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Copyright 2002 Loftmar Stables

Raul & Jan Martin
17620 Central Ave.,  Bowie, MD 20716
(301) 249-7893       fax (301) 249-1015

Riding Instruction 

       Loftmar has an established reputation as an excellent teaching barn.  Lessons are taught to riders of all ages and levels of proficiency. Competent, certified instructors teach in private, semi-private or group formats.  You can meet our instructors here.

Lesson Structure: It is important that you are on time and ready for your lesson.  Using Loftmar's clock, lessons start on the half-hour or hour with five minutes allowed at the end of each lesson for the instructor to check on students preparing for the following lesson or to schedule make-ups.

    Half-hour:  If you are a beginner student taking 1/2 hr private lessons, grooming and tacking are included in your lesson time until you are able to join a group.

    Group:   Students must be present 10 minutes before their group lesson starts to groom and tack assigned horse. You should be in the ring, with your stirrups adjusted, girth snug, and ready to mount within ten minutes of the scheduled lesson start time. If you are late, it is not fair to the others in your group.   

Evaluation:  All new students must complete a 1/2 hour private evaluation at a cost of $ 45. At this time, you will have the opportunity to meet a member of our instructional staff who will personally show you the facility, our horses, answer your questions and advise you of available lessons appropriate for your skill level.   

Non-Experienced Riders:   We start all beginning riders in 1/2 hour private lessons which permits faster progression and enhances the rider's self-confidence. This allows each student to start with a solid foundation of safety and control in tacking and handling their horse as well as in walk and trot. We do not feel it is safe to put 5 people in the ring who do not have control of their mounts.  

Lesson Cancellations: If 24 hr. notice for group, or 48 hr. notice for private is given, the lesson may be made up by riding in another scheduled lesson time. As long as you are a participating student with Loftmar Stables, you will have 3 months to do make up or lesson is forfeited. During the last part of your scheduled lesson time, while horses are being cooled down and put away, is the best time for discussions with instructors and scheduling of make-up lessons. Group make-ups may not be used toward 1/2 hr. private lessons. You may not apply make-ups to your regularly scheduled lessons. 1/2 hr. semi-private lessons must be made up in a group lesson. Lessons are rarely canceled and you will be contacted if they are. 


Riding Attire:  Most important is your riding helmet. We do have some available but, you should purchase your own. SEI/ASTM approved helmets are required. After riding for two months, we require students to have their own riding helmet.  After two months - if a student, does not have their own helmet, there will be a $5 per use rental fee for Loftmar helmets.  Hard sole shoes with a small heel (to help stop foot from sliding through stirrup) or riding boots should be worn. Cowboy boots are not recommended due to the angle of the arch and boot heel. While riding breeches are comfortable, stretch pants will suffice, many students also ride in chaps. Rider should be neat in appearance, shirt neatly tucked in, hair properly up or tied back.

Purchasing Riding Attire:  Dominion Outlet, Crofton, MD (410) 451-2174 should be able to meet your needs. Tell them before your purchase you are a student at Loftmar Stables, and you will receive a 10% discount on full price items. Paddock boot or "Granny" boot styles are very popular and can often be found inexpensively at local discount retailers.

Lesson Preparation:  Proper grooming of the horse is essential to the horse's health, happiness, comfort and will encourage communication between horse and rider.  Check Horse Information Sheet on bulletin board for special requirements for your assigned horse. Be organized-have helmet, grooming equipment and tack ready before getting your horse. If you are tacking in a stall, bridle 1st, saddle 2nd. If in cross-ties, saddle 1st, bridle 2nd. When tacking, tighten your girth gently, re-tighten before you mount, and then tighten a final time after walking your horse. Students must also cool out their horse and put their equipment away after lesson. We encourage team work. If your horse is being used in the lesson before yours, then help someone else in your lesson get ready. We strongly discourage parents from helping the children because they may rely on their parents assistance too much and will not learn as quickly.

Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) Riding Instructor Certification:  Loftmar sponsors CHA Riding Instructor Certification clinics under the auspices of The Association for Horsemanship Safety and Education.  There will be no riding during the second full week in Feb., Apr., Jun., Aug., Oct., and Dec. Lessons will be devoted to the CHA curriculum. This will allow our horses to have a well earned break and permit you to review the CHA material and work towards certificates and badges.  

For more information on attaining CHA certification as a riding instructor go here.

A flyer describing on our next CHA Riding Instructor Certification can be found here; an application can be downloaded here.  See the schedule for our next session here.

Meet Our Instructors

Janet Loftus Martin has been the owner and operator of Loftmar Stables since it was built in 1984. Jan grew up in Bowie and has ridden, owned and trained horses since she was 10 years old.  Jan has competed for others on their horses & ponies, both locally & at rated shows. As an adult she showed Loftmar’s Tuxedo at both local and rated Dressage and Hunter shows. She graduated from Southern Seminary where she majored in Animal Science and Equine Studies/Equitation. In 1993, Jan received her CHA Master Instructor certification for riding and teaching through the advanced level in both English and Western styles of riding. Jan is involved in many horse related programs and organizations helping to promote horse safety, sportsmanship, education and enjoyment. Jan served as president of the Maryland Saddle Association and as VP of the National Capital Equestrian League and also managed Maryland Horse Show Association (MHSA) rated show series. Jan’s husband, Raul, works keeping everything around the farm in top order. You may have seen him at the shows in the Western division. You also may have seen Jan and Raul’s girls, Christina, Kasey, and Jenifer competing and winning on their ponies and horses over the years.

Jenifer Martin grew up at Loftmar Stables. She has an extensive background showing in the hunters, and equitation divisions. While attending Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ as an Equine Studies major she competed and qualified for the IHSA Finals as well as competing at many local to top A rated shows over the years. Jen is a CHA certified instructor. Her wealth of knowledge, background and sweet personality makes her a wonderful person to learn from. In addition to her normal teaching, camp and coaching at local and rated shows both here in Maryland and New Jersey, Jen has coached our championship NCEL Adult team & our Spalding High School team which she started more than 10 years ago.

Kristy Alvarez has owned horses and has been riding and showing locally since she was young. She is a CHA certified riding instructor and teaches Loftmar’s camps, lesson program as well as coached our adult team and competing on it for many years. She was also a fourth grade school teacher and now mother. Her background, warm personality, and attention to details make her a wonderful instructor. Kristy also founded Desire Ministries where broken horses & people find hope & healing together through love.


Amanda Takacs rode growing up in New Jersey. She attended Virginia Intermont College where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Equine Science as well as a minor in Business Administration in 2007. She was on the IHSA intercollegiate riding team all four years in college. Amanda is also a certified instructor through ARIA. Amanda taught in NJ & PA and before she came to Loftmar she was the barn manager at Goucher College in Baltimore MD as well as taught and coached students there. She has coached Loftmar’s Adult and Short Stirrup teams to many wins. Her students truly enjoy her because of her upbeat, positive teaching style.