Discounts can be one way that riding instructors market their services. Some instructors shy away from it while others embrace discounts. It is a very personal decision.
Kristi Harris, a CHA Certified Master Instructor, Combined Clinic Instructor, and a CHA Driving Clinic Instructor in Pryor, Oklahoma, has taught lessons for 35 years. She has never felt the need to offer discounts. “Word of mouth has always kept me plenty busy,” she said, adding that she often finds new business by simply posting notices at local feed and tack stores.
Carol Parker, a New Fairfield, Connecticut, instructor has taught for nearly 40 years using her experience with Centered Riding, CHA, and PATH. “I try to keep my basic lesson rate charges affordable and prefer not to complicate things by offering discounts for a package of lessons or a specific time commitment from students,” said Parker, who considers her rates more affordable since they are priced approximately 15% less than most other instructors in her area.
However, Parker admitted that at this point in her career, she mainly works with longtime students. “Any new clients hear of me through word of mouth or by watching me teach other lessons at their barn,” she added.
Parker said she will waive the lesson fee for someone who organizes a workshop or half-day of instruction from her.
Christina Sdrenka, a Level III CHA Certified Instructor and the owner of Saddlewood Horse Club in Cape Coral, Florida, offer discounts with her monthly lesson program of $35-$75 per month, depending on if it’s a four- or five-week month. “Our monthly program offers a lesson per week, and is the most popular,” said Sdrenka. “For riders who prefer to come less, we offer our ‘once-in-a-while’ lesson.” Discounts don’t apply to riders that only schedule lessons once in a while.
Angela Greenshields, a lifelong instructor in Olympia, Washington, with a CHA Master Instructor certification, handles those who schedule every week the same as Sdrenka. “For weekly students, I discount additional group lessons to encourage participation,” said Greenshields. She also offers a 10% discount to 4H or Pony Club participants to help support the local riding community.
“For instructors and stable owners, I really like to recommend not to sell yourself out,” added Sdrenka. “If you offer a fantastic service, it should be paid accordingly.”