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Riding Lesson Program
Lesson Horses Available!

Don't have your own horse?

Use of our lesson horse herd is for students who are willing to commit to at least eight lessons. If you are not ready to make this commitment, please see our 'Guest Rides' page. 

Ranch Horse "Adoption" Fee. 

Any student wishing to take horseback riding lessons who does not own a horse of their own will "adopt" a ranch horse from Little Grizzly Ranch, LLC. "Adoption" refers to a supervised, on-site, use lease and does not refer to any change in ownership of the adopted horse(s). New students are encouraged to take a guest ride prior to adopting. 

Horse

Junior Adopter

$80 per month

Use of horse once per week for half an hour. Instructor supervision is required unless agreed upon otherwise in writing. 

Additional time with your adopted horse may be arranged on a case-by-case basis. 

Instructor Fees Sold Separately

Horse

Youth Adopter

$140 per month

Includes use of horse once per week for one hour. Limited to youth 18 and under or still in high school or below.  Instructor supervision is required unless agreed upon otherwise in writing.

Additional time with your adopted horse may be arranged on a case-by-case basis. 

Instructor Fees Sold Separately

Horse

Equestrain Adopter

$200-$250 per month 

Use of horse once per week for one hour for adult. Instructor supervision is required unless agreed upon otherwise in writing. 

Additional time with your adopted horse may be arranged on a case-by-case basis. 

Instructor Fees Sold Separately

Instructor's Fees

The Following Instructor's Rates are for Ranch Horse Adopters only.

Ranch Horse Adoption Fee paid separately from Instructor's Fees

Once Weekly 1-hour lesson

$100 per month Instructor Fee

Lessons not used within 30 days of purchase are forfeit. 

Add additional lessons to the month for $30 each instructor Fee. 

Once Weekly half-hour lesson

$50 per month instructor Fee

Lessons not used within 30 days of purchase are forfeit.

Add additional lessons to the month for $15 each Instructor Fee.

Dec - March ONLY
one at a time lessons

$30/ hour long lesson instructor Fee

$15/half hour Instructor Fee

During Dec-March only, one at a time lessons are available to ranch horse adopters without a package purchase. 

Need help with your own horse?

With years of experience from colt starting to show prep, we are here to help. 

Instructor Fees

Instructor Fees Start at $50/hour.

Lessons generally last approx. 1 hour but accomplishing goals and ending on a good note are more important to us than the clock. 

4-H Discounts

A $10 discount will be applied to each lesson for current 4-H members. 

Haul-In requirements

Any horse hauled into Little Grizzly Ranch must have proof of a current 6-way and West Nile vaccination. 

Highlights

Little Grizzly Ranch LLC is owned and operated by Jessica Johnson (formerly Plancich). 

Jessica is a fifth generation Montanan. She grew up horseback and loves sharing the passion with others. 

Jessica holds a bachelor's in Natural Horsemanship from the University of Montana Western's four year hands on program. 

Showing locally and at Intercollegiate Horse Show Association events has given Jessica plenty of ribbons to turn into pillow cases, but her real love is horsemanship in the real world -  riding beautiful trails, spending long days working cattle horseback, and gaining a cooperative connection with a horse.  

We provide quality natural horsemanship based lessons for ages four and up. 

We believe that riding should be fun and that riders learn best when they are relaxed, confident, and enjoying their saddle time. 

The Full Story

Jessica Johnson (formerly Plancich) heads up the riding lesson program at Little Grizzly Ranch. 

About me:  I'm a 5th generation Montana girl. I grew up riding. From a young age, I would climb on our ponies bareback and away we'd go. It wasn't until high school that I began taking lessons from a trainer and the difference was incredible. I fell in love with achieving collection on a lose rein, change leads at the touch of a leg, and even riding without a bridle.  Even all these years later, I remember the learning process. 

Every minute that I was not in school, I spent at the barn, riding for four or five hours a day. I gained experience doing local shows and got to be a fly on the wall to watch my mentors train and help problem horses and problem riders. 

I attended college at the University of Montana Western in Dillon Montana and went through their hands-on natural horsemanship program. I compare Western's program to attending a clinic every day for a few years in a row. Riding with others who came from backgrounds in rodeo, jumping, and every discipline under the sun broadened my horizons. I also had the opportunity to travel on the school's Intercollegiate Equestrian Team. I took in outside training to help pay for college and each horse was a invaluable learning experience.

I have a firm conviction that training riders and training horses needs to go hand in hand. Each ride shapes a horse. I am very careful to keep my lesson horses tuned up and honest, to give new riders a fair opportunity to learn. I break new skills down into bite-sized, achievable pieces, to make learning manageable. 

I graduated from Western in 2017 and have spent the last several years working in different facets of the horse industry, from colt starting, show prep, and problem solving, to dude trail rides, summer camps, and private lessons. While I appreciate the show world, my favorite moments horseback are always cresting a mountain with an incredible view.  

WHAT WE TEACH AND WHY

Natural Horsemanship: We base our lesson program on natural horsemanship theories. While many famous clinicians have industrialized "Natural Horsemanship", to us, it still means what great horsemen like Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt intended:

Working with the horse, not against them.

Making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard. 

Using pressure and release. Using release to reward the horse. 

Developing good feel and timing. Knowing not only what to do, but when to do it. 

Equitation 

Did you know that something as simple as holding your reins incorrectly can throw your entire body out of balance when riding? "Equitation" or "Riding Posture" is vital to staying secure in the saddle and achieving your riding goals. We use a wide variety of balance and strengthening exercises to teach riders correct equitation. 

Fun and Games

A true learning mindset comes from being relaxed and open to new information. We do not tolerate "old school"  style coaching and neither should you. 

Horseback Riding is a skill that is very counter-intuitive to the way that we as humans move our bodies. 

Colorful props are used to keep young riders engaged. Games give riders a goal while practicing riding skills. 

Cost:

Why does horseback riding cost more than a piano lesson or a cup of coffee?

You might as well know, horses are not cheap. A reliable, basic horse ($4,000 - $6,000) needs housing and a great deal of food ($300/month board) Each horse must have a saddle ($500-$1,000)  and saddle pad ($100-$300) and breast collar ($180), as well as a bridle ($200) . Some horses must wear leg protection ($100-$200). Horses see a horseshoer every 8 weeks ($50-100), have routine veterinary care (don't even get us started),  and occasional chiropractic visits ($90). Should a horse need a tune up, the going rate for professional training is $800-$1,000/month. Again, don't get us started on the costs of property taxes, facility, maintenance, trucks, trailers, tractors, and labor that are built into the lesson price.  

The lesson program is a labor of love.  We are working-class horse trainers who are proud to be able to offer access to the horse world for those who aren't ready or able to own a horse. Current rates reflect the quality horses and gear we provide and the quality of life that our hard working lesson horses deserve. 

Seeing is Believing:

Come meet the crew or  purchase a sample lesson. We're happy to talk your ear off about horses anytime. Please call or  email to ask about joining the riding lesson program. 

 LittleGrizzlyRanch@Gmail.Com

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