Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
My instructor used to say 5 hours of flatwork to every hour of jumping.
It depends on why you are doing flatwork though. If you are just a trail/pleasure rider then, unless you have horse control issues, you wouldn't really need to do any at all. If you are planning on competing in one of the english disciplines, then you should be doing lots and lots of flatwork.
Don't make the mistake of just riding around in circles. You'll get bored, your horse will get bored and you won't achieve much. Set out an aim and a plan for your flatwork (doesn't have to be written or anything, just in your head). Decide what you want to achieve that lesson and how you will achieve it. If you have a big goal that will take multiple lessons to achieve then break it down into steps. Spend a little time going over what you did last lesson, often you need more than one session to "cement" something.
I've always believed that dressage is the basis to riding, well at least to all english riding, I've never done any other. If you don't have your flatwork/dressage down pat, everything else is going to suffer.
Its good you have started flatwork :) Don't view it as something you have to do though, view it as like fun, like a game or something.