What's your preference: group or private lessons? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 59 Old 10-18-2011, 11:16 PM
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I prefer private lessons.

I don't mind semi-private (3 people max) for the occasional jump lesson or for cross country schooling.
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post #22 of 59 Old 10-19-2011, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
IMHO, this is a fault of the student more so than having a group.

I would listen to the instructor tell someone to shorten their reins, or to lift their toes and settle back - and then I would watch to see if there was any reasonable attempt at complying.

And in many cases, the answer was no - which is why some of the riders seem to be riding at the same level they were when I took my first lesson there.

There are things that can be taught in a group that cannot be taught individually, and vice-versa. But no one can be taught if they won't listen.
I am going to disagree. I think this falls on the Coach. Many Coaches are not capeable enough of teaching 5+ students at a time, and in such "large" groups, each student does not get the needed attention to help them obtain what it is being given to them, and to apply it. The coach has to spread themselves over 5+ riders in the hour of the lesson - that's less than 15 minutes per indavidual that the rider/student gets from the coaches attention.

In a Private situation, the Coach can focus entirely on that student, and to help them obtain what it is that they are trying to teach them. If the Coach doesn't see them allowing their heels absorb their bodies weight, then they can focus on that issue until the student's light bulb goes off. Instead, in a group lesson, that Coach doesn't have the needed time to find that switch - because they have to focus on 4+ other people who are riding with him/her at the same time.

It's one thing to be told to get your toes at a 45 degree angle, but it is another to understand as to why, how and what it will do for your lower leg if you do apply it.

In the group lessons I would observe taking place, I found the Coaches would watch one rider do their course, throw out a few "pointers" and then say "Good job" and then the next would go, while that student would sit there for 10 minutes until it was their turn again. I would see these students not improving in the least and if they did, it wasn't very much. Reason being, is because the Coach cannot possibly give each indavidual the needed attention time.

There is no way, that a Coach can give each indavidual rider what they need/require in a group lesson - while in a Private, that indavidual rider gets the full attention of that Coach for the whole lesson.

In groups, I do not obtain anything when the Coach shouts out at me to fix something, and then their attention is moved onto someone else, leaving me to my own devices until she/he chooses to direct their attention back at me. All the while I am trying to figure out if I am doing what it is, correctly or not.


If groups work for you, fabulous. That's great. Stick to them if that's what works for you.
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post #23 of 59 Old 10-19-2011, 12:18 PM
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Based on my experience with multiple trainers and in multiple barns I agree with MIE ^^. You progress very differently when you take private vs group one.
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post #24 of 59 Old 10-19-2011, 12:43 PM
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I don't offer group lessons either at home or in my clinics. I feel there will always be people who will end up getting uneven treatment in the lesson. I just don't like knowing if one person has an issue that needs immediate attention, it will be at the co$t of the other students.

I remember riding in a Mike Plumb clinic with about six other riders. Mike really liked the stallion I was riding and spent the lion's share of the time on us. While I was flattered, I was mortified at the same time. I feel like many of the other riders in the clinic completely wasted their money.
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post #25 of 59 Old 10-19-2011, 12:56 PM
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I think both types can be very useful.

Last week I had a lesson with two other people. I have a green 5yr old that is being put into a semi-heavy training. Having other horses in the arena was good for him. When he became very nervous and upset at one point about something new, my trainer had the rider (older, extremely competent rider) on the alpha mare in the barn go in front of him, he calmed down immediately and then we slowly weaned her away. Was a very good lesson for both of us, since both of us were on nervous horses (hers was coming back after a good 6mo off) who needed the support of having their horsey friends with them.

This week I rode with one other person which ended up being a giant fail. The other rider was a 10yr old, slightly nervous kid and 20 minutes into the lesson my green 5yr old turned into a bucking bronco. So now my trainer had a horrified, freaked out kid who was riding a half-dead lesson horse that stood there looking amused at the 5yr old wasting all his energy on being stupid and me on my lovely bronc.

Calmed my horse down and hopped off to lunge him so my trainer could work with the kid and then work with me once I no longer had a stupid horse. Nope, dingbat decided he forgot how to lunge and had all intents of killing himself and everyone else, so now there was a terrified kid and his mom scrambling for the exit as stupid literally dragged me around trying to charge people until my trainer beaned him square in the butt with a cone and then flipped himself. So poor kid ended up sitting outside the arena for an hour while my trainer and I lunged stupid, who proceeded to flip himself twice more!! The kid finally got a lesson after stupid was too exhausted to do anything so I was able to get back on him.

Next week, we're going back to private lessons. Nobody's idea of a good lesson is sitting outside the arena watching someone else's young, green horse be really stupid although the kid did announce that he's planning on staying after his lesson just to see what my horse does next week!
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post #26 of 59 Old 10-19-2011, 05:07 PM
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I like both. Since I work shift work, I get to take both, so it works out to be an even mix.

I enjoy riding with other people in a group (normally) but I also like the one on one of a private.

However, the coaches I ride under are good at making sure everyone gets an equal amount of time.
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post #27 of 59 Old 10-19-2011, 05:45 PM
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Private all the way.
When I switched lesson barns (first one had a ridiculous number of people in a group lesson, sometimes over 4-5) to my current barn, I have NEVER gained more fitness/muscle faster in my life than when I started taking hour private lessons. I like the personalization and the fact that I sometimes have to push myself to get through and hour of no-stirrups etc with no break.
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post #28 of 59 Old 10-19-2011, 05:56 PM
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I prefer private lessons, I don't like just sitting there while I wait for 4 or 5 other people to do their course. I do like watching other people ride as I find it helpful, but I would rather pay for a private and spend all of the lesson focusing on me and my horse. I also find I get distracted watching the other riders and focusing on what their doing rather than what I'm doing.
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post #29 of 59 Old 10-19-2011, 06:11 PM
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I think one definitely gets more out of a private lesson. The trainer is focused on you only, and is more hands on training.

But, in a group lesson, sometimes you're put in with a more advanced rider. When it's you and that other rider out there, you're doing everything you can to look like you know what you're doing in front of them. It sets a goal for you, and you find yourself riding 10x better than when it's just you and your trainer. Plus, their fun. So both really do have their benefits.

For me, I do private lessons since that's primarily what my trainer does. My hunter trainer on the other hand, usually only has about 2-3 students in her classes, so I'll do group lessons then for when I'm in a hunter phase.

If you're just starting out though, private lessons are likely to benefit a person more. But once you've reached a point of more advanced riding, and just very picky touch ups, your riding abilities can afford occasional fun group rides.

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Last edited by DejaVu; 10-19-2011 at 06:15 PM.
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post #30 of 59 Old 10-19-2011, 06:18 PM
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I really do prefer Private & all of my lessons are commonly private, jumping, dressage, etc.

Although, for training day's - I am happy to do small groups (3 or 4 riders). I believe that if these are well structured you can still get loads out of it & they are fun! However, I don't like having other riders who are 'favoured' over others. Although - I personally have never had this issue. But Ic can understand where others are coming from.

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Last edited by ChingazMyBoy; 10-19-2011 at 06:20 PM.
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