At Clairvaux you’ll find a thoughtful, goal-oriented approach that enables riders to get the most from their horse. In our horseback riding lessons, we teach correct fundamentals to become more secure, confident and effective, leading to enhanced results in the show ring.

We teach riders of all ages and abilities; whether you are a beginner just learning the ropes, or an advanced horseback rider looking to polish skills for the competition arena, we can help.

We offer private and group lessons. Seasoned reliable school horses are available; ship-ins welcome. We also have several horses available to our students for lease and partial lease.

Visit the About Us pages to learn more about us and our instructors.

Amenities

  • Indoor arena with state-of-the-art German Geotextile footing and jumps
  • Heated seating area in indoor arena
  • Outdoor arena with jumps and coming soon: lights
  • Nearly eight miles of HOA-maintained equestrian- and pedestrian-use-only trails
  • Large, clutter-free barn aisles
  • Heated lounge with TV/DVD/VCR, plus camera to view indoor arena
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Bathroom with shower
  • Wash stalls with hot & cold water and heat lamps
  • Clairvaux-supplied tack, grooming equipment and supplies

Introduction to Riding

Riding Fundamentals

Riders are introduced to the basics of riding, including the proper position of the body, how to make the horse go (at the walk and trot) and how to stop and slow down.

Riders are either lead around by the trainer or by a long rope, allowing the instructor to maintain control over the horse’s speed and direction.

Horseback Riding Lessons
Terri Young teaching a group of young riders

Hunter Jumper Riding Lessons Graduate from Clairvaux
Alison Anderson and Zenith competing in the Culpeper Equitation Classic at a HITS Culpeper Horse Show
Junior Hunter Horse Training Student at Show
Alaina Rhee showing her Mandalay Bay in the Junior Hunters at the Loudoun Benefit Horse Show

Horseback Riding Lessons Student Ashley Schneider and Caramel Topping
Ashley Schneider and Caramel Topping, competing at a VHSA Associate Horse Show
Skill Development

Riders confirm the riding position and learn to communicate with the horse. Exercises for practicing steering and starting and stopping the horse are introduced and practiced. Control of the horse’s pace at the walk and trot is emphasized. Students learn to be independently in control of their horse and building “muscle memory” is commenced.

Jumping

Introduction to Jumping

Students learn how to canter and go over small obstacles, such as poles on the ground and small cross-rails. Correct approach and the use of the arena is emphasized, so when the rider is ready to start jumping higher, he or she understands the basics of successfully getting to and over each jump.

Novice Jumping (Cross-rails to 2’)

For riders with secure positions and control of the horse’s pace, courses of jumps are negotiated and feedback given. Riders learn how preparatory flatwork impacts how a course is ridden. Correct position and control of the horse are emphasized.

Intermediate and Advanced Jumping

Riders learn how to influence the horse in subtle ways including lengthening and shortening the stride at each gait, plus how to achieve the best performance from the horse in the show ring. The finer points of equitation are covered in order to produce a winning round.

For riders on their own horses, how to train the horse is paramount; exercises will be prescribed for practice between each lesson. Depending on the riders’ competitive goals, whether competing in Hunters, Jumpers or Equitation, exercises and courses are tailored to each rider’s needs. Riders are placed into groups based on age and/or skill level.

Showing Your Horse

Competing in horse shows is a way to put riding skills to the test. Whether getting ready for your first show or trying to move up to the next division, we can help polish your riding and prepare you to meet the challenge. This is also a great time to watch other riders and learn what it takes to achieve a winning round. Sportsmanship and teamwork are emphasized. Additional costs apply.

Lesson Policies

To learn more, please click here to see Clairvaux’s Lessons Policies.

Please contact us for further information on horseback riding lessons or for more information on our services and facilities.

Horseback Riding Lessons
Terri Young teaching a group of young riders

Hunter Jumper Riding Lessons Graduate from Clairvaux
Alison Anderson and Zenith competing in the Culpeper Equitation Classic at a HITS Culpeper Horse Show
Junior Hunter Horse Training Student at Show
Alaina Rhee showing her Mandalay Bay in the Junior Hunters at the Loudoun Benefit Horse Show

Horseback Riding Lessons Student Ashley Schneider and Caramel Topping
Ashley Schneider and Caramel Topping, competing at a VHSA Associate Horse Show