Updated: Jun 9
Ocala, Fl is considered the horse capital of the world. It is home to some of the best riders all across the globe which makes it a hub for top-level horse riding lessons. That being said horse riding lessons in Florida vary greatly in price. Usually, better instruction and care of the horses mean higher costs and value.
Costs of horse riding lessons can be anywhere from $50-$300/per hour depending on the program's quality and location. Now, what goes into pricing horse riding lessons? Most of the cost comes down to the expense of feeding the horses. 1 horse can eat $350 worth of feed per month! Now that's just feed. If you factor in the yearly costs of vaccinations, dewormer, Coggins, dental care, hoof maintenance, and the inevitable vet care for injuries and illness, 1 horse can cost nearly $500/month.
For a lesson program with just 4 horses, that's $2000/month just to keep the horses happy and healthy. Then you have to consider the additional costs of facility maintenance and expenses such as electricity and water. Then you have to add the costs of labor for maintaining the facility and the horses.
If you have just one full-time employee, that's another $2500/month. Then add up the water, electricity, and upkeep of pastures, fences, and the riding arena, and you have nearly $5500 in expenses PER month. Not to include the cost of leasing the facility or paying the mortgage which adds another $2000 to the expenses. That's $7500/month in expenses.
That's all for a small 4-horse program. Magnifinity horsemanship considers 10 riders per horse to be a good ratio that allows our horses to not be overworked. If we consider the 4-horse program again, we would say 40-ish riders/week is the goal. So if the expenses are around $7500/month, each rider (if there are 40 riders) has to pay a minimum of $187.5/month JUST to break even.
Now we have to consider how to fit 40-ish riders per week into the schedule where most riders have school or work that forces them to arrive around 4:30 or 5:30 pm during the weekdays and there are only two weekend days. If we do hour private lessons, and each horse has a limit of two hours per day, then we can teach 8 hours per day but that won't fit most rider's schedules. If we only teach 1-hour lessons on the weekend, then we can only get 8 lessons in each day which is just 16 riders if they are private lessons. If they are group lessons our horses can still only teach 2hrs per day per horse so as not to be overworked. So we are limited to 4 hrs per day IF we can get two riders in each lesson. 2hrs per day IF we can get 4 riders per lesson. So we still only get 16 riders in on the weekend.
If we consider the weekdays, the most easily accessible times are 3:30 and 4:30 in the afternoons for kids or after 5:30 pm for adults, and after 5:30 isn't an option in the winter months unless the facility has an indoor arena. Most indoor arenas cost $250,000 to build so that's out of reach for most riding schools. That leaves us with maybe two hours on weekdays which is either two riders if they are private lessons or 4 riders if they are groups of two or 8 riders if they are groups of 4. Again, making sure our 4 horses stick to two hours per day per horse. So 2 riders X 5 weekdays = 10 riders plus 16 riders from the weekend, but our horses need a day off and so does our instructor so we take out a weekday and we get 24 riders if they are 1hr private lessons or 48 IF they are all groups of 4 riders in an hour class. If we have the maximum number of riders paying the minimum of $187.5 per month we could make $9,000/month.
BUT we only factored in one employee for operations, barn maintenance, and horse care. If we add an additional employee for teaching all of the lessons at the minimum pay of $625/week or $2500/month then our total expenses per month will climb to $10,000/month and so we are losing $1,000/month at $187.5/month/rider. If we take the maximum available capacity of 48 riders per week and aim to break even, each rider has to pay a minimum of $209/month JUST to break even. If a riding school wants to be profitable and be able to improve on the facility and maybe one day afford that indoor arena, then they need to charge over their break-even point AND factor in the fact that they will not always be at maximum capacity.
All of this is to say that the cost of horse riding lessons in Florida has a lot to do with how the program is run. We believe a responsible program ensures that their horses are not overworked and that they receive the quality feed and care that they deserve as hard-working athletes. We also believe in hiring awesome employees who are paid appropriately and get adequate time off to prevent burnout. The cost of horse riding lessons can seem expensive, however, the highest-quality horse riding school comes from happy healthy horses and people.