I worked at a Girl Scout horse camp one fall and the sheer logistics of it were ridiculous. We had fourteen horses (all ex-polo horses ranging in age from 9 to 24) who were all "beginner safe," but matching the girls to the horses was a challenge. Some needed a little more assertive of a rider, while others were beyond push-button. We really had to know our horses inside and out, and be able to quickly pick out which girl would be best on which horse. We usually did a half hour to an hour group "lesson," then if there was time scheduled and the girls were comfortable enough, we'd take them on a half an hour to an hour trail ride. We did not, under any circumstances, take any groups under the age of 10 on trail rides. For the "lessons" in the arena, we'd get the girls mounted up, then the head wrangler would give them brief instruction on how to make the horse walk forward (all our horses were trained on voice commands, so getting them to move forward was as simple as giving them a nudge and saying "walk on"), how to steer, and how to stop. We'd have them walk the perimeter of the arena and following our directions. If they did well and were confident enough, we would have them trot a little, but ALWAYS with a wrangler at the head of the horse.
The absolute biggest thing is to know your horses and their personalities. We would rotate through taking the horses out on trail rides on the days we didn't have lessons coming through, so we learned their quirks and could gauge of they needed some schooling before putting any of the girls on them. Schooling the naughty horses was my job, and I loved it.
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