Frequently Asked Questions
How we work
Can I come and ride your horses?
We do not offer trail rides, pony rides or lessons to non-members. Once a year, we will offer pony rides at our Open House. We do not offer birthday parties. If you are interested in taking horseback riding lessons, please see “Joining Lancers”.
I want to take lessons, but I’ve never ridden before!
I want to take lessons and have previous experience!
In order to be considered for our membership, your previous experience must be equal to or greater than the experience gained in our beginner course programs. From time to time, a space in our membership will become available. When this happens, we are able to offer it to a rider with previous experience that would be suitable for the lesson group in which a space has become available. More information see here for junior riders and here for adult riders.
I just want to take some private lessons.
What kind of time commitment is taking lessons?
Junior members commit to riding twice or thrice a week and adults ride once or twice a week. This is a year-round commitment and we do not have an “ad hoc” lesson option. Being a member of the Halifax Lancers is about learning to be a good horseperson, not just about learning to ride a horse. We are a not-for-profit riding school which means we count on the efforts of our members to keep our horses cared for and the school running. Our horses work hard for us in our lessons and in return we work hard to ensure our horses have the best care possible. Riders must ensure their mount is properly taken care of before and after their ride and complete their assigned chores. This means you should expect to be at the barn for about 2 hours. Half and hour before your lesson and at least half an hour after your lesson. Additionally, members are expected to volunteer time outside of their lesson times to help with the ongoing fundraising and events that ensure the future of the Halifax Lancers.
I want to ride, but I don’t know if I can afford it financially.
Keeping horses is an expensive endeavour, and comes with many necessary costs. That being said, we are not-for-profit facility which strives to make this incredible sport accessible to anyone and everyone. We try to keep our fees as low as possible by fundraising much of our operating costs. For junior riders, we have the following funding options: JumpStart, KidSport, The Lucy Cuthbertson Memorial Fund.
Do you have any programs for adults and children who are looking for equine therapy?
Yes! Halifax Lancers truly believe in the therapeutic value of interacting with equines. We provide a therapeutic riding program for individuals who would benefit from equine therapy. More information click here.
Are boys allowed to ride?
Yes!! While our riders are predominately female identifying, we do have male identifying adult and junior riders and encourage anyone and everyone with a love for horses to inquire about our programming!!
Fun Fact: Equestrian is the only Olympic sport in which men and women compete directly against one another as equals
Why do all your riders wear red?
The Halifax Lancers are proud of their history and visibility in Downtown Halifax. The red polos worn by our riders are representative of this history. Red is one of the four regimental colours the Halifax Lancers received in the 1949. Read more about our history here.
Do you have any camps for non-members?
Yes! We offer camp programs for March Break and throughout the summer for children between the ages of 8 and 12! There is no experience necessary to join these camps. Keep an eye on our website and our Facebook page for more information on how to register!
How long have you been in Halifax?
The building was built in 1908 and originally was a city works building. In 1936 it was taken over by Dick Zwicker and became the Halifax Ride and Drive Club. After the success of the film The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, the children convinced Mr. Zwicker to change the name and we became the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers. For more information about our history, see here.
How many horses are in there?
The barn is larger than it appears! We have 27 stalls but currently have 27 horses who call lancers their home Our horses are on a rotational vacation schedule all year long, so at any time two of our horses are enjoying two weeks off in the countryside! As well, two of our stalls are occupied by the police horses, Sarge and Valour.
Are you open to the public?
We are! If you would like to have a tour of the barn, the best time is to come for one of our many public events during the year. We are an operational riding school and the safety of our riders and horses is number one. For this reason, we ask that you stop by the office before passing through the lobby of the barn. If time allows and it is safe to do so, a member of the Halifax Lancers will be happy to take you on a tour of the facility. During the summer months, we encourage the public to watch any of the lessons going on as well! For more information regarding public events page.
When are you open?
Lessons run from Monday to Saturday each week. Our office hours are posted on Facebook although can be subject to change. You may email us to arrange a tour.
Due to insurance, it is difficult for non-member to volunteer to work with the horses. To learn more about how non-members can volunteer at Lancers, please click here.
How can I volunteer to work with the horses?
How much time do the horses spend in the paddocks?
We have three turn our areas at Lancers and every horse in the barn is part of a small turn out group. Each group spends 2-4 hours per day seven days a week out playing with their friends!
How do the horses fare living in the city?
Our horses live a happy and healthy life here in Halifax. Every horse enjoys turnout in one of our 3 turn-out areas for a few hours every day with their buddies, and our lesson program keeps them in regular exercise 6 days a week! We have a modern ventilation system that ensure good air quality in the barn year round. Our horses also enjoy a good amount vacation time with our rotational vacation schedule. At any given time, two of our horses are off enjoying vacation in the countryside!
How long do horses stay in your program?
Our horses stay in our program as long as they are happy and healthy! Many of our horses have been with us since they were quite young, and many stay into their senior years. With a wide variety of riders at varying sill levels, every stage of the horses’ life provides unique learning opportunities. When they start to let us know that the lesson horse life is no longer for them, we strive to find them the perfect retirement home! If you are looking for a light riding or companion horse, we may have just the animal for you! Visit our Retire a School Horse page for more information.
Are all of your horses privately owned?
We currently only have one horse in house that is privately owned by one of our members. The rest of the horses are owned by Halifax Lancers as a whole. When you become a member, you essentially become a part owner of 27 horses. As a not-for-profit riding school, we rely on the expertise and education of our membership and staff to help provide the best care possible for our barn and horses.
Where do the horses go in the winter?
We are lucky enough to have an indoor arena that allows us to be operational 365 days a year. This means that we can have lessons and turn our horses out during the winter months and our wet maritime springs!
There are some really small horses. Are they babies?
We have no baby horses (foals) in the barn. Our program is not suitable for foals but we do have a number of young horses which our riders are developing into wonderful school horses. The smallest horses you see out in our paddocks are actually ponies! An equine qualifies as a pony if it is under 14.2 hands. Ponies are different breeds from horses, like how there are small dog breeds and large dog breeds! Our oldest equine also happens to be our smallest equine, Jake! For more about individual horses, see our horse page!