Help !! Novice rider - Private lessons or Group??

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Help !! Novice rider - Private lessons or Group??

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    07-22-2010, 07:16 AM
Help !! Novice rider - Private lessons or Group??

At age 26 I am learning to ride again. I started riding lessons when I was younger around 10/11 years old and loved every minute of it, until I had a bad fall which left me badly bruised along with bruising my confidence. I sadly never rode after that. I have always kept an interest in horses and now I am keen to ride again.

My best friend has 2 Cobs, one which is 15.2hh which she rides and has another horse 14.2hh which she wants someone to ride and hack out with. Although she has allowed me to ride in the outdoor arena to gain confidence and learn to ride again, I have only just begun to trot and get used to rising never mind canter etc. The horse in which I am riding was a school horse for a number of years and was used to help teach disabled children so he is relaxed, confident and very easy going allowing novice riders.

I have been thinking more and more about going to professional riding lessons once a week to gain a little more experience with the help of a qualified instructor. I know the instructor will help me to ride correctly rather than me learning on my own and picking up bad habits and passing them on to the horse.

Therefore, this weekend I am hoping to visit a few equestrian centres to find which would be best for me. However, I am unsure whether to pay extra to have private one to one lessons once a week or to have group sessions. I do find that I learn best when I can visualise what people ask of me and I think a group lesson would be beneficial however I have worries that I wont be at the full attention of the instructor and may take longer to learn about MY riding habits etc if we are in a large group.

Should I start doing private lessons firstly then move onto group lessons or vice versa?

What would you recommend?
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    07-22-2010, 07:31 AM
I'd say group, then private. Group lessons are good for mastering the basics, confidence etc, but anything after that private is the way to go.
    07-22-2010, 07:43 AM
I think it depends. I have had lots of fun in groups of peers, but at your age, I wouldn't think you would want to be in with a bunch of kids. Frankly, I would find that a bit intimidating, since they have NO fear, and you are dealing with some confidence issues. We used to do "ladies night", which was tremendous fun, and we all supported each other. If you can find such a group, I think it would also make it lots of fun! We all lessoned together, then went out (in barn clothes, and, yes, cleared a few restaurants!). Good luck!
    07-22-2010, 07:46 AM
It is a tough decision. Both offer something worth while.

I think it will depend on the instructor you pick. Watch some group lessons at the facility you choose. If the instructor is attentive to the students and the groups are a smaller size that might be the way to go. Being in a group might also push you a little more.

Something to ask when you are checking out the facilities is if you start with group lessons and you later find you want to switch to private lessons is that an option.

You might find that most places will require you to take at least one or two private lessons before joining a group anyway. This gives them the ability to determine your riding level before having to deal with you in a group.
    07-22-2010, 08:10 AM
Originally Posted by franknbeans    
but at your age, I wouldn't think you would want to be in with a bunch of kids.
I didnt even think of that!
Its probably best to talk to your instructor about it then
    07-22-2010, 08:18 AM
I tried both and I must say private all the way. Yes, they are (unfortunately) more expensive, but you learn SO MUCH more in private. And the instructor pays attention to your seat/legs/hands, etc. I tried group lessons in 3 or 4 barns and I noticed the instructor doesn't really care how you sit, or post, or canter - just give directions what to do to the whole group and that's it. I'm not saying it's true everywhere, but it was my personal experience. I progressed 10 times more with private than group lessons.
    07-22-2010, 09:39 AM
On the other side of that coin I have seen a couple of kids who thrived in group lessons who were not getting any where in privates.

The best exampe is a girl that is a very timid rider and would spend most of her private lesson making excuses why she did not want to canter today, etc.
Then one week she had to do a make up and ended up in a semi private with another little girl. The other little girl is fearless. Timid girl did not want to admit in front of her new riding friend that she was too scared to canter so she cantered and did great. She even asked if she could do a few jumps (ground poles between standards).

And yes, I realize the OP is an adult so this might not apply to her in the same way. But there are adults too that if they see how others are surpassing them that will push them to work harder to move forward too.
    07-22-2010, 09:59 AM
I started with private when I started back recently, then I may move to group. I had alot of little things that needed to be tweeked and I may have not gotton that attention had I been in a group.

Also at first my confidence was not high and it would not have helped me being around a group of people that really know what they are doing or being in a group with 20, lol.
    07-22-2010, 10:28 AM
Originally Posted by franknbeans    
I have had lots of fun in groups of peers, but at your age, I wouldn't think you would want to be in with a bunch of kids. Frankly, I would find that a bit intimidating, since they have NO fear, and you are dealing with some confidence issues.
Actually I'm older than OP , and I ride with 2 kids (13 & 16 I believe) when there is a time conflict with my private lesson. Never had any issues or felt any intimidation. You are there to learn, so who cares what other think. On other side both kids are VERY nice, so that's part of it I'd guess. But as I said with too many people in group (and I consider 3 already to be too many), the instructor just doesn't have enough time/energy to check on every person constantly.
    07-22-2010, 11:02 AM
Same situation for me. At 22 I decided to start riding again and even bought my self a 5 yr old paint. I needed confidence building and I decided to go private at first. Then my lesson instructor had another young women aged 25 around the same skill level and now we ride together semi private. So I say if you find someone around your skill level and age I would do semi-private. Im learning a lot riding with this other girl.

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