What's your preference: group or private lessons? - Page 4

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What's your preference: group or private lessons?

This is a discussion on What's your preference: group or private lessons? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    10-19-2011, 07:27 PM
Green Broke
Private. I never get the attention I need in group lessons.

Jumping group lessons make me mad. You do the course once or twice, then sit and wait for everyone else to go. NOT COOL.
MIEventer likes this.
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    10-19-2011, 07:36 PM
I think it's ridiculous to say that people don't usually improve if they take group lessons.

I took semi-private lessons for a few months at the beginning of last year. (Only one or two other riders in the arena). My instructor was nice, friendly, and caring, but she was not a good instructor and I gained some bad habits.

Come winter, she didn't have an indoor. So I moved. I was put with a group of beginners and one more advanced rider.

I was taking group lessons with usually around four or five, at the most seven people in the arena. Fast forward to now, and everyone who watches us agrees that we've all become much better riders. One who couldn't keep her heels down to save her life, now rides a pretty advanced horse and jumps. One who was once afraid to control her horse, now riding more advanced horses who require a stronger rider- and jumping. One who couldn't get her horse trotting very well- now jumping and cantering. All now with competent postures. Me? My posting was horrible, my posture was a bit of a mess, and I was stiff as a board. Now I'm relaxed, my posture is much better, and my posting looks like a competent rider's. I'm now jumping and cantering my excitable Thoroughbred lesson horse.

I find that it also depends on your instructor and yourself. With my instructor, she divides the attention between the students very fairly and productively, and almost always has us riding. (I use almost because she has us do jumping and cantering one at a time right now). The few times I've had a private with her I enjoyed it much less than my group lessons.

They're also much better if you plan to show. You will not only learn how to control horses around other horses, how to not crash into other horses (kind of an important skill), but also warning signs that a fight is going to happen if you don't get your horse's butt moving quick.

Plus, where I live, group lessons are an hour where privates are only a half hour. It's also ALWAYS more for a private. At my place it's $30 for a group lesson and either $35 or $40 for a private, I can't remember. I've found that half an hour of riding now feels like practically no time at all to me, especially when nothing dramatic happens. (Nothing slows down time like waiting with bated breath to see if one of your group members is going to fall off or not).

Over all, while you may get a little more attention in a private I think that group lessons expose you to more difficult and random situations which will help you to improve and gain experience as a rider.
ridingismylife2 and VelvetsAB like this.
    10-19-2011, 09:46 PM
Green Broke
I just want to add that in I know that my coach sometimes pays more attention to me. Not because I am "special" or more liked, it is because I actually WANT to improve my riding, and learn to do things properly. Some of her other students are fine with coasting. She doesn't do it all the time, just occasionally when the other kids are goofing around and not getting down to business. (For example...they were still adjusting their stirrups 15 minutes into the lesson, and I was well on the way to being warmed up. I got to start jumping while they had to finish warming up.)

There is a $5 dollar difference for me between an hour group lesson ($38) and a half hour private ($43). The half hour is short, but am lucky enough that I can get a short warmup in before my half hour starts.

So although a coach can be shoddy, and not distribute teaching evenly, it is still up to the students to want to learn and better themselves as a rider. To me, its kind of an even split on whose fault it is for not improving.
    10-20-2011, 12:22 PM
Private lessons all the way. I think I'd end up being too self-conscious that the other riders will judge me or something. I dunno. But I am selfish and prefer the individual attention that I get in private lessons.
    10-20-2011, 01:01 PM
Originally Posted by Cinder    
I think it's ridiculous to say that people don't usually improve if they take group lessons.
I don't think anyone said that. But the speed of the improvments/progress is VERY different in group vs private.

Think about it this way: 4 students for 1 hour get 15 mins of attention each (even less, because indeed you waste you time waiting while every person is done with jumps, or leg yield, or canter, or whatever else). The usual length of the private lesson around here is 45 mins. So you are getting at least 3 times more attention from the trainer (and no wasted time what so ever). Now if you compare the price private will be cheaper vs what you actually get as a service.

BTW, I completely agree it depends a lot on instructor. With not very good instructor it doesn't matter if you take private or group - the progress will be minimal.
MIEventer likes this.
    10-20-2011, 02:17 PM
I can't go and quote the exact post right now, since I'm at school, but a person said something along these lines: "If you look at a person who takes group lessons, they're going to be the same rider a year later." That is simply not true. If you have a good group of riders and a good instructor, there's going to be imporvement.
    10-20-2011, 02:31 PM
Green Broke
It all depends on who gives the lesson, and what barn you take it at.

I would say out of a 5 person lesson, that's an hour long, there is maybe 15 minutes altogether that I am not doing something...if that.

We all canter at the same time. We all have to circle, and do serpentines at the same time. Not to mention leg yields. It makes us learn to look up, watch what others are doing and better steering. You can't learn that in a private.

The only thing we don't do together is courses. But a single warm up fence is to be continually taken by the 5 of us, spaced appropriately out, so there are no gaps.

You CAN learn in a group lesson. Its just how much YOU work to take stuff from it.

Not to mention, everyone could benefit from doing both group and private lessons.
-groups for the interaction of other horses, and the benefit of seeing others ride.
-private as it works on the stuff that takes a lot of time out of a group (individual problems).
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ridingismylife2 likes this.
    10-20-2011, 02:49 PM
Originally Posted by VelvetsAB    
I would say out of a 5 person lesson, that's an hour long, there is maybe 15 minutes altogether that I am not doing something...if that.
Velvet, my problem is not with doing something, but if you (general you) do those stuff correctly. In individual lesson you are corrected right on spot when you do something wrong (at least that's how my lessons go). With several people instructor physically can't keep attention on everyone.

Now, yes, with good instructor group lessons are beneficial and you do progress (I have no doubt on it). But again in my experience it's quite a slow progress.

But to each own definitely. Tastes differ.
    10-20-2011, 03:43 PM
In individual lesson you are corrected right on spot when you do something wrong
That's another reason why group lessons are good. In a group lesson, you learn how to correct yourself. I assume most of you aren't and don't always have an instructor watch you ride all the time. There probably won't always be someone there to correct your mistakes, so you need to learn to recognize and correct them yourself.
    10-20-2011, 03:46 PM
Pretty much what this is coming to is:

It is safe to say that they both have their advantages and disadvantages.
haleylvsshammy likes this.

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