4 years old unless recommended* to begin sooner by a medical professional. (* Recommendation letter from physician is required.) There is no maximum age limit.
Due to the recommendations from our veterinarian we have the following weight restrictions for riders:
Under 5’ tall: 150 lbs maximum
5’0” – 5’6” 180 lbs maximum
5’7” – 6’0” 210 lbs. maximum
6’1” – 6’5” 250 lbs. maximum
Riders over 80 pounds must be able to maintain a sitting position, holding on with one hand. There are no further physical requirements. However, a Doctor or Therapist must approve all riders and no contraindications may be present.
New Rider Meetings:
All riders new to Healing Hoofbeats must have a meeting with the program director before being scheduled in a lesson spot. Once your application has been processed, you will be called to schedule a no-cost assessment. This meeting allows the director and instructor to determine a class appropriate for the participant and the participant to become familiar with the facility and meet a few horses.
Students will be scheduled during registration or as appropriate lesson spots become available if the sessions are full. Those currently riding with Healing Hoofbeats, Inc. will be given first priority when scheduling. Others will be scheduled on a first come first served basis. If we are unable to schedule your rider, he/she will be put on a waiting list. As a suitable spot opens up, you will be contacted.
Late Attendance or Absences:
- Once all riders have been mounted and class has started, latecomers will not be admitted.
- Two absences without phone calls by 8am of lesson day may result in a rider being dropped from the program.
- If your rider has to miss class, please contact Healing Hoofbeats at 850-722-5400 so we can avoid having the horse tacked up unnecessarily.
- For group classes there are no make-ups or refunds for non weather related absences.
- For private lessons missed, make-ups may be scheduled depending on volunteer, arena, horse and instructor availability
Since we don’t have a covered arena and are weather dependent, classes may be cancelled due to bad weather. When uncertain if your class will be held call Healing Hoofbeats at 850 722 5400 no earlier than two hours prior to class.
Classes that students miss for reasons other than weather that do not call at least on hour before class to cancel will not be credited or refunded.
Attire and Equipment
Appropriate clothes for riding are long pants and hard soled boots with a low heel. This is for comfort and safety. Avoid boots with thick tread. These can be difficult to slide into and out of stirrups. Since we use safety stirrups on all of the English saddles sneakers are permissible for English riders. Wear close-fitting clothing for safety as well as comfort. Loose or baggy clothing can get caught and tangled.
No dangling jewelry is permitted.
All riders are required to wear an ASTM/SEI approved Equestrian Helmet. If you don’t have your own helmet, Healing Hoofbeats will provide you with one. Should you choose to purchase your own we recommend Equus Unlimited on Douglas Rd. in Panama City (850)763-9163 or order from Jeffersequine.com out of Dothan, AL.
Guidelines for Participants and Vistors:
- No smoking is allowed on site.
- No additional dogs are allowed on site.
- Please walk, use appropriate voices and avoid sudden movements, particularly near the horses.
- Refrain from using umbrellas near the horses and riding arena.
- Do not approach or feed any animals unless accompanied by a staff member.
- Closely supervise riders, siblings of riders, and visitors while waiting.
- Visitors must remain outside the riding area at all times.
- Ask permission from the horse handler or instructor to take photos or use a flash camera.
- Wait for an instructor or specially trained volunteer to mount or dismount the riders.