Horseback riding combines confidence, responsibility, athleticism and focus to make an enjoyable activity for all ages. As riders advance in experience, you'll see the pride and confidence come out in the rider as they feel that sense of accomplishment. Whether you want to take lessons for personal enjoyment, recreation or to focus on competitive riding, Merkel Farm offers experienced English riding instruction.
Private and group lessons are offered for all ages and levels of ability including beginner, intermediate or experienced riders. With the primary focus being the safety of the rider, private lessons are preferred until the rider has developed the skills to control their mount. Group lessons are established based on student interest and similar rider abilities.
Merkel Farm owns plenty of horses, which are available for riding during lessons, so owning your own horse is not required to take lessons. Lesson fees are as follows:
A release waiver can be printed, signed and brought to your first lesson using the button at the top of the page.
Merkel Farm annually participates in Free State Riding Club schooling competitions. These competitions are held the third Saturday of every month from April to October at the Free State Riding Club in Bowie, MD. The primary goal of this monthly competition is schooling of the rider so they understand how a competition works, and can improve in their skills with input from the judges and instructor.
Riders compete individually in as many monthly competitions as they want during the series. Points are accumulated for each competition, and the riding club holds an awards banquet at the end of the season. Merkel Farm students can use our horses for the competition which are transported via trailer to Free State or can bring their own. There is a Merkel Farm instructor schooling fee, and Free State Riding Club has a fee per class the rider competes in.
Free State competitions are instructional, and although it is an individual competition, it is a laid back, fun environment, and the Merkel Farm riders support each other and build good friendships. For more information and competition series, see their website: Free State Riding Club
Merkel Farm is affiliated with the National Capital Short Stir-up Equitation League (NCSSEL). This competition series consists of four competitions from October through March in the greater Washington D.C. area. The rider is required to be in a weekly lesson program, and an additional team lesson per week is required.
Riders compete as a team and use horses provided at the competitions. Teams are comprised of 6 riders and up to 2 alternates who also compete at each team competition. Horses are selected by random draw, and each rider competes in three classes. Points are accumulated as a team and an awards banquet is held at the end of the season. Riding team is a fun environment, and team members become close and build lasting friendships. For more information on NCSSEL, visit their website at: NCSSEL