Concerns of going from private to group lessons!
 
 

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Concerns of going from private to group lessons!

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  • Going private concerns

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    10-27-2011, 10:43 AM
  #1
Yearling
Concerns of going from private to group lessons!

I've been taking private lessons for almost a year and due to my barn no longer having an indoor arena, I'm forced to find a new barn for the colder months. There's a very respected hunter / jumper barn near me that I really want to ride at, however, they are only able to get me into adult group lessons and I have a few concerns but I don't know if they are valid.

In seven months I was able to W/T/C with/without stirrups and reins. My lessons were kind of all over the place but we've done work on leg yielding, shortening & lengthening strides, bending, two point / half seat, bending, simple lead changes, galloping and some collection. I think that's pretty good for a beginner to learn in that time frame.

My biggest concern is that going into group lessons I will be held back or not progress as fast as I have been. I'm in my 20's and have dreams of showing someday. I like being challenged, pushed to the limit. This sounds silly but I'm worried my group lesson will be composed of older riders who are more or less interested in riding for pleasure and because of that the instructor won't push people too hard.

Should I ask the new barn what the current group is working on, how old the riders are? I'm not sure how to convey that I want to be around competitive riders. For all I know, the group could be more advanced than me and very competitive... I just don't know how to ask without coming off weird. Would it be weird to ask, or are these valid questions I should raise with the barn?
     
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    10-27-2011, 10:55 AM
  #2
Foal
Taking lessons/instructing, the teacher student relationship in the end always comes down to a business relationship. You are willing to pay money for a servuce. The barn offers service for money. Customer satisfaction should be a goal here, too. A potential customer should be able to ask any question in order to make the right decusion.

After all, you wouldn't buy an insurance for example without asking for every detail first. Why should it be different for lessons?

I know, I always ask the silliest questions, then take a trial lesson and then decide if they satisfy all my needs or whether I am willing to let go of some of my needs for the convenience of other fulfilled needs, etc :)

Ps: often I talk to the barn I was trying out and found out whether we were a fit abd if not would even get a recommebdation for another place to try :)
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    10-27-2011, 11:49 AM
  #3
Showing
Nothing wrong with asking questions. You have concerns - it's better to clear them out before you start. I'm not fan of group lessons, but group lessons are better than no lessons, and some people love them. I'd say if you like a place and instructor just give it a try.
     
    10-27-2011, 12:09 PM
  #4
Green Broke
Your progress will slow down in group lessons. Maybe not a lot, but you're not going to have an hour of someone paying attention to your every problem. Its more like 10 minutes of someone paying attention to your problems (if that) and 50 minutes practicing your riding.

Many riding schools will let you have a short private lesson where they will evaluate your skill level and put you in an appropriate group. It is quite difficult to describe what level you are, because everyone has different standards, so the best thing to do is to show the instructor. To me, if I was told someone had been riding for only 7 months a group I would put them in would not be full of competitive riders.

I doubt many, if any, competitive adult riders take group lessons. Most competitive riders own or lease a horse, and many horse owners don't do group lessons, I know I wouldn't do a group lesson with my own horse. Why would I pay to ride around and have minimal instruction?

You say you're worried about the instructor not pushing hard and I think you are dead on about that. Instructors don't usually push hard at all in group lessons (in my experience) and to be honest I think that is a good way to be. Riders have different capabilities and skills, attitudes, you don't want to pressure someone into doing something because everyone else is doing it, and many riders can be embarrassed or nervous called out in front of a group. Although in private lessons the instructor knows what you want, and they can get a feel for how far they can push you, and they do.

Its your choice what you do. Are there any other barns around your area? You can always give the lessons a go and see if its okay, you don't have to commit to stay there. Group lessons aren't bad, I took them for years when I was learning, but they're not suitable for everyone.
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    10-27-2011, 12:56 PM
  #5
Yearling
Thanks everyone for your feedback! :)

I think what I'll end up doing is taking the group lessons at this barn and taking private lessons at a competing barn down the road. The problem is that both barns apparently hate each other, so I'm not sure if I should ask in advance if they have a problem with that arrangement or just go and say nothing?

Both barns only have one day currently available for lessons, which is why if I want to ride twice a week I have to go to two different barns. Their schedules are full, so I cannot ride 2x a week at either barn. :(
     
    10-27-2011, 01:00 PM
  #6
Trained
Ask. The suggestion about a trial lesson is a good one. Pay for one, maybe, with the option to buy more. It is a professional relationship. You are paying, and their knowledge is their product. It is business. You are not asking them for a favor.

I like group lessons, because it gave me a chance to ride other horses, and because it gave me a chance to ride horses around a bunch of other horses. I also think it is hard to truly work on more than 2-3 things during a lesson. I'm now taking private lessons, and my goal is for each lesson to give me 1-2 things to work on during the week. I can't work on 12 anyways, but maybe that is me.

FWIW, I think what holds back most riders is not listening to the instructor. However, as you progress, you will probably need private lessons to advance. I don't know if you are at that point now or not.
     
    10-27-2011, 01:07 PM
  #7
Trained
Is there any way you can discuss taking Private Lessons with the Coach/Instructor there? If not, can you see if you can bring in your previous Coach to do this at a fee?

Some facilities allow this, some do not. The previous barn I was at, I was no where near satisfied with the level of education of the Instructors at that barn, so I brought in the Coach I have now. The facility charged that Instructor $10.00 to use their arena, which I paid. So instead of paying, say - $25.00, I paid $25.00 to the Coach and personally gave the BO $10.00 = $35.00.

Maybe you can work something out? I am not sure.

With you going to the other barn for private lessons, big deal IMO. If the barn you are moving to doesn't like that, but yet they cannot accmodate your wish for Private, then I guess that's not your problem, but theirs. I would notify them of you doing this, but don't leave the discussion open for them to say yay, or nay. It's not their decision.

Your horse, your choice, your money, your education - not theirs.

With the Group Lesson option, give it a shot, you may like it - you may not. You never know until you try. I greatly dislike group lessons, not worth my time, money or effort. I get very little "attention", and I have to share that hour with other riders at different levels.

I wouldn't take part in a Group myself. I don't mind semi, 2 to 3 people, which I'll do happily, but anything more than that, it's not worth it. In groups, you don't get as much knowledge being sent your way, as you would in a Private. Most Instructors are not capeable enough to give that many riders in a group lesson, much to progress forward. The amount of knowledge I get in a Private, far surpasses that when I am in a group.
     
    10-27-2011, 01:26 PM
  #8
Trained
Re: the 2 barns hating each other, it's none of their business. If you go that route, try to not to bring the subject up. You said that you've been taking lessons for about one year. I'm sure that your competitiveness has made you a serious student. Yet, one year of lessons would not make you a serious showman, IMHO. Also, just like when I took piano (music major) in college, our instructors expected us to attend other's recitals, and we read and studied the subject in our classwork.
As a rider/trainer, I still learn a great deal from reading books, checking out various training methods and I will listen to whoever is talking, though I do strain new things through my sieve to see if they jive with what I know works.
When you ride in a group lesson you DO get a chance to watch other people ride, learn from their mistakes and they mastery, and it's all helpful. It's also true that one off season coming up with a plan and working with one horse--a lease, perhaps?-- will give you time to practice what you've learned. (You didn't say that you owned your own horse, sorry.) I guess I'm attracted to hobbies that are easy for everyone to have initial success, but more difficult the more you delve into them, like equitation and gardening and sewing. Just my HO and my thoughts.
     
    10-27-2011, 05:03 PM
  #9
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
Ask. The suggestion about a trial lesson is a good one. Pay for one, maybe, with the option to buy more. It is a professional relationship. You are paying, and their knowledge is their product. It is business. You are not asking them for a favor.

I like group lessons, because it gave me a chance to ride other horses, and because it gave me a chance to ride horses around a bunch of other horses. I also think it is hard to truly work on more than 2-3 things during a lesson. I'm now taking private lessons, and my goal is for each lesson to give me 1-2 things to work on during the week. I can't work on 12 anyways, but maybe that is me.
Yeah, I just asked the barn about doing a few lessons instead of paying for the whole month in advance which is their usual policy. Just to see what their group lessons are like. Hopefully they won't have a problem with that... most barns around here aren't exactly known for their customer service though. :/
     
    10-27-2011, 05:14 PM
  #10
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by MIEventer    
Is there any way you can discuss taking Private Lessons with the Coach/Instructor there? If not, can you see if you can bring in your previous Coach to do this at a fee?

Some facilities allow this, some do not. The previous barn I was at, I was no where near satisfied with the level of education of the Instructors at that barn, so I brought in the Coach I have now. The facility charged that Instructor $10.00 to use their arena, which I paid. So instead of paying, say - $25.00, I paid $25.00 to the Coach and personally gave the BO $10.00 = $35.00.

Maybe you can work something out? I am not sure.

With you going to the other barn for private lessons, big deal IMO. If the barn you are moving to doesn't like that, but yet they cannot accmodate your wish for Private, then I guess that's not your problem, but theirs. I would notify them of you doing this, but don't leave the discussion open for them to say yay, or nay. It's not their decision.

Your horse, your choice, your money, your education - not theirs.

With the Group Lesson option, give it a shot, you may like it - you may not. You never know until you try. I greatly dislike group lessons, not worth my time, money or effort. I get very little "attention", and I have to share that .
I sent a message to the barn owner a few minutes ago explaining that I don't mind doing group lessons as long as I have private lessons too. I have almost no experience riding around others so it'll probably be good for me to have some group lessons. I basically said that if they can't make room for private lessons in addition to the group lessons, I'll have to go to another barn for the private lessons.

Everyone is right that it's my money and tough luck if they have a problem with where I ride. I'm not even sure why I feel weird about that. I guess I've just been exposed by friends who ride at these two barns to the various drama that I didn't experience at my own barn. Very catty owners, I'm told. The two barns are almost right next to each other so it's safe to assume someone will see me pulling up to the other barn's driveway, lol.

I'm hoping that because I mentioned that I would go elsewhere for the private lessons they'll check their schedule a bit harder to make it happen. I don't have my own horse, if I did I would bring in my favourite coach. Some of my friends think where I'm still in the early stages of riding that getting a horse isn't the best idea right now. :/
     

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