessons without horse ownership and Major Discount Lessons with your horse are available. Contact us for details.
  • Bronze Lessons in saddle seat or western is approximately half hour of ground/riding time for Preschoolers and Senior unable to handle the above plans. Single lesson, Packages of Four to Sixty Prepaid Discount Lessons are available without horse ownership. Major Discount Lessons with your horse are available. Contact us for details.
  • Partnership Lessons are contracted lessons approximately two hours ground/riding time per lesson.  This a super deal for you, your family and friends as you create your group lessons with at least two riders and a maximum of four riders. Horse ownership is not necessary but this also includes our boarders who want to include lessons not training with the board of their horse.  Major Discount Lessons with your horse are available. Contact us for details.
  • Driving Lessons is approximately one to two hours of ground/driving time and horse ownership is not necessary.

Riding and driving lessons are one of the most economical ways to enjoy horses.
Our lessons provide instruction for recreational or competition riding and are given on a variety of breeds including the versatile American Saddlebred. We teach Saddle Seat, Hunter Seat, and Stock Seat (Western) with an emphasis on proper equitation, the art of riding. Each "seat" or riding discipline was developed for a specific purpose; however a good foundation of Equitation is universal. For recreational riding, a foundation in proper equitation makes your experiences with horses safer and more fun for you and your horse.

Our extracurricular activities for students include trail riding, tournaments, clinics, shows, and other equine events.Despite our show ring success, we have many students who have no desire to show. Those who choose to show can usually lease a horse for a specific event, from schooling shows to riding or driving in AA-rated shows. Our staff's previous students include World Champion trainers and instructors, an Amateur Owner/Trainer with World Champion title, Endurance Competitions winner, and Dressage rider. A foundation in good horsemanship and equitation is truly universal.

Our farm teaches Thinking Horsemanship from our "horse whisperers" on staff. One enrollment allows you to ride at both farms as well as being allowed to participate in the extracurricular events offered through either location.

Saddle seat is an English style of riding that is used on many breeds.
Through the years we have found this seat to be the best to learn first so that you are able to ride the widest variety trained horses. There are techniques of the other styles of riding that will get you in trouble if the horse is not trained for that discipline. One of our students, who had more than 15 years of hunter experiences and operated a public barn elsewhere, got in trouble when invited to trail ride her neighbors TWH type racking horse. The horse pitched a fit, which shocked the horse's owner and the rider. The hunter rider called us and we taught her saddle seat and how to ride a five-gaited horse. We have not seen the troubled horse, but the "hunter rider" riding saddle seat returned and successfully rode her neighbor's horse. This is the style that is used on the fun, fantastic, five-gaited horse as well as many others.

Hunter Seat is another English style of riding, that has some increased danger over other styles since you are going over "jumps." A few minor changes from saddle seat puts you in the correct style to jump fences in either the hunter or jumper divisions. Both divisions make the horse and rider jump over a series of creative fences but they are judged differently. The hunter division is more exhibitor oriented than jumper since hunter is judged how they approach and arc over the fence, etc. The jumper division challenges the pair in a different way and the fences can go much higher than that of the hunter division. Due to the division's objective, there are some difference of the fences and courses. (Photo by KC shows hunter seat on main Lessons page.)

Stock Seat is western equitation and once again there are minor changes from saddle seat.
We train horses for western pleasure and working western pleasure but we do not currently train reining horses and rodeo events. 
(Photo by Doug Shiflet shows stock seat
on main Lessons page.)

Our discount lesson program is the same great lesson program that we are known for but is taught by a hand-picked apprentice. Our Apprentice Instructors are people that have shown an interest in teaching riding lessons and have been thoroughly tested by us to ensure a consistent teaching philosophy of Thinking Horsemanship. The apprentices also have proven to be very responsible and safety conscious in a variety of situations with us prior to being considered as an instructor in the apprentice program. This program is an economical way for parents to see if their child wants to commit to riding as well as a economical way for rider in our regular lesson program to get some extra saddle time.

We have students who successfully ride all three seats. Most of those that are in this elite group say they prefer saddle seat. Over the years we have worked with many horse lovers. Some arrive with little or no experience with horses.  Some have had negative experiences prior to calling us. With our individualized instructional program, we have been able to help the rider overcome their fears or problems created by lack of knowledge, poor or no instruction, or a negative experience. Some are professionals who find that their time working with our staff is very positive for them. 

Sundance Manor Farms is one of the few lesson programs that has an instructor with a Masters in Education from UVA and 26 years of classroom teaching experience. With this blend of educational knowledge and extensive equestrian experiences, including but not limited to Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking Horses, Missouri Fox Trotter, Rocky Mountain Horse, Hackney Ponies, Standardbreds, Quarter horses, Morgans, Arabians, National Show Horses, Thoroughbreds, Miniature Horses, warmbloods, draft breeds, and of course the beloved American Saddlebreds who benefit the Sundance Manor Farms students by developing thinking riders.  The advantage to our students is a flexible lesson program to suit the experiences level of the individual rider.

The cost of lessons depends on the plan selected.
Partnership plans are a great deal for you and your horse loving friends or family.
The partnership price reflects a flat rate plus a small per person additional amount.  Partnership lessons are limited to two horses, are approximately two hours per lesson, and require contract.  In order to maximize riding time the partnership lessons are limited to a maximum of four people.  We have done five or six in the Partnership Lessons program but this takes riding time from others on the contract hence when your skills and muscle tone needs more time on the horse a person in the Partnership will have to miss their riding time, at least in part, or the needs of a Partner is not met.   Partnership Lesson Contract is a real steal with two riders since the two riders are getting Platinum Lessons for the price of Gold Lessons.