Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Depends. If I need lessons for something very specific, or if it is for jumping or higher level riding, then I think private is better. If I'm going to ride my horse all the time, then private may be better.
If it is for the fundamentals and the trainer keeps us all riding while commenting on specific people, then I prefer group. One of the things you learn in a group is how horses change around other horses, and how to read them and control them. If I'm working on fundamentals, like sitting the trot, then I don't mind the 'quiet' time while I'm practicing while someone else is being looked at. You can also practice formation riding, and controlling your horse so his pace matches someone else.
I can get a lot out of lessons where I ride a different horse each time. For example, I took group lessons this summer. There was a smart, very experienced horse who was always a pain to ride for the first 15 minutes. If you were consistent, however, and always started small to large in the size of your cue inputs, he would start responding to small. By the end of the lesson, he would darn near respond to your thoughts. However, I watched some others riding him, and they ignored the instructor and pretty much 'saved time' by starting their cues at whatever level they thought he needed to get him to respond right away. And at the end of an hour or more, they would have a horse fighting them and causing them difficulty - and yes, they STILL didn't catch on that THEY were the problem.
I also can learn a lot by watching a group lesson, as well. For example, it is amazing how many pay an instructor, and then ignore what the instructor tells them to do...