Let’s face it: accessibility can be a huge issue when it comes to riding. Due to time constraints, geography, or funds (or even a combination of all three!) it is almost impossible to have in-person instruction every time you are on a horse. Thankfully, in the age of the smart phone, there are options for you to continue polishing your equestrian skills outside of traditional lessons.
Ridely and Ride iQ, leading online equestrian education platforms, provide virtual instruction from world-class coaches. This fairly new concept of virtual coaching for equestrian athletes is a game-changer. Both platforms boast unique and highly accessible features designed to provide coaching anytime, anywhere. However, which platform will suit you and your horse’s needs the best?
Why make the investment?
Both Ridely and Ride iQ offer virtual instruction from top coaches. Let’s take a moment to appreciate that in itself. Learning from coaches who have had success at the top level of their sports was previously only an option for a very select few: the rising stars or ultra-privileged. With Ridely or Ride iQ, you get world-class coaching without the world-class price tag (or any of the other hurdles associated with traditional in-person lessons). Both platforms have several instructors including Charlotte Dujardin and Ariel Grald (Ridely), as well as Doug Payne and Lauren Sprieser (Ride iQ). Whether you are searching for grooming tips, beginner walk/trot lessons, or how to perfect your flying changes, these apps can help!
How do the platforms differ?
While Ridely and Ride iQ both provide their own version of equestrian education, they contain several notable contrasting features.
First, Ridely is structured as a ride planning and tracking app with video lessons to provide guidance and inspiration. With Ridely, you can navigate to an instructional video based on the topic you’re interested in. You’ll watch the video, and if it is fitting for you and your horse, you can slot it into your riding calendar within the app. When the time comes to ride, you can apply what you learned in the video to your schooling. Ridely’s journaling feature also allows you to document your rides after the fact including attaching photos or comments. You can also add your coach, parent, friends, or other members of your team to your journal so they can see your day-to-day equestrian activities.
Using Ride iQ
Ride iQ on the other hand is a listen-while-you-ride platform. While several of the lessons include an optional supplemental video clip to help users visualize the desired result, the platform is audio-focused. With Ride iQ, you choose a lesson from the app’s lesson library and then tack up and press play. Depending on the lesson you chose, your coach will be in your ears providing realtime guidance throughout the entire warmup, skill work, or full ride. These are on-demand lessons, so the coach is providing position reminders, cues about how to use your aids correctly, and other training insights in addition to the exercise itself. Ride iQ’s audio-focused approach is the first of its kind, and it is highly successful in promoting horse and rider progress. If you are looking for the closest alternative to in-person lessons, Ride iQ will suit your needs.
Ride iQ routinely adds podcast episodes to their exlusive shows including Hack Chats, Conversations with Coaches, and more, all allowing you to get to know your favorite equestrians better. In addition, Ride iQ hosts weekly, live Q&As with riders and experts, so you can get detailed and knowledgeable responses to all of your horse-related questions. All of the Ride iQ coaches have participated in the Q&As, and other guests have included a US team veterinarian, a top dressage judge, a Grand Prix jumper groom, an equine nutritionist, and more. These live events provide you with a similar personalized aspect that you’d have with in-person coaches, which is valuable in promoting progress.
What are the pros and cons?
While it’s easy to highlight the positive features of Ridely and Ride iQ, it’s important to note the potential challenges each platform poses before making your choice.
Ridely's pros and cons
Ridely’s membership options include a three-month, twelve-month, or lifetime commitment, so you do not have the flexibility of a month-to-month subscription. Ridely also requires you to have internet connection to access lessons, which could be an issue in remote locations. The app, in its watch-and-learn nature, does require you to memorize tips from videos and apply them at a later time. If you have trouble internalizing concepts to memory, this may not be the most helpful platform for you.
On the flip side, Ridely’s unique journalism feature sets it apart from Ride iQ because it provides you with the valuable ability to plan and track your progress. Ridely’s yearly membership is less than Ride iQ’s, at $119.99 compared to $299.
Ride iQ's pros and cons
Ride iQ does not have a comparable equivalent to Ridely’s journalism feature, so if you are searching for a ride tracking or planning tool, Ride iQ may not be the best option for you. Ride iQ is also more expensive, as aforementioned.
In terms of pros, Ride iQ does not require connection to the internet– if you know you will be in an area without cellular service, you can download the lesson of your choice beforehand. Ride iQ is designed to help you while you ride, so you can apply the instruction in realtime (it’s therefore more efficient than having separate time dedicated to learning and riding). Lastly, Ride iQ’s community and direct access to fellow members and coaches is stronger than Ridely PRO’s. Ride iQ is the closest emulator to real-time, in-person lessons, and improves rider confidence and focus during rides.
Ride iQ currently caters to English riding disciplines while Ridely includes some limited Western instruction as well. Both tools are highly rated, widely adopted, and suitable for all levels of riders.
At a glance
- Instruction while your ride with hundreds of audio lessons
- Access to Ride iQ coaches & experts via weekly live Q&As + active online community
- Ability to download lessons for offline use
- Other features include exclusive podcasts, weekly live events, dressage test playbooks, and more
- Available in the Google Play and iOS App Store
- 4.9 rating in the App Store
- Two-week free trial plus listen to one full length lesson any time on the app no subscription required
- Monthly ($29.99) or Yearly ($299) membership
- Unmounted instruction with hundreds of training videos
- Access to other riders and trainers via recently added in-app social groups
- Requires internet connection for use
- Other features include a calendar to track and document rides, goal setting, and shared activity logs
- Available in the Google Play and iOS App Store
- 4.6 rating in the App Store
- One-week free trial
- Monthly ($29.99) or Yearly ($119.99) membership
Which to choose?
The Ride iQ and Ridely apps both have features designed to improve your riding, competition skills, and overall horsemanship. They provide accessible, mobile, world-class instruction.
Both platforms are quite comparable in terms of bonus features. Ridely’s journal feature is intuitive, and it allows you to not only schedule and document your rides, but view statistics on your progress. Ride iQ’s exclusive podcasts and weekly live Q&A’s give you the opportunity to have a personal connection with your virtual coaches and other leading experts—you can even ask your own questions whenever you need guidance or a second opinion.
In the case of instruction, Ride iQ offers an overall better experience. The app allows you to actively listen to instruction while you ride, giving the feel of a traditional lesson. The real-time coaching is suitable for all levels of riding and simulates clinics and lessons in a way no competitor has before. If you prefer learning visually or are looking for a ride planning tool, Ridely is the right choice for you. It is a watch-and-learn platform, which is very useful for strict visual learners–however, it is not comparable to in-person coaching.