By Woodrow Polston
Brady and Tessa Chasteen, who moved to the area last summer from Illinois, announced that they will be offering horse riding lessons beginning immediately. They have been working to prepare the perfect atmosphere for beginners who want to learn how to ride horses in their barn, which is located just minutes outside of Vandalia.
“We both grew up competing and riding year-round, so we first decided to create an indoor arena for our own recreation,” said Tessa Chasteen. “We worked on clearing out some items that were left here by the previous owners, and then we put in the stalls. This arena may also be an advantage to some of the people in the area who have horses but lack a place to ride year-round, which makes it hard to compete when springtime comes around, and you and your horse are out of practice,” she added.
Horseback riding, also known as equestrian, is a common activity that is enjoyed by some 30 million people in the U.S. each year. It includes the disciplines of riding, driving, and vaulting. This broad description includes the use of horses for practical working purposes, transportation, recreational activities, and competitive sports. Tessa has been giving riding lessons for years, and said she enjoys the experience.
“With younger students, I start out around age five,” said Chasteen. “They will be put on a lead line for around 30 minutes at a time. Around the age of eight, they can start riding independently and do an hour-long lesson. And it can vary from student to student. We will also offer lessons for adults that are interested in learning to ride as well. And we can provide one of our horses for the lessons, or if a rider has a horse of their own to learn on that would work also,” she added.
Some Interesting horse facts include;
Foals can start trotting within a few hours of their birth, and they can sleep either standing up or lying down. They also have excellent vision, and surprisingly, horses are not actually native to North America. They were introduced to the Americas during the time of the explorers in the 16th century. It is also commonly known among riders, that horses have four different speeds. The speed at which a horse moves is called its gait. The different gaits include walking, trotting, cantering, and galloping. On average, most horses can gallop at around 27 miles per hour.
“After a few lessons most people are comfortable enough to sit and steer at a walking pace,” said Chasteen. “And that would be a good start if you are just looking to do some trail riding and the like. But if you want to trot, or canter it takes a good six to eight months to have a good solid foundation to be able to ride safely. And the average lesson includes around 40 minutes of ride time. And we are not only offering riding lesson here on site, but arrangements can also be made to do the lessons at the students’ homes,” she added.
Other facts about horses include that the average lifespan of a horse is estimated to be between 20 and 25 years, while the oldest living horse ever recorded was 62. A horse is not considered an adult until age four, and there are more than 200 different horse breeds in the world. More foals are born between April 15 and May 15 than any other time of the year.
“Our long-term goal is to build an outdoor arena,” said Chasteen. “This size arena in the barn is great for learning how to ride, but you can’t really do anything competitive in something this size. We are really hoping to start working on an area out back sometime this spring. We are also hoping to eventually have some cattle here, and to host some team roping and other things to help keep up the facility,” she added.
If you would like more information about riding lessons, you can contact Tessa Chasteen at 314-540-2303.