English is a style of riding that hails from Europe. It encompasses the Olympic Sports of Showjumping, Dressage and Eventing. Did you know that discipline of jumping started because of laws in Europe that made people fence in their land in the 1800s? Before that, there were not many fences between properties! Foxhunters used to ride from field to field, but when the fences went up they had to think of a way to get around the fences. So they started jumping over them! However their jumping form was weird, they would lean back! It wasn’t until Federico Caprilli, an officer in the Italian cavalry changed all that in the late 1800s. He introduced the concept of leaning forward and following the horse over the jump, that you see today!
Did you know that Dressage began in the cavalry? Also pretty darn cool! The cavalry horses had to be well trained and able to execute rather athletic maneuvers! They would have competitions to show off these horse’s training, which eventually transformed into the modern-day Dressage we see now!
At VEC we offer both Dressage and Jumping lessons!
Western is a newer discipline than English. It originates from a style of riding on the ranches in the west. The saddle is larger than an English saddle and includes a horn and a deeper seat. A western saddle is designed for long hard days in the saddle and they also help beginners stay on with the help of the deep seat and horn! However, the horn was not designed for people to hold onto (as many beginners will be sad to hear). It was actually designed to wrap a rope around when a cowboy lassoed and caught a cow. He would swing the rope and catch the cow, once caught he wraps (dallies) the rope around his saddle horn to effectively catch the cow. If he is riding a well-trained horse, his horse will keep the pressure on the rope so that he can get off and doctor the cow he has caught.
Today there are multiple disciplines under the umbrella of Western Riding. These include (but are not limited to): Barrel Racing, Roping, Working Cow, Ranch Riding, Reining, Western Pleasure, Trail, and Horsemanship.
At VEC we also offer Western riding lessons!
The Therapeutic Riding program at VEC is offered by Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) Certified Coach Kim Jungman.
Therapeutic Riding provides both physical and mental health benefits to riders in the program. As CanTRA outlines in the following paragraph, the benefits of riding a horse are scientifically unparalleled:
“The horse possesses motor and emotional, neuro-sensitive stimulation qualities never equalled by a machine. The horse offers 110 multidimensional movements by impulsion every minute. No therapist, no matter how motivated or talented, can compete with this quality stimulation.” (CanTRA).
Benefits of Therapeutic Riding
Development of mobility, balance and coordination
Improvement of muscle tone and strength
Increased concentration and improved learning skills
A challenging recreational activity
Independence, integration and a sense of achievement
Development of self-confidence and motivation
For more information, check out CanTRA’s website
Working Equitation is the newest discipline to come to Canada! It is a wonderful mix of English and Western components! Working Equitation (WE) originated from Spanish countries that have their own unique methods of riding and working cattle on the ranches. In WE you may ride any breed of horse in any “type” of equipment you like (English, Western, or Baroque). There are 4 “phases” of WE; there is Dressage, an Obstacle Course (much like a western trail course, but with many more cool obstacles like carrying a Garrocha pole and spearing a ring off a stand, riding through a “Livestock Pen” and more), a Speed Obstacle Course, and a Working Cow component (No ropes, instead you sort cows - in your English saddle if you like!). If you like being a well-rounded rider and appreciate a well-rounded horse, this discipline is for you!
We offer Working Equitation lessons at VEC and often horse WE “Play Days” where we set up an obstacle course for you to ride through!
Rookie Riders is a new program developed by EC to bring physical literacy to our young children (12 and under) while teaching them the important basics of horse riding. In this program, children learn ground skills (much like gymnastics) that help them to acquire the physical skills to balance on the horse. They will also play games that teach them horse husbandry in a fun and exciting way. Once these skills are acquired on the ground the students move to the barrel, which mimics the feeling of being on a horse. They will learn a variety of movements, such as standing on the horse, that will help them to develop the confidence and physical strength and balance needed to ride. Once skills are mastered on the barrel, the students are ready to ride the horse. They will learn to ride the horse on a lunge line before they graduate to holding the reins and controlling the horse themselves.
Vaulting is for all ages. It is gymnastics on horses. Vaulters practice their maneuvers on the ground, then the barrel, and then eventually on the moving horse.
VEC offers Rookie Rider Lessons as well as beginner Vaulting.
Private and Semi-private lessons are only offered if there is room in the lesson schedule. Evenings are reserved for group lessons.
Group lessons $50 per person/session
Semi-private $60 per person/session
Private $70 per person/session
If you are bringing your own horse with contract coaches;
Group lessons $40 per person/session
Semi-private $50 per person/session
Private $60 per/person/session
For riders under 5 years old, we offer a special half/hour program on our adorable ponies;
Semi-private $30 per person/session
Private $40 per/person/session
Therapeutic Riding (Coach Kim)
Group lessons $65 per person/session
Semi-private $75 per person/session
Private $80 per/person/session