High-Tech EQ Riding Tips

How to Get the Most Out of Virtual Horse Riding Lessons

virtual horse riding lessons
Written by Susanna Wright

A big thanks to Ride iQ for making this educational article possible.

No coach? No problem!

If you’re anything like me, you love horse riding lessons. They provide perspective, inspiration, goals, and tips I can try “in the moment.”

Finding an instructor you click with makes ALL the difference, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.

If you keep your horses at home, like I do, there may not be any trainers nearby. Or, maybe the coaches you love aren’t taking new students. Perhaps you even have a good trainer, but you can’t afford weekly lessons.

Pre-internet, we were limited to pestering local trainers for lesson time. If you were lucky, maybe you boarded at a barn with a good trainer, or could load up and haul to a nearby facility. Luckily, technology has made riding lessons way more accessible.

Whether you record yourself and send it to a trainer for post-ride feedback, invest in live virtual lessons, or subscribe to a lesson mobile app, remote sessions can provide incredible value. Properly preparing yourself (and your horse) make virtual lessons even more valuable!

schooling horse at home

Many of us ride alone most of the time

Virtual Lessons 101

No matter if you’ve ridden for decades, or just started, you can always improve. This article is all about how to get the most out of virtual horse riding lessons—from the comforts of home.

Virtual horseback riding lessons consist of utilizing technology (as easy as a mobile app or as sophisticated as a GPS-tracking camera system) to connect with equine professionals. 

Instead of only watching videos on YouTube and reading books, then attempting to remember and implement what you’ve learned, virtual lessons help you improve in the present moment.

You can even connect with top trainers in your discipline thousands of miles away.

Whether you’re looking to improve your ride, get feedback on your horse’s suitability or training level for your specific discipline, or just want structured practice before your next show, virtual lessons expand your reach and skills in a whole new way.

It’s also a GREAT option for professional riding instructors who want to connect with new students. On the Ride iQ app, more than 25 coaches from six disciplines share their expertise via virtual riding lessons. For the vast majority of riders, this means the opportunity to access to Olympic-level talent that we’d never be able to afford in person!

ride iq coaches

Ride iQ gives everyday riders access to the world’s top instructors

The Virtues of Going Virtual

  • Accessibility: Breaking down geographical barriers. You can access top trainers across the globe.
  • Convenience: Flexibility in scheduling and location. Take lessons at your convenience.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Reduction in expenses related to travel and arena fees. Less travel = more lessons!
  • Safety: Minimization of risks associated with hauling horses off property. You can get lessons at home.
  • Variety: Exposure to different teaching styles and instructors. You aren’t locked into one instructor or discipline.

The Flip Side

  • Lack of physical interaction with instructors. There is something to be said about face-to-face time, especially when building a working relationship.
  • Technical difficulties and connectivity issues. “Can you hear me now?” You may need cell service and possibly WiFi depending on the technology.
  • Limited feedback. Virtual lessons can be a great addition to a lesson program, but may not be a substitute for in-person lessons in all situations.

Pro Tip: Apps like Ride iQ include community-building features right into your subscription so you feel connected… virtually!

For example, you can tune in to weekly live sessions with top experts to ask questions (or listen back later).

Tackling the Technology

There is a lot of variability when it comes to virtual riding lessons. Virtual lessons includes everything from live lessons via streaming video, pre-recorded lessons to listen along to, or post-ride feedback & analysis based on a recording you submit.

Lesson format can vary as well.

Depending on your chosen format, you may be able to use just your cell phone, or you may choose to invest in some equine-specific gadgets. Ride iQ offers an “offline mode” so you can download and play lessons even when you’re out of cell range!

Easy & Cost Effective: Meet Ride iQ

While not all virtual lessons require downloading an app, there are some really cool equine-related coaching apps on the market. App-based lessons are the most convenient and accessible, making them great options for when you’re on the go!

Ride iQ is an easy-to-use app offering virtual lessons from world-class instructors around the globe. From podcasts to audio lessons you can listen to as you ride, this app packs a LOT of features into a fun package.

Your monthly subscription includes unlimited audio lessons, weekly access to equestrian experts, and lessons designed for a variety of levels.

ride iq website

Ride iQ is a great choice for Horse Rookies

What We Love:

  • Expert advice from the worlds of Eventing, Hunter/Jumpers, and Dressage, along with veterinarians, sports psychology coaches, farriers, judges, grooms, rider strength and conditioning coaches, natural horsemanship and groundwork experts, etc.
  • More than 400 searchable lessons to choose from
  • Lessons and new podcast episodes are added every week
  • Variety of resources available to support learning in different ways
  • Lesson support videos and full lesson videos for visual learners
  • Access to a private online community
  • Save your favorite lessons so you can revisit them anytime
  • No cell service? No problem! You can download content and listen to it offline
  • Specific training plans tailored for OTTBs
  • Practicing a dressage test? Have your test called out in the time it takes to ride it
  • A monthly membership costs less than your average in-person lesson
  • Free 14-day trial for new users (get it here)

What We Wish For:

  • Would *love* Western-specific lesson content for non-English and cross-discipline riders
  • You’ll need to carry your phone with you while you ride and have a safe way to secure it

Case Study: Trying Out Ride iQ

The Ride iQ app is packed with features that support a variety of learning styles and locations. I particularly enjoyed the podcasts and rider fitness options, beyond the obvious—the ability to have a top-tier coach in my ear as I rode.

The interface is bright, clean, and easy to use. I particularly enjoyed starting with the Top Ten lessons and podcasts to get a feel for what to expect from various content formats.

The Lessons tab allows you to dial things in to get a bit more specific to your chosen discipline, riding level, and horse’s level.

I primarily focused on Flatwork, Rider Fitness, and Sports Psychology.

I also liked the “Collections” option–the “Hot & Spooky Horses” topic feels timely with my green horse!

My favorite option is the ability to download both podcasts and lessons to your individual Library.

This made it easy for me to sit down and select content for later, so when I was ready to ride it was easy to select a lesson. I frequent areas without cell service, so it’s nice to have downloaded content queued up.

virtual lessons

Riding my young mare with “supervision” from Moose

I frequently ride alone. I have a four-year-old AQHA mare that I’m doing a lot of the training on myself. I rarely get lessons, and honestly didn’t realize how much I missed them until I started listening to various lessons during my ride.

Even if I didn’t follow the lesson to a “T” (My indoor arena isn’t big enough to do an 18 meter circle on the inside track!), it was helpful to have a calming voice in my ear, reminding me to sit up straight and use my aids effectively.

These audio lessons bring a new level of focus to my ride, pushing me to mix up my routine. They have helped keep both me and my horse engaged and motivated!

My Favorite Lesson

snip of ride iq app

Everyday Warmup Pattern with Gina Smith

My Favorite Podcast

snip of rideiq app

Setting Yourself Up for Success by Natalie Hummel

My Favorite Warm Up

snip of ride iq app

Pre-Workout Warmup Routine by Jamie Graham of Haybales & Barbells

You can also check out our Ride iQ app review from Dr. Palmer Poutre!

What About Headphones?

Whether you’re live-streaming your ride with your coach or listening to something pre-recorded, you’ll want a pair of Bluetooth capable headphones. Ride iQ specifically recommends Shokz headphones for equestrians.

04/30/2024 04:07 am GMT

These open-ear headphones allow you to stay fully aware of your surroundings. They utilize bone conduction sound technology, so nothing is in your ear. Designed for a secure fit, these are also sweat-resistant.

Virtual Riding Lesson Tips

Try before you commit.

Virtual lessons aren’t for everybody. Before investing in a fancy camera system, test out this type of learning model and ensure you’ll get value out of it. Or, try the Ride iQ mobile app trial to see if you like the format for free!

Ensure proper setup and equipment.

While systems like Pivo and SOLOSHOT are fairly easy to use, you’ll want to take some time up-front to ensure you’re comfortable with the setup and use before spending valuable dollars on a virtual lesson only to have a technology hiccup.

Set the standard for clear communication with instructors.

If you’ve opted for an interactive lesson, be sure to set the stage and clearly communicate your goals and expectations. Don’t be afraid to provide feedback after-the-fact and request small changes to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.

Utilize supplementary resources for skill development.

Yes, hands-on (or butts-in-saddle) experience is the best way to learn a new skill. However, doing some pre-work (watching a video, listening to a podcast, reading up on a particular topic) can all help accelerate your learning in the saddle.

Figure out which resources work best for you and work them into your regular routine.

Maintain physical fitness and flexibility.

Both equines and equestrians are athletes. Be sure to take time to warm up and cool down to avoid injury. Adding stretching or yoga to your routine will help make you a better, stronger rider!

Regularly assess progress and set goals.

Setting goals (both short-and-long-term) is extremely helpful for satisfaction and success in the saddle. You don’t have to have a horse show in your sights to set meaningful goals. Tracking (and collecting credit for) progress makes time spent in the saddle more rewarding.

Parting Thoughts

Whether you’re actively looking to improve a certain skill set, or have a solid routine and established lesson schedule, adding some virtual lessons to your toolbox can benefit any horse and rider team.

There are many amazing resources available for a fraction of what an in-person lesson might cost.

If you’re hesitant to make a big investment in time or money, remember to test out a free trial!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are virtual lessons expensive?

Prices can vary significantly depending on the instructor and amount of their time you’re using. Don’t be afraid to inquire about pricing up front so you know what you’re signing up for!

As of Spring 2024, pricing for Ride iQ was only $29.99/month or $299/year. That’s WAY less than traditional lessons!

I used a virtual trainer to work through some particularly difficult training moments with my adopted wild burros. This consisted of a video series followed by individual sessions. I’d record 5-10 minutes and the coach would watch the footage, sending me detailed analysis and suggestions on what to do next.

Sometimes she would go out and record herself doing something I was having trouble with. In this scenario, she charged $50/hour and would usually spend at least an hour analyzing my videos.

Q: Are horseback riding apps helpful?

While not a 1:1 substitute for live, in-person lessons, riding apps can be a great solution for virtual lessons and continuous learning with our equines. They offer a huge variety of content, and most combine both video lessons with audio formats.

Q: What technology is available for virtual horseback riding lessons?

You can use something as basic as your cell phone or as advanced as an AI-enabled tracking camera to record and live-stream your ride through a Bluetooth headset.

Film your ride hands-free using AI horse tracking technology. The complete Pivo system includes a tripod, smart mount, remote control, and wireless mic.

Want to learn more about Pivo? Check out our complete review here.

The SOLOSHOT is a camera system, mounted on a tripod, that automatically zooms and focuses on you as you ride. This waterproof, shock-proof solution features 4K video, simple setup, and automatic tracking from up to 2,000 feet away.

Another popular system is Pixio. Check our our comparison between the two here.

P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:


Virtual Riding Lessons | Western Horseman

Top 10 Resources to Develop Equestrian Skills Online | Horse Riding Network

Online Equestrian Coaching: Pixio

Ridely App: Your Digital Solution for Training Tracking & Goal Setting

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About the author


Susanna Wright

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