Here are some answers to some common questions. If you need more assistance, please contact us so we may help you.
How long are the lessons?
We schedule the Academy lessons on an hourly basis. We ride for about 30 minutes or a bit longer, depending on the heat and the goals of the day. The other time is equally important. Students learn to groom their horses before and after the riding, and are responsible to clean and stow their equipment when done.
What if a student is running late or has a question about inclement weather?
Please call the barn phone 813-920-9870. We can arrange to have the horse tacked up and ready. We can also take care of the horse after the ride, if you need to leave early for any reason. With the new covered arena, we can work in the rain and high heat without issue. Only severe weather and lightning postone being outside of the barn. We have a lightning detection system to help keep us safe.
Adults who have not ridden in a long time, and are nervous about riding again. Can they still take a lesson?
Many adults transition back to horses first by taking a driving/carriage lesson or two. Knowling how to drive a car, makes it an easy step to the carriage and provides the opportunity to refamiliarize themselves with the horses before getting back on again. Plus, it is relaxing and fun.
How often are the lessons?
Most students ride once a week, that seems to maintain fairly good retention of skills. Especially, if the student stays a little physically active the other days of the week. Some students ride more frequently, from two to four times a week even. Those riders that rode three or more times a week are typically those that own or lease a horse.
How and when do I pay for training?
All monthly lessons, board, and training fees are due the first of each month. Every customer has a private WCM Customer Account that we set up with a confidental password. That account lists any charges and payments. The customer has several options for convenient payment. Clients may pay with cash or check, or via PayPal card swipe/invoice, or through the secure Private Client Page with online processing through PayPal online (a PayPal account is not required).
My child is asking to buy a horse, but has only been riding a year. Should we start shopping?
We do not recommend purchasing a first horse for any beginner student, and try to wait until he/she is proficient walking, trotting, with some cantering. Most novice riders do not know for at least a coupld of years what they are good at, and once the basics are solidly established, then he/she can have preferences to which discipline, and what type horse will match him/her. We encourage having some advanced intermediate skills before considering a step up from the Academy level, and then we try to find a suitable lease option to grow the student for another year or so, until he/she is ready for the longer comittment and relationship of owning and caring for a horse. This is why we have many lesson horses with which to broaden the riders' skills as they learn the art of horsemanship.
Do we have to go to shows?
No one has to show, it is just an opportunity to compete at a comfortable level, i.e., locally, regionally, or nationally. For those youth that choose to compete, we also help with membership to USEF and the Varsity Letter program. We love to show and share the thrill of competition with our friends and clients, and everyone is always encouraged to come watch!
What else is there for the kids to do?
Guests and family members not in a lesson, can relax in our air conditioned/heated lounge, or outside patio areas, use the free wireless internet, play tetherball out the backside of the barn, or sit ringside and watch the lessons. For the students, we are proud to offer opportunities to join a variety of youth organizations based on education, competition, and FUN - these include, our interscholastic WCM Riding Team, and the Florida Morgan Horse Association Tropical Trotters Youth Club, and the Tampa Horse Show Association Academy High Point Awards Program. There are meetings, events, and more - and students can do as much or as little as they would like.
Are there days we can come visit?
The barn is closed Sundays. We schedule tours from Tuesday - Saturday throughout the year, unless we are away at a show. Give us a call or email and let is know when you want to come by and see what makes WCM a great place!
There are other barns in the area, why should we come to WCM?
We are a full-service facility, that takes excellent care of our horses and students. The training program is unique to each horse and rider, but with the integral safety of both at the core. We are fully insured, the property is gated, with surveillance cameras, and WCM has an excellent safety record. Horses are big animals and we stress safety and education at every level - you can't have fun if you're not safe! Other farms may promise the same quality of teaching, horses, and business management, but the only way to make the righ choice is to ask questions and get references. You must ask yourselves, what is your safety worth?
What clothes or equipment do we need?
If you are taking an evaluation lesson, or are not yet convinced of the student's committment to the sport, you can start the first lesson or two with more casual attire: long pants, and closed-toed shoes with a heel, and a certified bike helmet. After the first two or three lessons, we ask riders to purchase riding pants and riding boots. We have certified riding helmets to use, until you decide to purchase one. Diane Tanguay, our resident concierge, has a consignment clothing business and often has kids' work clothes for sale at a discounted price, click her name to email her. She is also the contact person for our show clothes. The other local options can help shop for appropriate attire - JC Saddlery and Whip&Spur tack stores in Tampa both know what we require for riding, you simply have to tell them you have a student at WCM.
How do we sign up for lessons or one of the camps?
Call the farm or email one of the following for more information. Scheduling a tour and lessons: WCMScheduling@gmail.com. Questions about one of our horse camp programs: WCMHorseCamp@gmail.com. One of our helpful staff members will be able to answer any additional questions.
Anne Winograd, President
West Coast Morgans, Inc.
17126 Boy Scout Road, Odessa, FL 33556