Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

What are your hours of operation? Where are you located?


Please see the Contact Us page for information on our hours, a map to our location, and contact information.




What forms of payment do you accept?


West Wind accepts cash and cheques made payable to West Wind Stables. We also accept payment through an Interac® e-Transfer to chris@westwindstables.ca.




Do you offer trail rides?


Unfortunately we do not offer trail riding our of our facility. Please check out Birds Hill Park Ranch (204) 222-1137 or Miracle Ranch (204) 224-1180 for your trail riding needs




How do I volunteer for MRDA?


Please contact Kristy McFee the Executive Director at exedir@mrda.cc or telephone her at 204-925-5905. You can also visit the MRDA website for more information! Their website can be found at: https://www.mrda.cc/





Lessons

I want to take some lessons but I have never been on a horse, is that o.k.?


Absolutely! We teach all levels including people who have never been on a horse. Safety is first and foremost so we ensure your first experience is not only safe but fun for you! For the first few lessons we guide you through working around the horse, grooming and getting your assigned horse ready for riding, or as we call it, “tacked up”. After the riding portion of your lesson we guide you through the “un-tacking” of the horse and putting away your equipment.

We will only progress riders as fast as we can while keeping them as safe a possible. The lessons are designed to be progressive, so each week we build on the prior week’s lesson. We ensure a sound foundation of the basics is present before moving onto more advanced skills.




What can I wear when I first start riding? Do have to buy all the “fancy” riding gear?


No, when you first start riding you do not need to run out and buy all the “fancy” riding gear. There are however some guidelines in place to ensure your safety and comfort.

Starting at the top is the helmet. An ASTM/SEI approved helmet is required by all junior riders (under 18) and for anyone jumping. We have a small number of rental helmets available but we do recommend riders purchase their own if they wish to continue riding past their introductory lessons.

Tops and jackets should be well-fitted; t-shirts and sweatshirts are common. In cooler weather it is recommended to layer. Pants should be somewhat loose fitting but not too baggy; sweatpants and leggings can be worn. Jeans are not recommended as they tend be somewhat restrictive.

Boots must have a heel, however no more than 1 inch is recommended. The boot should go over the ankle to provide extra support. You will not be allowed to ride in running shoes or sandals. Gloves are optional but are recommended; they should be well fitted with some sort of grip.

Helmets and riding attire can be purchased Greenhawk 204-256-4870




I already have a bicycle helmet; can I wear it for equestrian riding?


No. Standards for cycling and equestrian helmets are very different. Bicycle helmets are similar to horseback riding safety helmets in appearance, but are not subject to the design specifications and standards that a riding helmet must pass in order to provide adequate protection.

An equestrian helmet offers additional protection to the back of the head and the sweatband area of the helmet. Equestrian helmets are tested by the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) for Chinstrap retention, penetration by a sharp object, and for impact absorption. These tests are specifically for horseback riding related accidents.

For more information on the SEI standards visit Safety Equipment Institute. All horseback riding helmets must meet the current American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) standard.




How long is lesson during the Introduction to Horses Part A program?  What can I expect?


Introduction to Horses Part A is where beginners from ages 8 - adult are introduced to riding. For this 10 week program (4-6 riders), you can expect to be at the stable for about 2 hours. We start out with 20-30 minutes of classroom theory, then we move into the barn to get the horses tacked-up (ready to ride), that process takes about 30-40 minutes. Once everyone is ready to ride, we move into the arena where you will ride for about 45-60 minutes. After the ride, the horses are un-tacked and the equipment is cleaned and put away, that takes about 15 minutes.




What can I expect after completing Introduction to Horses Part A?


After completing the Introduction to Horses Part A you now have an idea of the basics of horse handling and riding and have decided that horseback riding is a sport worth pursuing! The next progression would be to enroll for Introduction to Horses Part B, our second 10 week program. You should expect to be here for 2 hours. Here the riders study theory for 30 min in preparation for Equestrian Canada's Rider Level 1 Evaluation. The riders are more independent during the tack up portion, which will take 30 min. Once everyone is tacked up, we move into the arena for 45-60 min of riding and practice and polish more of the skills learned during Part A. Riders are now expected to un-tack unsupervised.

The last lesson of this program would be the Rider Level 1 Evaluation. It is not mandatory to be evaluated, but is highly recommended. To gain certification as a Rider Level 1, riders must pass the evaluation, purchase a Manitoba Horse Council (MHC) membership, and pay a small certificate fee to MHC. Certification is not guaranteed.

After riders have completed both Introduction to Horses Part A & B they may choose to advance to regular group lessons (3-4 riders) or regular semi-private lesson (1-2 riders).




How long is a group lesson?  What can I expect?


For a group lesson (2-4 people), you can expect to be at the stable for about 2 hours. We start out with 30 minutes of classroom theory, then we move into the barn to get the horses tacked-up (ready to ride) that process takes about 30 minutes. Once everyone is ready to ride, we move into the arena where you will ride for about 45-60 minutes. After the ride, the horses are un-tacked and the equipment is cleaned and put away, that takes about 15 minutes.

When you first start, supervised tack-up is a requirement. We will walk you through the grooming and tacking-up as well un-tacking the horse after the ride. Once we ensure everyone can do this safely these tasks are no longer supervised.




How long is a semi-private lesson?  What can I expect?


For a semi-private lesson (1-2 riders), you can expect to be at the stable for about 2 hours. We start out with 30 minutes of classroom theory, then we move into the barn to get the horses tacked-up (ready to ride) that process takes about 30 minutes. Once you are ready to ride, we move into the arena where you will ride for about 60 minutes in total. The hour is split into two 30 minutes sessions, one of which you will be instructed and the second is self-guided practice time. After your ride the horses are un-tacked and the equipment is cleaned and put away, that takes about 15 minutes.

When you first start, supervised tack-up is a requirement. We will walk you through the grooming and tacking-up as well after the ride the un-tacking. Once we ensure everyone can do this safely these tasks are no longer supervised.




What can I expect in the theory classes?


The theory classes give us the opportunity to teach you more about horses. We cover a wide range of horsemanship topics, starting with the basics and working up from there. We do theory mainly in the classrooms, but at times we also do “hands on” sessions in the barn or arena. Early topics include how to safely work around the horse, how the horse sees, reasons for grooming. More advanced topics include first aid, feeding, and basic anatomy.

We also discuss topics specific to riding, such as how we queue the horse while riding, figures and patterns, and riding rules and etiquette. By covering these topics in the classroom, we can then build on the knowledge while you are riding.




What is the cancellation policy for lessons?


Please notify West Wind Stables as soon as possible if a lesson will be missed. Cancellations not received 24 hours before start of lesson will result in forfeit of the lesson time (no make-up allowed).

All lessons (riding & theory) are paid for regardless of the reason of absenteeism. All regular weekly lessons are to be booked in consecutive weeks. No more than 3 cancellations are allowed per calendar quarter.

To discontinue taking lessons, written notice must be given prior to the 24th of the month else it is assumed lessons are continuing and will be invoiced as such.

Exceptions to above: Written cancellation of a lesson for the following month given on or before the 24th of the previous month. (I.e. to cancel for August, notice must be received by July 24th).

Coupons or special group packages (10 week program): all lessons must be used consecutively. Any last minute cancellations will result in forfeit of lesson time and cannot be rescheduled. The only exceptions are:

a. Written notice received at the start of the first lesson of the program, missed lessons can be rescheduled and upgraded for a small fee.

b. Weather cancellations





Camps

Why go to West Wind Stables Horse Camp?


West Wind Stables Horse Camp is a place where boys, girls or adults can learn about horses by working with the horses. They are involved in horse related activities from the time they arrive at the stable until the time they pack up at the end of the day.




What happens over the week at a horse camp?


First Day of Camp:

Parents must come in with the campers on the first day campers so we can ensure all forms are completed and signed. Campers are then assigned into their groups. If there are any concerns with the groups, fear, or nervousness please discuss this with the staff on the first day.

Groups are then set off to either groom and saddle in preparation to ride or go to learn what’s involved in the care of the horses through hands on participation.

In the riding lesson campers will learn how to mount, sit balanced, steer and stop their horse. After they are done riding campers will take the equipment off and clean it before putting it away. Groups who were learning in the stable will then switch to getting ready to ride and vice versa.

During the week:

Campers will gain skills and knowledge of all aspects of the horse. They will learn how to safely and confidently work around horses. The campers learn new riding skills and improve their balance during each lesson by taking part in games on horseback.

End of the week:

Each camper will gain the skills to stay balanced on a horse, steer, and stop the horse. If campers are balanced enough they may even be introduced to trotting. On the last day of camp parents are welcome to come and watch the lesson which will include games to show off the skills they have learned! We will have the schedule posted for the entire week including the Friday lesson times so you can make arrangements to come and cheer on your child and take pictures!




Pick up and drop off times?


The camp hours are 9 am-4:30 pm. You may drop off between 8:30-9 am and pick up from 4:30-5 pm.




How much time will my child spend with the horses while at camp?


Each child is responsible for his or her own horse each day they are at the camp. This includes feeding, brushing, washing, and anything else the horse needs while the camper is with the horse.

Your child will learn what it takes to care for horses through workbooks and hands-on tasks. They will help feed, water, and sweep up after their horse. Before their scheduled hour of riding time they will get the horses groomed and saddled. Games and activities including the horses are also planned.

Essentially each child will spend the full day with their horse or involved in a horse related activity.




Will my child ride the same horse every day?


Our coaches aim to match horses to the campers’ size and skill. This does not guarantee that your child will ride the same horse every day. We encourage each camper to keep an open mind if they are to ride a different equine partner during their time at camp.




What if my child is sick?


Please let us know as soon as possible that day. We require a doctor’s note recommending the child not ride in order to facilitate any refunds.




My child has taken a few lessons or a camp at a different stable.  Would they still be considered beginner/novice?


If your child has not been riding on a regular basis they would be considered a beginner or novice rider. Please include any experience your child has had on your registration form and we will group riders with experience together. If you are unsure, please contact us.




My child came to your camp last year.  Will they be doing the same activities?


If you`re child has attended our camp, please include this on the registration form and we will group riders with previous camp experience together in our beginner/novice camp. We do modify our activities and goals for riding based on the level and/or experience of the campers. In the advanced camp we assess the campers’ skills and knowledge on the first day and plan our lessons accordingly. If you have questions, please contact us.




When would my child be considered advanced?


If they are currently taking lessons, or are starting to compete they would be considered advanced. Advanced camp requires the camper to be able to groom and saddle with little to no supervision and to be comfortable controlling a horse in a canter. It is for safety of the riders, as they will be doing 2 rides/day as well as some jumping.




What does my child need to wear?


An ASTM/SEI approved equestrian helmet is required by all campers; bicycle, hockey or any other types of helmets are NOT allowed. We have a small number of rental helmets available but we strongly recommend riders purchase their own.

T-shirts, sweatshirts/jackets should be well fitted. Pants should be somewhat loose fitting but not too baggy; sweatpants and leggings can be worn. Jeans are not recommended as they tend be somewhat restrictive. Campers will NOT be allowed to ride in shorts.

Boots must have a heel of more than 1 inch and go above the ankle to provide extra support. Campers will NOT be allowed to ride in running shoes or sandals. Gloves are optional but are recommended; they should be well fitted with some sort of grip.

Helmets and riding attire can be purchased Greenhawk 204-256-4870.





Volunteering

Who can volunteer at West Wind Stables?


Regular students who are currently enrolled in either group or semi-private lessons may volunteer at the stable. Student must be able to catch, groom and saddle a horse safely without supervision.

Parents and other family members are invited to volunteer during our schooling show events.




Which programs need volunteers? What duties and responsibilities would I have?


The main area that we utilize volunteers are: Intro to Horses programs, Pony Parties, Riding Birthday parties. Volunteers may be asked to catch and groom horses, assist in tacking up. Helping in the arena under the direction of the coach. Un-tack the horses and take the horses outside.




What if I am unable to attend my scheduled volunteer duties?


If you know you will be away in advance, please let the coach know so that we can find a substitute for you.

If you are unable to attend your scheduled volunteer duties that day-you must inform the stable as soon as possible, so we can find a replacement. Please telephone the stable (204) 736-3410 and leave a message.




Do volunteers receive any type of reward or free riding time?


West Wind knows that its programs rely on great volunteers! We would like to reward our volunteers with something special for all your hard work and dedication.

For every 16 hrs of volunteering, you will receive a gift certificate for one BONUS semi-private lesson! This lesson would be scheduled in addition to your regular lessons and is offered to students currently enrolled in regular lessons or those doing coach mentoring.




I am doing my coach mentoring, can I put those hours towards the volunteering?


Yes, 50% of your coach mentoring hours can be used towards our volunteer rewards as long as you are assisting an instructor with one of the above programs. You can record your full hours in the volunteer signup sheet and we will calculate your volunteer hours for you.




I have to volunteer for school credits. Can I do that at West Wind?


Yes, but please check with your teacher or school to make sure that your volunteering here is within the class guidelines. We would be happy to sign off on your volunteering hours.




After I volunteer can I use West Wind Stables as a reference on my resume?


Yes, we would love to provide references for our hard working volunteers! Please make sure to let us know when you add us to your reference list!




How do I volunteer for MRDA?


Please contact Kristy McFee the Executive Director at exedir@mrda.cc or telephone her at 204-925-5905. You can also visit the MRDA website for more information! Their website can be found at: https://www.mrda.cc/





Rider Levels & Coaching

What are these Rider Levels that I keep hearing about? Where can I find out more?


Equestrian Canada developed the Learn to Ride Program so that individuals could learn safe horsemanship and riding skills in a correct and safe manner. There are Learn to Ride programs for both English and Western disciplines. By working through the program, individuals are guided through a systematic process that introduces new riders to equestrian sport and riding.

Proper riding technique is best developed with the aid of an accredited instructor or coach, the program has been designed to be delivered by an EC certified coach/instructor. An accredited examiner, who obtains the standardized exams from their provincial association, will give an evaluation for each level.

You can talk to your coach to get more information about the Rider Levels. You can also find information on Manitoba Horse Council's or Equestrian Canada’s website




Are your coaches certified? What does it mean to be certified?


Yes, all of our instructors and coaches are certified with Equestrian Canada, or are working towards their certification.

Obtaining the certification is the end result of much work and learning on the coach’s part. First they have to obtain a certain Rider Level, attend classroom sessions on coaching and first aid, and put in a required number of hours working and coaching under a mentor. Once they have worked through the prerequisites, they have to attend a one to two day evaluation.

Coaches have to remain current in their status with Equestrian Canada by attending a set number of hours of upgrading activities, including first aid renewal and riding specific activities.




If I want to become an Equestrian Canada certified coach/instructor can you help me that?


We sure can! With the guidance of our certified coaches and mentor, you will be guided and supported through the process from initiation straight through to your certification evaluation. This includes assistance in enrolling in the program, meeting the pre-requisites, theory sessions, hands on teaching opportunities and valuable feedback throughout your preparations





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53086 Road 4E

Oak Bluff, MB R0G 1N0

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