True cost of riding lessons article

The True Cost of Riding Lessons

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!