Horseback Riding for Teens & Preteens

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Horse back riding for middle schooler

May 2010

I'm looking for a teacher/stable for horseback riding lessons for middle schooler. I am trying to find a place that will also teach my kid a bit about horses--how to work with them and how to care or them. Any good stables around here? alan

Bottomley Equestrian Center in Briones is a wonderful place to ride. Corinne, the owner, teaches dressage with an emphasis on horsemanship. Her classes are amazing. My child is a lot younger than yours but we have stayed to watch the older kids. I am extremely impressed with what these kids can do. It's not cheap but well worth the cost. Julie

Redwood Ranch a great place for kids to learn about horses. They have horse back riding lessons year round. They even have a covered area so that lessons can be given during the rainy season. They have also have a summer camp program. Here is their website. Joy

I have a wonderful teacher just 15 minutes from Berkeley. Her name is Nola Giddings and she has gaited Peruvian Pasos that the children (and adults!) ride in their lessons. I have taken lessons from her for years and ended up owning one of her lovely horses myself. Her phone number is (510) 703-7765. Happy trails! Jenny

For children or adults wishing to learn to ride, one of the best instructors in the east bay is Mia Yellin. She is located in the Briones area. She is a gifted teacher who inspires her clients to be well rounded horse people. 925-228-6554

Nola Giddings 510.703.7765 in El Sobrante offers great riding lessons for both children and adults. My daughter has taken lessons from her for 6 years since she was 10. Nola has put in place a lifelong love of horses and riding.

Nola uses a very positive teaching style that encourages children. She uses very creative examples that teach children how to ride correctly and emphasizes safety. She adapts her wonderful teaching style to adults, as well. In addition, Nola provides wonderful opportunities for showing and participating in various events. These opportunities have built both skills and confidence in my daughter.

Nola breeds and trains Peruvian Pasos, gaited horses known for their smooth rides. Her horses are extremely well-mannered and gentle. She takes excellent care of her horses and it's clear that they trust her completely.

Nola gives both individual and private lessons in El Sobrante, just off the Hilltop exit on I80. She also offers trail rides on nearby trails on her horses. Her number again is 510.703.7765. pktak

Dressage Instructor for experienced teen

Dec 2008

My 15 year old son has been riding for about 7 years and we are now looking for a new dressage instructor. We don't own a horse, so we are looking for a place that can provide advanced instruction and an appropriate horse. We would like to stay fairly close to home - hopefully within an hour of Kensington. Thank you for any suggestions!

There is a dressage instructor at Castle Rock Arabians in Walnut Creek. I have taken private lessons there and my daughter has done several of their summer programs. Not a terrible schlepp from Berkeley area. kl


Riding instruction for girls aged 11 & 14

October 2006

I am looking for horseback riding instruction for a beginner and advanced beginner, both girls aged 11 & 14. We just want to stick with Western and would prefer someone in Oakland or nearby. We want someone who is reliable, responsible and warm and relates well to her students. Sadly, I know a number of parents of kids taking lessons and none feel like they can heartily recommend their instructor. I'm usually not that hard to please, but after being around a few instructors in the past with my older daughter, I am getting pretty selective, especially since the cost is not insigificant. Thanks

My daughter has been taking lessons from Bev Vreeland for three years. She is at Hayward Hills Equestrian Center. Her number is 925-963-6400. It takes us less then half an hour to get there from Alameda. She teaches English and Western. We think she's great. Betsy

Riding teacher for shy 10-year-old boy

Sept 2005

We took a family vacation to south western Utah. We went on a 1/2 day horseback trailride in Capital Reef National Monument. (WOW!!!) My 10 yo very anxious and shy son was very excited about this trip. The woman who led the ride and owned the ranch was FABULOUS with my son. To our great delight he took to riding like he'd be doing it his whole short life. He loved it, handled his horse beautifully and was beaming for days. So, now that we're home, getting back to school and routine I would like to find a stable and riding teacher for him. My son doesn't speak to new people (he has a social anxiety disorder called Selective Mutism...he speaks to kids, some adults, no new people, etc).He communicates non-verbally. This teacher would have to understand that and be able to work with my son under these conditions. I'm hoping also for convenience...we live in East Richmond, so Bkly, Tilden, San Pablo or Pinole area would be ideal. Thanks for any leads on this. PS If anyone goes to Capital Reef and wants a FABULOUS horseback trip, 1/2 day, full day, or multi day, Hondoo Tail Rides is the place to go. THe woman who owns it is Pat and she is a gem. June

I have a recommendation for you.

Betsy Arcellana at Chabot in Oakland ( - off 580 at Keller and Skyline) is a trainer who has worked with children who have a variety of developmental issues. In fact, she has been advocating for the son of one of the stable staff - who has selective mutism! so she really would ''get it'' about your son.

My son, who is almost 10, rode with Betsy on her pony Flash for most of this past year. He's grown out of it now, but he really enjoyed being with the horses, talking away to them etc. You can reach Betsy through the stables or by calling 510 568 6262.

hope that helps. njl