Ever wonder why riding lessons are expensive? Here’s why.
For this article, we will assume that you are taking lessons in B.C. at a facility with lesson horses, an indoor riding arena and a coach with some level of certification.
The rent for the facility of course is a major expense. The cost can average from 1000 a month to 3000 a month depending on size, location and the number of stalls. Those lesson horses need to be fed at least twice a day, labour is approximate $12 per hour at our facility it takes about 4 hours to do chores. They need farrier which averages about $300 per month for 10 lesson horses, $50 per month for worming, and $200 per month on the vet. The facility will always need maintenance which could include mending fences, replacing mats, re-footing the arena and basically everything a horse could destroy. The tack you use for your lesson horse needs to be maintained. We average approx. $100 per month on tack and $500 on maintenance.
We are now at approx. $4500
There are now administration fees which will include power (hydro), phone, booking systems, websites etc, which will probably end up around $250 per month. Add on top of that insurance which will range from $250 – $400 a month depending on the level of coverage.
And we haven’t even paid the coach yet.
With approx. $5000 a month in overhead in monthly operating expenses, now must find money to purchase lesson horses because they do get old, broken or tired from being a lesson horse.
One coach coaching full time could coach 40 hours a week on average. Let’s assume that coach has 40 students riding in private lessons and the lessons are $60 each. 4 weeks in a month X 40 X 60, that’s 9600. You are probably thinking – that’s lots of money right, we`ve only spent $5,000.
So, that coach brought in $9600 but most of the people paid with a credit card – 3% goes back to the credit card company. That is $300. Now we are down to $9300 and we have $5000 in operating costs, which leaves us with $4300 to feed the horses, shoot – we haven’t done that yet. Each non-working horse eats an average bale of a hay every three days. That’s 10 bales a month and with the current hay prices of quality local hay (we are talking best of the best here since our horses are working horses) $15 per bale. Each horse is going to cost us $150 a month to feed hay to. That’s $1500 for all ten. But they haven’t gotten any grain which will be $200 a month. This number is low with $1700 to feed the 10 lesson horses.
That coach needs to maintain certification which means upgrading attending clinics and continuing their education and trust me you want a coach who does! Let’s give that coach approx. $100 a month to do that. Now we have $2500 left.
Now most coaches will have a truck and trailer which they need to insure. A good guess would be approx. $200 a month to insure, perhaps another $300 in fuel. Now we are down to $2000.
$2000 per month for working 40 hours a week teaching, probably a few feeding horses, fixing fences, and booking appointments and scheduling. Just to give an estimate I spend on average 15 hours per week – booking, fixing, cleaning and I don’t even clean stalls! If I were the average coach I would be making $10 an hour. That is less than minimum wage.
Now this article`s purpose wasn’t meant to tell you how poor your coach is, however to show people that coach`s mostly do this job for the love of it. Not for the money – people at McDonalds are making more money! Also, take note – there are coaches out there making a pretty penny but also coaches who must take another job just to afford to be a coach. No matter where your coach falls in between. Thank him or her – they are doing it for the love it!