Equine Riding and Program Instructor

Summit Valley Horse Center

2024 Equine Instructor Job Description 

OverviewSummit Valley Horse Center is seeking a knowledgeable, experienced, creative and self-motivated riding lesson and horsemanship class instructor. This individual will teach introductory, intermediate and advanced riding lessons and horsemanship classes to a broad range of age, skills and abilities.  Riding lessons may be taught independently or with a group.  

Candidates must have extensive horse experience and be able to safely provide instruction about the horse, from the ground up, including (but not limited to) catching, haltering, grooming, leading, tacking, introductory (primarily walk/trot) riding, as well as lunge line and ground work lessons.  The Equine Instructor should be able to ascertain and match each rider with the appropriate program horse available.  Riding instruction may be English or Western style based on instructor experience and rider preference.  Horsemanship classes require extensive knowledge in groundwork skills and assisting/teaching volunteers to work with both reliable and rescue horses in a group setting.  Horsemanship classes are taught in group settings, with both beginner and advanced classes being taught multiple times a week.   

Reporting: The Equine Instructor will report directly to the SVHC Executive Director (ED) for scheduling of lessons and horses, and available arena times.  The instructor will also coordinate with ED if any volunteer assistance is needed.  Equine Riding Instructor works with ED and Ranch Manager to coordinate beginner and advanced horsemanship classes, including class curriculum, safety topics, horse and handler pairings and schedule.  


  • 5 days a week, days off depending on staffing and program needs 
  • Seasonal on site at ranch. Ranch is operational 7 days per week May through October.  
  • Lessons are as scheduled by the instructor and may include weekends. The Equine Instructor must teach a minimum of three (3) lessons per week.
  • Lessons include 30 minutes prior to scheduled start for preparation, set up and horse assessment and 30 minutes after for horse and equipment clean up (multiple lessons can be  scheduled consecutively so that only one prep and clean up is necessary). 
  • Available for Horsemanship classes – which may be taught on weekends.
  • Some administrative duties, as well as ranch/program preparation and possibly visiting horse rescue centers to identify potential foster horses,  will occur starting in March
  • Special events on and off the ranch as required 


  • Independent Contractor- responsible for own health insurance, retirement, IRS filings
  • Salary – Based on a per lesson; 50/50 split of revenue between SVHC and Instructor and flat fee of $20-$25/hr (DOE) for each Horsemanship class 
  • Ability to pasture board one horse on site during May-October, hay and board provided. Owner responsible for grain, supplements, farrier and vet expenses. $300/Month.
  • Stipend for General Liability Insurance ($750 annually)
  • Free Wifi at ranch




General Equine Responsibilities:

  • Implementing a horse evaluation system for boarded/reliable horses and fostered rescue horses to identify each horse’s skill level and designate appropriate handler level for each horse.  
  • Evaluating and establishing the minimum student riding level for each lesson horse, records lesson schedules for each horse. 
  • Manages foster horse training logs, including early, middle and end of season evaluations.
  • Assist ED in visiting rescues to evaluate incoming foster horse herd 
  • Assists ED and Ranch Manager with any horse management tasks, including providing insight to horse care and welfare. 
  • The Equine Riding Instructor should provide, or ensure that training rides are complete in order for lesson horses to maintain their training.  
  • Is available to help in equine emergency situations, and helps plan emergency policies and procedures.
  • If needed can help transport horses to and from rescue facilities.  

 Lesson/Equine Responsibilities:

  • Develop riding lesson Standard Operating Procedures, including lesson rates, cancelation policy, and inclement weather policy.     
  • Schedule and teach riding lessons for SVHC members, either group or private lessons, so as to not conflict with horsemanship classes.
  • Coordinate with ED and RM to schedule when horses and arenas will be used for lessons. 
  • Provide a basic riding lesson curriculum for review and approval by ED.
  • Prepare for lessons, ensuring that the horse is properly prepared, is in good health and capable of participating in the lesson, that the riding equipment is in good repair, and that the physical environment is safe, clean, and free of any hazards.
  • Instruct and lead lessons and horsemanship activities following a lesson plan that sequentially builds horsemanship and independent skills in all participants.
  • Communicate with ED regarding volunteers and horses needs for lessons.
  • Maintain a safe program environment for participants, horses and volunteers. Communicate safety plans often and clearly.
  • Communicate with parents, clients and professionals as needed, always in a positive, respectful manner and in-line with SVHC core values.
  • Maintain regular participant record logs, rider evaluations, and lesson plans.
  • Communicate all problems and concerns, especially but not limited to horse health and horse behavior to ED and RM.
  • Abide by SVHC written agreements and policies.
  • Represent SVHC in a positive and professional manner.
  • Ensure all injury waivers are signed by all participants.
  • Clean and inventory tack room including tack, saddles, grooming equipment, etc on a weekly basis. Keep the tack room clean, neat and orderly.   Lessons should include students cleaning any tack used, and proper storage of all tack and saddles after use in lessons.
  • Provide training and support for instructors-in training and volunteers.
  •  Assist with SVHC program classes- Keystone Science School, Girl Scouts, 4-H as required.
  • Track daily lessons and submit invoices for lessons taught, payment by students will be made to SVHC and SVHC will submit payment to IC.  50% 50% split on lessons when using SVHC ponies and program horses.
  • Lessons can be scheduled with outside clients who haul their own horses after SVHC clients are scheduled and as long as it does not interfere with beginner, advanced and junior horsemanship classes.  Outside horses must have negative coggins, and be up to date on 5-way vaccines.  
  • Lessons can be scheduled as instructor and client see fit, as long as they are not in conflict with ranch special events, horsemanship classes, or multi-day kids camps.
  • Assists in teaching children camps to include: Keystone Science School three day Pathfinder Horse Camp.  Tu/W/Th 10am-3pm.  June 11-13, June 25-27, July 16-18, July 30-August 1.       

Horsemanship Class Responsibilities

  • Assist ED with providing a safe and educational environment for volunteers in both the beginner and advanced horsemanship classes.
  • Horsemanship classes are taught 3-5 days a week
  • Assist in volunteer training, orientation, and ongoing education opportunities.
  • Direct volunteers in a positive, respectful manner before, during, and after classes and empower volunteers to provide the best possible experience for participants.
  • Beginner Horsemanship class instruction includes teaching beginners and new volunteers the basics of horse handling on the ground.  Including horse behavior, horse and handler safety, catching, leading, grooming, round penning, desensitizing, introduction to obstacle course.  Will assist in testing out each volunteer before they move to advanced class. Works with the ED to create a lesson plan, safety briefings, and volunteer education pathway. Strong emphasis on horse and handler safety.  Beginner Horsemanship utilizes the privately owned reliable horse herd.   
  • Advanced Horsemanship class instruction includes working with volunteers that have completed the Beginner Horsemanship class curriculum.  Advanced Horsemanship specializes in working with the foster horses, who have a variety of backgrounds as well as possible physical limitations. The Equine Instructor will teach horse and handler safety, catching, leading, lunging, desensitizing, round penning, saddling, obstacle course, and other skills depending on the physical capability of the horse.
  • Payment per class taught, submitting invoices weekly to ED.
  • Working with ED to establish a training routine if a foster horse requires specialized handling outside of advanced class.              

Administrative Responsibilities

  •  Maintain required insurance and certifications
  • Adheres to all SVHC agreements, organizational rules and policies, state and federal laws when conducting work on SVHC leased property.
  • Models and promotes safe behaviors in all work environment in accordance with health and safety laws and SVHC policies
  • Weekly provides lesson income and listing/log of students/lessons on a pre-approved invoice for that week to ED and Treasurer.
  • Obtains approval from ED for any purchases above $500 for ranch.
  • Timely submission of all approved ranch purchase receipts and invoices to ED for processing (within 2 weeks of purchase, or by the 28th of each month).
  • Provides monthly briefing to ED two (2) days prior to monthly Board of Director meeting.
  • Participates in all required manager meetings.

Skills & Qualifications

  • Hold and maintain a certificate in riding instruction, such as Certified Horseman Association, USEF, American Riding Instructor Association or equivalent agency.  If needing to recertify a commitment to recertify by year’s end required.  
  • Bachelor degree in Equine Science or related degree preferred, or a minimum of 5 years of experience as a lesson/riding instructor
  • Must be able to demonstrate proficiency of horse care and behavior.
  • Extensive equine management knowledge and experience required.
  • High level of commitment to the care and well-being of all animals residing at SVHC
  • General computer knowledge, including invoicing and record keeping
  • Must possess strong leadership, client relationship and solid organizational skills.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to communicate in a respectful and friendly manner and remain calm in stressful situations.
  • Strong managerial and leadership qualities with the ability to think creatively, solve problems, and prioritize.
  • Ability to work with a team and volunteers in a collaborative manner. Must be adaptable and flexible. Ability to interact with a diverse group of people
  • Maintains a positive work environment.


  • Valid driver’s license.
  • Has current liability insurance as independent contractor
  • Candidate must be 21+
  • Successfully complete pre-employment background check.
  • Has current and required certifications
  • Ability to withstand various weather conditions and physical demands
  • Ability to stand for multiple hours
  • Can stoop, bend and do manual labor
  • Can lift 50-75 pounds
  • Ability and experience driving horse and equipment trailers

We are an equal opportunity organization and welcome applicants from all backgrounds. If you are passionate about ranch work, have the required qualifications and experience, and are looking for a new challenge, we want to hear from you.

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Summit Valley Horse Center

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Job Details

  • Silverthorne, Colorado
  • 5+ Years Experience
  • Full-Time
  • $20 - $35
  • Date Posted: February 21, 2024
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