On my ottb gelding I ride for about an hour to get him solidly working for me. I do lots of different things with him like starting laterial movements, gait changes regularly too get him too really listen too me,erpaints, circles, ect. Although I personally don't think that it does matter how long you ride although need .time too warm up,cool down and then actually work your horse.
What do you mean by only just starting flat work? If your only just starting as you've been jumping as jumping too offen then you can risk inguries too your horses legs, ect. Also jumping is only flat work with fences in the way or do you only mean starting dressage percifically! Posted via Mobile Device
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.
I've always done a bit of flat work with Lopez but recently I've realized I need to do a lot more and become /more serious/ towards it. I've been doing lots of trotting with him since that's what he needs and to keep his mind active I'm continually changing directions, I'll do a couple of laps one way before going across the diagonal and going that way a few times and then doing figures of eight. I know this gets him working so I keep him awake by doing that.
I let myself have fun and after he's done really well we'll go jump or go for a ride around the paddock : )
The trouble with flat work is that it puts a huge responsibility on the rider. Just moving around the arena is not enough. You need to engage your horse's mind, and unless all you want to do is exercise him (or even if that's all you want) you should be attempting to improve the way he moves (along with improving your own riding.) That's why you need an instructor.