FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Seven Oaks Farm? Seven Oaks Farm is a dressage training barn and dressage-based lesson program, designed primarily for riders who have some prior horse experience. We train your horse and you together, or train you on one of our horses.
What is dressage? Dressage is a style of horseback riding that emphasizes communication and harmony between the horse and rider, resulting in a safe, sound and happy partnership.
Why choose Seven Oaks Farm? All of our staff are well-educated, articulate and friendly adults. We treat both our human and equine customers with kindness and respect. We're also a lot of fun to be around! We have trained out of the same two locations, one of which belongs to us, for more than 25 years, so you don't have to worry that we'll move from barn to barn or even out of the area entirely.
Do you teach "classical" dressage? What is your training philosophy? We believe that good dressage, as well as good riding, makes both horses and humans happy and keeps them safe and sound. To that end, we give training and riding advice based on the individual horses and riders. If you browse the various galleries on this website, you'll see healthy horses with good toplines, smiling riders and lots of blue ribbons. You'll see standard tack and no gimmicks. You'll see horses schooling and competing at FEI levels who started with us as babies. You'll see riders with their Bronze, Silver & Gold medals who had never shown dressage before they came to us. You'll also see horses and riders that have never shown and never plan to show, but that are making each other very happy.
How much does training cost if I have my own horse? prices here
How much does training cost if I use your horse? prices here
I'm an experienced dressage rider, but don't currently have a horse to ride: what should I expect? In your first lesson (always a private), we'll watch you ride and talk to you about what improvements, if any, we want you to make to your technique. After that, your lessons will be a combination of improving your seat and position and helping you to move up the levels with our horses. You'll be in private lessons, semi-privates and groups, depending on your needs and desires and our mutual schedules.
I'm an experienced rider but have not really done dressage before, and I need to ride your horses: what should I expect? In your first lesson, we'll watch you ride and go over the ways in which dressage is different from the kind of riding you have done in the past. We'll probably keep you in private lessons for a short time, until your body and brain adjust to the new style of riding. Then, you'll be able to join group lessons and start working on dressage movements.
What do I need to be able to do to join a group lesson? In general, if you can walk, trot & canter easily, if you know which diagonal is correct and what lead you are on, you will probably be fine in our groups. For a more specific list of tasks, click here.
I used to ride as a child, but I haven't ridden in years: can I ride with Seven Oaks? We'll start you off as we do every new student, with an evaluation lesson. At the end of that lesson, we can let you know if you will be likely to be a good match for Seven Oaks. Most of the time, you'll need a few private lessons (at no extra charge) to bring your brain and body back up to speed, then you'll be able to ride with us.
I've never ridden a horse before: can I ride with Seven Oaks? While we are happy to work with beginners, we are often so busy that we simply don't have the space to give a newbie the private attention required to learn to be safe on a horse. If we don't have room for you, we recommend another training barn to you. Then, once you have learned enough to be able to groom and tack up your own horse, as well as ride safely in a group lesson, you'l be welcome to return to us.
I'm still a beginner; what do I have to do to join groups at Seven Oaks? Here's a link to our "off-leash" requirements.
What equipment and attire do I need to ride? You should plan to ride regularly in breeches, boots (tall or paddock), an SEI-approved safety helmet that is no more than 5 years old and gloves. If you don't have any or all of that attire, we can usually loan you what you need for the first few lessons. If you're on one of our horses, we will provide your horse's tack. We also have plenty of whips, spurs, fly spray and sunscreen around.
Do you offer leases? We do allow existing students to lease our horses. We don't lease our horses to folks outside of our barn.
Do you sell horses? We don't usually sell our school horses (we have allowed an existing student to buy a horse that she/he couldn't live with out, but we don't sell them to the general public). We also don't accept horses in training to be sold. We will train your horse, but you will need to take her/him to a sales barn to get her/him sold.
Do you buy horses? We buy horses for ourselves, of course, and for our existing students. We don't act as buying agents for the general public.
Can I get jumping lessons? We only teach dressage and our horses only do dressage. If you want to jump, you are welcome to ride dressage with us and go elsewhere for jumping lessons.
Can I get western lessons? We only teach dressage and our horses only do dressage. If you want to ride western, you are welcome to ride dressage with us and go elsewhere for western lessons.
How do I sign up for a lesson? Call or email Pamela to sign up for lessons (contact information is on the top right-hand side of every web page). You cannot sign up for lessons on line.
When do you teach? We usually teach every day except Wednesday at both locations. On weekdays, we teach in the morning and afternoon in San Juan Bautista and in the afternoon and evening in Portola Valley. On weekends, we teach all day long at both places.
When are your horseshows? They are usually the last Sunday of each month, although weather and other horseshows and such can cause us to move them up or back a week. Check the "shows" page of this website for exact dates.
How do I enter a horse show? You can print out an entry blank from the "shows" page of this website and mail it in. You can also enter on-line, by sending us an email on or before the Wednesday prior to each show. Let us know: rider's name, horse's name, status of rider (professional, amateur 50 and over, amateur under 50, junior) and the test(s) that you want to ride. You can fill out the entry blank, sign the release and pay for the show on the day of the show.
How do I get my ride times for the show? We email out preliminary ride times on the Friday prior to the show. We also post them on the "shows" page. If you're not on our show email list, be sure to email us and request to be added. Once the preliminary ride times go out, we wait for feedback, make requested changes as we are able, then final ride times go on our website Saturday evening prior to the Sunday of the show.
IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION THAT YOU DON'T SEE HERE, EMAIL US AND WE'LL ADD THE QUESTION AND THE ANSWER, AS WELL AS EMAILING YOU A PRIVATE ANSWER...